5 Things Italians Do That Freak Out Foreigners
By: Liz Flynn
Like in most cultures, Italians have their own habits, customs, and way of doing things. Unfortunately, if you are a visitor, some of these might surprise you. Here are some Italian ways that freak out foreigners.
1. Invade Your Personal Space
Most people have an imaginary circle around them and only those invited to do so may cross the boundaries of this space. Personal space is important to many people and they feel very uncomfortable when this is invaded. When visiting Italy, you should prepare yourself to be very uncomfortable. When meeting complete strangers, it is not unusual for Italians to greet them by embracing them in a hug and even kissing them.
When you want an honest opinion, you will usually ask your family and close friends. Others are likely to be polite and think carefully about what they say so as not to cause offense. This is not the case with the Italians as they will say it as it is and are direct to the point of bluntness.
In most societies, queueing is a normal part of day-to-day life. There is an unspoken rule that you will join the end of the queue, stand in line and wait patiently for your turn. This social etiquette is reflected in countries across the globe. No so in Italy! Do not be surprised if you are standing in a queue in Italy and an Italian pushes in. Try not to take too much offense as the Italians just do not see an issue with queue jumping.
4. Criticizing Eating Habits
Italians are known for their passion for food. However, they do not reserve this passion purely for creating food or eating it; they also love to criticize others for their eating habits. Every aspect of eating may come under criticism, including how you eat, what you eat, where you eat and the time of day you eat. When they have finished criticizing you’re eating habits, the Italians may well get started on what your wearing.
5. Flirtatious Behavior
While in some societies flirting is reserved for someone you are genuinely interested in and in an appropriate environment; the Italians openly flirt with complete strangers no matter where they are. Some foreigners find this intimidating, but others love the flirting.
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