How is everyone adjusting to the darkness by 4:30 pm? 🤪 I certainly have not.
Here’s Part II on manners and etiquette in India:
Don’t ever worry about being on time
Whether you are meeting a friend, business, meeting, or attending a party in India, the concept of time is flexible. You can be for 30-45 minutes late. In the west, it’s considered rude to be late, and anything more than 10 minutes requires a phone call. In India, this is not the case. People are unlikely to turn up when they say they will. 10 minutes can mean half an hour, half an hour can mean an hour, and an hour can mean indefinitely!
Don’t expect people to respect your personal space
Since there are 1.339 billion people in India, overcrowding and scarcity of resources lead to a lot of pushing and shoving. If there is a line, people will undoubtedly try and jump it. To prevent this from happening, stand very close. It can feel unnerving at first, but it’s necessary to prevent people from cutting in.
Additional general rules of good manners and etiquette in India:
1. Indians of all ethnic groups disapprove of public displays of affection between men and women.
2. Most Hindus avoid public contact between men and women.
3. Other religions, such as Sikhs and Christians, will also avoid public contact between the sexes.
4. In larger cities, men and Westernized Indian women may offer to shake hands with foreign men and sometimes with foreign women.
5. Standing tall with your hands on your hips is perceived as aggressive.
6. Stand up when an elder or a guest enters the room and don’t sit until you’ve offered them a seat.
7. Do not comment on personal appearances or clothes negatively; if you cannot say something complimentary, do not say anything at all.
Indian etiquette considers it essential to use a person’s title wherever it is possible, titles such as doctor or professor, etc. Use courtesy titles such as “Mr,” “Mrs,” or “Miss” for those without professional titles and wait to be invited to use first names. Try ‘Sir/ Ma’am’ for strangers and ‘Uncle/ Aunty’ (or Chachaji, Mausiji, etc.) for familiar people. For a stranger who is not so old, it is better to suffix the name with ‘ji,’ as a mark of respect.
Status is often determined by a person’s age, university education, caste, and profession. Be aware that government employment is considered to be more prestigious than private business.
Presenting and exchanging business cards are a necessary part of Indian etiquette when doing business in India. You must bring plenty since people exchange business cards, even in non-business situations.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.
Sending zen vibes! 💋
Feature photo credit: travelwithcg