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Home » Country Etiquette » Romania

Romanian Etiquette Tips

Flying to Bucharest? Romanians are incredibly hospitable to tourists; if you go to their home, you will be treated like royalty. In return, be kind and respectful to everyone you come across in Romania. The country has a very interesting background and culture, so learn a bit about their etiquette in order to better enjoy your trip.

1. Dress Attire

  1. DO wear suits for business occasions.
  2. DO dress casually but nicely for other occasions. Avoid jeans and sneakers.
  3. DO dress conservatively if visiting a church or monastery. Women should wear full length skirts or pants and a shirt that covers their shoulders.

2. Table Manners

  1. DO expect to be served food even if you decline the offer. Refusals are often seen as being polite and not always taken seriously, so if you really don't want food, you must be firm.
  2. DON'T eat until the host says "pofta buna," which means "good appetite."
  3. DON'T put your napkin on your lap. Leave it on the table.
  4. DO use bread to soak up sauce or gravy.
  5. DO indicate that you are still eating by crossing your fork and knife on your plate.
  6. DO indicate that you are finished eating by placing your knife and fork across your plate with the handles facing to the right and the prongs facing downwards.

3. Tipping

  1. DON'T tip a taxi driver unless you were particularly impressed with the service.
  2. DO tip a hotel maid 4 Romanian Leu a day or 25 Leu a week for long stays
  3. DO tip waiters 5-10% if the service was good. Service will be included in the bill, but a small tip will not go unappreciated.
  4. DO tip a hotel porter 2 Romanian Leu a bag.

4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DON'T give flowers in even numbers. Even numbers are for funerals.
  2. DO give roses or carnations as a gift.
  3. DO open your gift upon receipt, though some Romanians may not do this.
  4. DO wrap gifts.
  5. DO give gifts such as chocolates, wine, or Western cosmetics and clothing.

5. Greetings

  1. DO exchange handshakes upon greeting.
  2. DO expect older men to greet a woman by kissing her hand.
  3. DO cheek kiss with close friends. Kiss once on each cheek, starting with the left.

6. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO arrive on time if going to a Romanian's home for dinner, or no more than 15 minutes late for a party.
  2. DO check to see if your hosts are wearing shoes. If not, you will probably have to remove yours.
  3. DO bring flowers, chocolate or liquor for your hosts, and bring a gift for their children, too.

7. Business Meeting

  1. DO take time to built a personal relationship before getting down to business.
  2. DO make an appointment 2-3 weeks in advance. Avoid scheduling meetings in July and August, which is often vacation time. Also avoid scheduling meetings during the two weeks before and after Christmas and the week before and after Easter.
  3. DO be on time, but don't expect your Romanian associates to be punctual, unless you are meeting with an entrepreneurial company or a company that frequently does international business.
  4. DON'T sit until told where to sit.
  5. DON'T remove your jacket without permission or until the most senior ranking Romanian businessperson does.
  6. DO be patient. Romanians can be tough negotiators and decisions often need to go through many layers of approval.
  7. DON'T use hyperbole or high-pressure sales tactics.
  8. DON'T be too direct. It can be seen as rude.
  9. DO have one side of your business card translated into Romanian.
  10. DO include any advanced academic degrees on your card, as well as your company's founding date if the company has been around for over 50 years.

8. Socializing and Conversation

  1. DON'T mistake the Romanian language for being a Slavic language, or related to Hungarian, Turkish, or Albanian. It will be very offensive.
  2. DON'T incorrectly assume that Romania was part of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire.
  3. DO expect to have to repeatedly refuse if you are offered something that you don't want. In Romania, "no" doesn't always mean "no" because it's considered polite to refuse.
You will quickly learn that Romanians are very accommodating and polite to visitors to their country. Even so, abiding by their etiquette will help you blend in a little more and it will impress those you come into contact with. Be friendly and polite, and enjoy your trip to Romania!  
 
 
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