“These strange Russians” or how not to behave in Spain


Many Russian-speaking emigrants who moved to Spain for permanent residence initially experience difficulties with adaptation. This usually happens due to insufficient knowledge of the mentality of the Spaniards, who differ markedly from immigrants from the countries of the post-Soviet space in relation to a number of “sensitive” issues. And some of the actions that are considered more or less natural among the “newcomers” may at least cause misunderstanding or bewilderment among the natives.

To begin with, it should be borne in mind that Spain is a country so diverse in its national composition that representatives of individual ethnic groups do not find a common language with others, and in the most literal sense. First of all, this concerns the Basques and Catalans – especially those of them who have a hypertrophied sense of national dignity. Accordingly, their habits and traditions are far from Spanish, which is reflected in two cult film comedies: “8 Basque surnames” and “8 Catalan surnames”.


The vast majority of Spaniards perceive the world around them in a completely different light than Russians or Ukrainians, and, probably, like no one else in Europe, they know how to enjoy life. Dressed up dancing pensioners are a common occurrence, as are 30-year-old first-year students who are not burdened with the burden of family and financial problems.


Catalan folk dance Sardana

Spaniards for the most part are pronounced extroverts who do not hide their emotions – including during lovemaking. If a couple sorts things out, then the whole house, if not the whole residential complex, will know about it.


It is not surprising that they usually perceive foreigners who keep themselves apart and aloof as ambassadors from other worlds – especially if they do not speak Spanish. They value linguistic abilities because they themselves are not very inclined to study foreign languages, as well as the exact sciences.

Sociability is one of the main traits of the Spanish character, and during a conversation the interlocutors will not fail to mention, appropriately or inappropriately, events that have nothing to do with the main topic. When communication takes place over a bottle of wine (one for two with dinner and/or lunch is the norm), it can drag on for several hours.


At the same time, Spaniards get drunk in public very, very rarely, and they drink more in order to feel and appreciate the taste, so a foreigner in a “state of inability” will fall in their eyes. The same applies to those who like to shake their rights or wave their fists for the purpose of self-affirmation; at least you won’t be able to “fraternize” and drink for brotherhood after a fight with a Spaniard.


Yes, conflict situations arise (almost never in queues, unless, of course, someone decides to join), but they are resolved through peaceful negotiations. Sometimes there are threats, flavored with profanity, poured in one after another, but it comes to assault in exceptional cases. You can go to court for causing even minor bodily harm – as well as for so-called “gender violence”. Recently, more and more innocent men are being charged under this article, which is why one must be careful when showing signs of attention to representatives of the fairer sex, who in every possible way strive to emphasize their independence and independence.


In Spain there is a real cult of children, and although it cannot be said that children are allowed absolutely everything, there can be no talk of “Spartan upbringing”. Moreover, a child screaming on the street is very rare, not to mention the fact that he screams from parental spanking. If you try to “discipline” in this way, neighbors or passers-by may call the police, and the same option is quite possible if you leave small children at home alone.


In Spain, no one would think of asking to visit without a good reason and, especially, “for free”. In such cases, it is customary to bring some small gift with you, although often large celebrations such as birthdays are held in cafes or restaurants.


On Sundays, when life in the country comes to an almost complete standstill, Spaniards tend to spend time with their families, so an attempt to discuss any business issues on this day will not meet with understanding, to put it mildly.

The same statement is true in relation to “after-hours”, including siesta, which continues to be religiously observed almost everywhere – especially in the summer, and a phone call at this time can be regarded as a sign of disrespect.


In this regard, I recall a story that has already become an anecdote, when a Russian bride started a scandal in a marriage agency, reproaching everyone for “being given some sick person who constantly sleeps in broad daylight.”



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