Communication Style, Greeting, Gestures, Dining and Gift Giving Etiquette
The Institutional Affiliation
COMMUNICATION STYLE AND PACING, GIFT GIVING AND RECEIVING ETIQUETTE 2
1. Communication style and pacing
Kuwaitis spend a lot of time communicating and making acquaintance. They prefer to have anything to do with people they know well. Interlocutors usually try to present themselves at their best, mention educational degree, demonstrate good manners, etc. Kuwaitis usually stand closer to each other than people in Western countries do while communicating. It is not acceptable, however, for members of different sex to touch each other during the conversation while opposite sex members can easily do it. Business communication style differs from regular communication etiquette. It is much formal, however, friendship still precedes the deal. Kuwaitis appreciate doing business in loyal and favorable atmosphere while the outcome of the diplomacy becomes minor. Interruption during business meetings is acceptable. For example, one can join a business affair interrupting the current conversation and starting a new topic.
2. Gift giving and receiving etiquette
Unlike Americans and Europeans, it is not common for Kuwaitis to open a gift in front of other guests when they receive one. People who have close relationship exchange presents for most important holidays: Ramadan, anniversaries, family and religious celebrations. They do it either at the beginning or at the end of the stay. Guests usually bring chocolate or house ornamentals. Same as communication style in Kuwait, gift giving etiquette encourages mutuality between members of
DINING, GREETING ONE ANOTHER 3
the same sex. Men, for example, should mention that his gift was prepared by one of the females in his family. It is preferred to bring flowers for women and toys for children. As for business souvenirs, gifts from abroad are very welcomed, crafts or hand made presents which are not accessible in stores of Kuwait. Same as in most countries, there exists a list of things which are better not to bring if you are invited to visit Kuwaiti home, in particular, weapon or alcohol.
Kuwaitis are very hospitable and like to meet for diner at home. Go out diner is popular too, places like cafes and restaurants are often visited by families and groups of friends. In public representatives of opposite sexes often entertain in rooms set apart from one another. Kuwaitis are sociable and concerned about relatives and close people, that's why long greetings and short talks are necessary before the meal. Everyone makes sure to greet elders and appreciate hospitality of the host. It is a bad manner to refuse a drink or a treat. One of the most interesting traditions is to check on the host's shoes. If they are not wearing any, one should take off their shoes as well. Kuwaitis always prepare best food and drinks for their guests. Even though Ramadan prohibits having any meal or refreshment between sunrise and sunset, the fast lasts for a month only, rest of the time Kuwaitis do not limit themselves. Alcohol is excluded absolutely from all celebrations. Guests are often offered generous portions of roasted ship, chicken or fish with rice. It is also believed that most delicious Kuwaiti food cannot be tasted at a restaurant but served at Kuwaiti home.
4. Greeting one another
Everyone but opposite sex members greet each other with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek. Man and woman can touch each other in public only if they are related otherwise religion doesn't allow it. Kuwaitis demonstrate great joy and enthusiasm anytime they meet someone they are glad to see. While meeting people they already know, Kuwaitis make sure they ask them about family and health, demonstrate care and interest. “Salam alaykum” is typical daily greeting and means “Peace be upon you” (Just Landed Company, n.d.). Eldest people are always greeted first,
with special appreciation and respect. Kuwaitis greet each other at the beginning and at the end of the conversation, no matter who the companion is. They also expect strangers to honor and act according to their traditions.
Kuwaitis are modest. They can be distinguished by discreet manners and gestures, formal dress, thought-out speaking and careful humor. Therefore conservative hand shake and kiss on the cheek are considered to be acceptable gestures, while pointing with index finder, for example, is improper. Kuwaitis use their right hand to give anything to another person. They avoid OK sign in public and eye contact with members of the opposite sex. Loud laugh and exaggerated gestures have never been part of the Kuwaiti culture. People are refined in their talk, movements and emotions.
Kuwaiti culture is based on family values and mutual respect. Everyone strives to get good education in order to present their family among different clans. The society consist of five clans which are parted by wealth. The structure, unfortunately, allows gaps between rich and notably poor citizens. Being a part of Arab world Kuwait bears unique ethics and believes. People are very hospitable and polite, religion is a distinct part of their everyday life. Kuwaitis appreciate friendship. It is a cornerstone in doing business and social engagements. They are also taught to respect older people. Kuwaitis are modest and staid in behavior, gestures, talk and dress. Men and women unrelated to one another do not socialize in public, avoid eye contact or kiss on the cheek when they greet. Kuwaiti house welcomes guest and generously treats them with delicious dishes. It is very important, however, to avoid gestures and manners which are not acceptable for Kuwaitis. Improper jokes, very loud laugh or using slang, especially in public, should be evaded. People dedicate a lot of time to their spiritual life, follow rituals and regularly visit holly places.
Aware Center. (2010, Dec 12). Aware Articles. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://www.aware.com.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?ID=12
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Just Landed Company. (n.d.). Kuwait Social Customs. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from https://www.justlanded.com/english/Kuwait/Kuwait-Guide/Culture/Social-Customs
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