Published on May 24th, 2011 | by Adam Barralet2
Travel Etiquette Series: Greece
Our Flightie Adam Barralet has been all over the world and has learned a lot of valuable tips along the way. Each week he takes us to a different country and offers his tips on what to expect and what manners are acceptable. After taking us to China, Japan, Mexico, Egypt, France, Germany, and Spain, today he takes us to beautiful Greece:
If you like to keep to yourself than this week’s destination may not be for you. Welcome to Greece. When meeting someone for the first time Greeks will shake hands firmly, smile, and maintain direct eye contact. It is polite when leaving to shake everyone’s hand as well. Once two people are good friends they often embrace and may also kiss each other on each cheek. Male friends often slap each other’s arm at the shoulder. The Greeks with their big personalities will often ask you all sorts of personal questions. The good news is you are welcome to ask them similar questions at a comparable rate.
When it comes to dining out in many restaurants you are allowed, and even invited to visit the kitchen to see the food being prepared. Once the food comes to your table it will often be served as communal bowls where everyone helps themselves. If you want more food in the middle of the meal, you are welcome to order it. However waiters are less present than you may be used to, leaving you to enjoy the meal, so it will be your job to attract their attention. If you are eating at someone’s home expect to be offered second and third servings. Eating well is considered a compliment to your hosts. In Greece, some people will still smoke with their meal, however ask before you light up.
When out and about never use the “OK” sign or hold a palm out at face level as both gestures are considered rude. Always acknowledge a shop owner when walking into a store and when going to the bathroom, papers often go in a side basket to avoid clogging up the pipes.
If you are intending to do business with someone is Greece, best you book a trip there. As relationships are important to them, they’d prefer to talk face-to-face rather than via phone or email. Make appointments one to two weeks ahead and if it’s for a lunch meeting aim for 1-3pm as this is when most business people eat. Best book a long stay too as Quite often it is not until the third meeting that business is actually conducted. During the first meeting your Greek business colleagues will want to get to know something about you as a person. The second meeting is used to develop trust and mutual respect. By the third meeting, business may begin.
Finally to win the hearts of the Greeks, acknowledge and appreciate their family. Family is everything to them and they will appreciate small gestures such as spoiling their children.