Greetings! Iranian and Canadian Way!

by msabaye

If I were to single out one point that stood out in my interactions with Canadians and Iranians (in and out of Iran), I would pick greetings. Yes, greetings. You see, in Iranian way, if you enter a room, you say hello, then acknowledge every single person and either say that you are happy to meet them or "how are you" or something.

I was quite surprised, OK shocked, that Canadians entered a room and just got right into the conversation or gathering. It did work in Canadian gatherings, but in mixed ones, it never worked. Trust me, I am speaking of experience.

And then I started paying attention to movies, to entrances in the movies, and there it was, hardly any greeting. Someone would walk into a room and start talking or join a crowd.

I guess if I were to make any comparisons or a comparative study, as it is very fashionable nowadays, I would say that Iranian ways, as far as a greeting goes, is much like a novel, with a definite beginning and ending. Canadians, on the other hand, resemble short stories. One can start or end anywhere, even in the middle, and not miss much. Except for the observer, especially if she/he is Iranian!


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focus inward (Western) vs outward focus (Middle Eastern)

by Monda on

Your observation on Canadians entertaining themselves at once is an attribute of the individualist cultural structure. Focusing on self before anyone else. 

Whereas in collectivist societies (ours), traditionally we tend to the guests before ourselves. We give of ourselves more readily.  

These characteristics are mainly learned and adaptable.



Interesting point

by msabaye on

This is a very interesting point. Would you care to elaborate?


Canadian way

by ahmad_ on

Is much better, because it bypasses all that expectations and taarof that we are famous for.

Only a politician in Canada or any other place feels compelled to acknowledge everyone, because he needs them when it come to vote for him/her to be re-elected.


Interesting point

by Monda on

Extension of Canadians' individualistic vs Iranians' collectivistic cultural evolutions, right? Holding onto vs sharing of self, don't you think?



by yolanda on

Actually I prefer the Canadian way 'cause it saves a lot of time....but the Iranian way is definitely more polite 'cause you value every individual and make them feel special......thank you for telling us the is very time if I have a chance to meet a group of Iranians.....I will acknowledge everyone of them and also make eye contact .....and make everyone of them feel that he or she is the only person on this planet.......I really don't want people to call me a rude person... and get a bad rap....

Thank you for the cultural tips!