Romanian Culture

Communication

Verbal

  • Direct Communication: Romanians generally have quite a direct communication style. They speak quite matter-of-factly and are generally most comfortable with honesty. This can occasionally come across as quite abrupt and frank at first. Romanians generally do not hide their emotions or opinions, but tend to ‘tell you how it is’. However, they may soften their tone and opinion when talking to those they don’t know well, discussing business or sensitive topics. In these settings, people make more use of non-verbal cues to imply meaning. 
  • Communication Style: Romanians often express themselves with emotion and passion. This can be paired with lively, animated tones and the use of body language. They will usually use stories, anecdotes and jokes to prove their points in the conversation.
  • Raised Voices: Romanians may speak in loud voices to make themselves heard over one another. This can give the impression that speakers are arguing, which quite often is not the case. A raised voice is not necessarily a sign of anger, but can be an expression of excitement or conviction. You may find people talk over one another in order to be heard.
  • Formality: Some Romanians may be more formal and private in first interactions until you build their trust in you further. People can be quite status conscious and may shift communication patterns depending on who they are talking to. Generally, the more you know a Romanian, the more open and animated they’ll be.

 

Non-Verbal

  • Personal Space: Romanians generally keep over an arm’s length of personal space. The distance may be greater when speaking with strangers. However, it is also normal for people to be in close proximity in public (e.g. on public transport). It is best to observe each person’s preference for personal space and adjust accordingly. 
  • Physical Contact: Romanians are generally quite tactile and affectionate people. It is common to see hugging, kissing, back slapping and hand-holding in public. Friends, especially young girls, may walk holding hands or walking arm in arm. People may touch their conversation partner to show their engagement in the discussion – for example, nudging them or touching their arm when pointing something out.
  • Eye Contact: Direct eye contact is expected. However, it is also normal for people’s eyes to wander a little during conversation. This should not always be interpreted as rudeness or inattentiveness.
  • Expression: Romanians are naturally more expressive in their tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, often motioning with their hands to emphasise their point. This can sometimes seem theatrical. Expect many gestures to be used during communication and consider how much you use your own in comparison. Newly migrated Romanians can often interpret English-speaking Westerner’s body language to be stiff and reserved.
  • Blessings: Traditionally, Orthodox Christians cross themselves by using their index and middle finger to touch their forehead, followed by their chest, right shoulder and left shoulder. However, today, people generally perform the same gesture using three fingers (middle finger, index finger and thumb) pinched together. This is a silent prayer to bless oneself throughout the day that one may see Romanians perform when a church spire comes into view.
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