7 foreign habits considered rude in Russia

Legion Media
Some things shock Russians more than UFOs over the Kremlin, especially if you don’t take your shoes off at home.

7. Slurping at the table

In some countries it’s normal to munch and make loud sounds when eating. That’s how guests sometimes show their enjoyment of delicious food. In Russia you’d be showing bad manners this way. Try to eat quietly, and to be grateful just say, “Spasibo.”

6. Leaving food on a plate

In some countries it’s suggested that you leave a little food on your plate, and if you eat everything it means you want more. In Russia, people still remember the lean years, so your meal should be eaten completely. In some restaurants, you may even be asked why you didn’t finish the dish, and it might be considered an insult to the cook. By the way, leftover food is usually not thrown away. Stale bread is given to birds, and soup to homeless dogs.

5. Not treating a woman to dinner

Even if her income is twice his, she expects that he’ll pay. This delicate moment is a chance for a man to show some chivalry, and it won’t be considered a violation of her dignity, as in Western countries.

At the same time, however, a woman in Russia might offer to pay for herself, but this is a kind of test. If the man doesn’t insist on paying for her, she’ll regard this as stinginess and most likely will not give him a second date. However, if a woman truly insists that she pay her own bill, it probably means that she truly doesn’t want to be treated to dinner, and there is absolutely no chance of romance.

4. Forgetting to take your shoes off at home

The habit to wear outdoor shoes at home is common in many countries, but not in Russia. In fact, it shocks Russians to the depths of their souls! It's like getting into bed in one’s boots and a coat. Russians always take off shoes upon returning home and change into slippers (tapochki). They very rarely go barefoot in the house. Each family member has a pair of slippers, sometimes even two: winter and summer; and there are also several extra pairs for guests.

The same goes for home clothes. Usually one has a change of clothes, and it's not pajamas, which are only for sleeping. A bathrobe is worn after showering, or in the morning. In general, Russians like to change clothes and don’t understand how one can spend the whole day in the same outfit.

3. Going outside in workout clothes

In Russia, people dress according to the occasion. Workout or gym clothes should be worn only when playing sports or working out. Likewise, shorts and flip-flops should be worn only at the beach and dacha. Wearing shorts in the city is a big no-no. Ok, you can do it, but you’re going to get lots of strange looks. 

Although Russian women are often accused of overdoing it, (don’t be surprised to see girls wearing heels no matter the occasion and season), it’s not acceptable to go shopping in pajamas or gym clothes. 

2. Failing to visit friends and invite them over

Hospitality is highly appreciated in Russia. If you go to a city where you have a friend, for example, on a business trip, and don’t call him, then expect that he‘ll be offended. Or if you live in the same city and don’t visit each other often, this will also raise questions about how close you really are. In Russia, you don’t need to plan in advance to spend time with friends.

By the way, the same goes withneighbors, who will want to visit you often, and without warning. But this is also ok. Even small dinner get-togethers end long after midnight.

1. Insincerity

In America if you’re asked, “How are you?” then you might expect to hear, “Fine;” but in truth, no one really wants to know. In Russia, such behavior comes across as insincere. If you don’t want to hear about their problems, then why ask? It’s better to keep silent. So, when a Russian asks you, “how are you?” prepare for a long story and be ready to tell yours. 

Going to Russia? Check out these 10 things you should never do here!

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