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cultural differences between america and russia -- quora

Stashed in: Smile!, I see what you did there., Culture, Quora!, Awesome, America!, Russia and Friends, Russia, Cultural Norms

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as an american in spain, i was astounded at how overly friendly i was perceived to be.  my smalltalk with strangers was downright offensive!

i liked what this guy had to say:

I was born in Russia, lived in Czech Republic for about 2 years, and now I've been living in the US for almost 3 years.

  • Smalltalk. People in the US make smalltak a lot. In Russia people make smalltalk extremely rarely and never with strangers.You'll never hear a question like "how was your weekend" from a person you don't know for a while.
  • Smiling. People in the US smile a lot and it's just an act of politeness while in Russia smile is always personal and informative. If someone smiles at you in Russia, it means they want to show that they sincerely like you.
  • Expression of emotions. People in the US may express exaggeratedemotions about anything. It's normal to say that a sandwich was "awesome, holy sh!t, what an incredible dressing, the best thing ever!!" Russians are usually more modest and expressions awesome and incredible are reserved for things like Chelyabinsk meteor.
  • Friendship. Friendship in Russia is completely different and if you called someone a friend it really means something. Friends may visit each other without invitation.
  • Discussions. While in the US there is a lot of tabooed topics. In Russia you can discuss anything with anyone.
  • Directness of speech. In the US people use language which is sometimes very indirect. Russians use more direct expressions in their colloquial speech. If someone asks you "is there a way to do something" it's a question about feasibility not a request to do something.

It had not occurred to me that Russians don't smile unless they like the person.

Some Americans will smile at anyone. 

I see what you did there. 

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