Cypriot Culture

Do's and Don'ts

Do’s

  • Try to show a deep and genuine interest in your Cypriot counterpart. You can expect them to ask you about your family relationships, profession and even details of your income in an effort to get to know you.
  • Be as honest and open as possible. You can expect a Cypriot to be very direct and truthful when voicing their opinions. Try and respond with similar honesty. 
  • Try to be generous with your time and open to performing favours. Cypriots often go out of their way to help those that they have a good relationship with. Some expatriates can find people from the English-speaking West to be quite ‘stingy’ in contrast.
  • Expect Cypriots to talk about politics quite openly. Political analysis and discussion is a pastime for some and the situation in Cyprus arguably provides a lot of material to examine. However, it is best to simply listen rather than voice your opinion if you do not have a comprehensive understanding of the situation.
  • Demonstrate that a Cypriot can trust and rely on you. If you let down a Cypriot, it may take a long time for them to regain trust in you. 
  • Admire the rich cultural history of Cyprus as well as the country’s achievements. Cypriots are often very proud of the high quality of life on the island and appreciate when it is recognised by foreigners.


Don'ts

  • Do not make a promise if you suspect that you cannot follow through with it or do not intend to. For example, do not agree to something thinking that doing so will end the discussion and the topic won’t be raised again. Cypriots expect people to be held to their word and doubling back on it can make you seem to have little integrity.
  • Avoid raising the topic of Cyprus’ political and cultural division or the country’s relations with Greece and Turkey. People are likely to talk about the subject and voice their thoughts. Do not take the open expression of opinions as an invitation for you to give your own comment. Foreign criticism is unlikely to be appreciated and you cannot presume a Cypriot’s position on the matter on the basis of their identity alone.
  • Do not criticise or belittle a Cypriot’s job. People are often passionate and invested in what they do. Therefore, do not assume that people in lower-paid or lower-status jobs are not necessarily proud of their role. 
  • Similarly, do not directly criticise the Cypriot people or culture. Be aware that Cypriots can be quite sensitive to criticism and may take comments personally. Light teasing in a joking manner can sometimes be interpreted as a serious insult.
  • Do not make comments that correlate Cypriot expatriates to the conflict. For example, avoid saying “You Cypriots did this...” as if they need to claim personal responsibility. Most Cypriots blame the errors of leadership and intervening countries rather than citizens.
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