Smiling for no reason in Russia. If you have already been in Russia, you have most probably noticed that russians don’t smile really much. Why is that ? A smile is not considered a sign of politeness in Russian communications. Constant smiling can be taken as dishonesty, secrecy and hiding your real emotions, as Russians are really formal and they tend to make sure that their actions are up to the situation. Also smiling without AN OBVIOUS reason in Russia will give you strange looks as people will think you’re crazy, please note that we’re not talking about laughing, but smiling. even when laughing russians will tend to keep their teeth hidden as it is considered unsightly and vulgar to see someone’s teeth. Russians won’t smile to strangers, smile is something kept for parties, family and loved ones. Accepting gifts in Bosnia and Herzegovina is weird.
If you have plans on visiting this small heart-shaped country you need to know that the shape of the country says alot about the people living there. People living in B&H are known as very kind and open to foreigners, and if you get to make a friend there chances are great that they will offer you a gift that will sometimes seem too expensive or important for you to take. What will you do in this situation? Key is to say that you can’t take it several times before actually taking the offered gift. People will be really persistant that you take it, but if you take it at first people will think you’re cheap and not thankful enough. And on the other side of the coin, if you refuse the gift you are telling those people that you are too good for their gift. So how to know when to accept the gift ? You simply can not know, you will have to guess, but you will be fine as long as you don’t end up taking it right away or saying no to the gift completly.
Don’t assume they are Russians only because they are Slavic.
It is a widely spread phenomenon for non slavs to refer to E.g. Ukranians as Russians. You have to be really careful because, even thought they are all slavs, many countries had disputes and even wars in far or recent past. To call a Polish person “Russian” would be highly rude and disrespectful towards Polish folk and their national heritage. Not everyone will react the same though, some probably won’t get mad and will just laugh it off and explain their nationality to you. But don’t get surprised if you get shouted at for referring to Croat as “Serbian” or vice versa.
Don’t talk politics/ war/ nationalities on Balkan.
Due to the war that ended only 24 years ago people are still bitter when it comes to talking about things such as war, politics and nationalities. You won’t necessarily get in trouble, but it will definitely become uncomfortable very fast.
Never gift an even number of flowers.
Flowers are sign of care and passion around the world. But before you go and buy flowers to the girl, or a boy you just met, you need to know that number, shape and color of flowers are as important as gathering courage to approach them. Red signifies passion, white meant chastity or virtue and yellow symbolizes friendship. But one of the most important things you should know NOT to do is gifting and even number of flowers. There have been many talks about various reasons as to why it is such a big deal but simply put…Giving flowers in even numbers is very rude because they are only used at funerals. Additionally, some see yellow flowers as funeral flowers so to be safe, don’t give these either.
Never, and we mean it, NEVER go inside homes in shoes.
A really important thing to avoid when visiting someone’s home is walking inside with shoes.
If you see that the people inside are in their socks or slippers, make sure to take off your shoes before going inside. One of the bulletproof ways to make sure you don’t commit such an insult is to look for other people’s shoes around the entrance of the house or eventually a drawer that’s made specifically to hold shoes.