Do's and Don'ts
- Try to accept any food or drink offered in a social setting. Romanians are usually very generous and proud of their food. They generally appreciate it when others enjoy their traditional cuisine.
- It is important to spend some time building familiarity and trust with your Romanian counterpart. People are unlikely to open up until a personal relationship has been established. Expect to be treated with some reservedness and formality when first meeting someone.
- Be as truthful as possible (whilst still being courteous) when asked your opinion on matters. Honesty is very important to Romanians, and crucial to showing one’s trustworthiness. Similarly, expect people to be quite straightforward and honest about their opinions. Romanians are known for being quite opinionated and ‘telling you how it is’.
- Address any issues or mistakes directly, but politely and privately.
- Do not make strong statements or criticisms about communism. People are not necessarily uncomfortable discussing the country’s communist past. However, many opinions circulate and foreign criticism can be unappreciated. It is worth approaching the topic in a sensitive, non-judgemental way and let your counterpart guide the tone of the discussion.
- Avoid criticising the Romanian culture, people or nation. Some individuals openly complain about their country or how it is being ‘ruined’ by current politicians. However, remember that they are still very proud of their homeland and foreign criticism is unlikely to be appreciated.
- Avoid confusing Romania with surrounding Eastern European countries or presuming their cultures are the same. Romania was not part of former Yugoslavia, nor is it a Slavic country.
- Do not over-emphasise the corruption in Romania. While it exists, many Romanians are disappointed at the way their country is portrayed in the news media.
- Avoid mentioning the sensitive relationship between Romanians and the Roma. Furthermore, avoid confusing Romanians with Roma (or ‘Romi’). These are two separate identities within the Romanian nation.
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