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Social Customs & Etiquettes in Paraguay
 
 
 

General

Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting. Smoking is not allowed in cinemas and theaters. Dress tends to be informal and sportswear is popular.

Paraguayans tend to place more emphasis on people and relationships than to the strict adherence of set schedules. Services don't usually run on time and showing up late to a party or social function is quite common.

In Paraguay, women are still expected to do most if not all of the cooking, cleaning, and child rearing. Hence, work opportunities for women are limited and salaries are lower than men.

Do note that the inverted American “ok” sign is an obscene gesture. Also, avoid crossing the middle finger and index finger (the American good luck sign) as it is an obscene gesture too. Don't put your feet up on a chair, desk or table.

When given food, you are obligated to both eat it, and to say that it is good, “rico” in Spanish. To say otherwise with a person you are not acquainted with can be considered forward and rude.

Meeting & Greeting

Greetings vary by social class, gender, and the level of intimacy of the parties. Except in formal business situations, upper-class and middle-class women who are social equals greet each other with a kiss on each cheek, whether they are acquaintances or are meeting for the first time. Male and female acquaintances in these social classes greet each other the same way. Men in all social classes shake hands in formal situations. Leave-taking follows the same rules.

Also when meeting, people will ask not how you are, but if everything is all right – “estoy bien”. The response to this is always, “yes everything, and you?” – “si estoy bien y vos?”. Even if you are having a terrible day, when someone asks such as an acquaintance in the street, one always responds with yes, everything.

Communication Style

In Paraguay, an indirect style of communication is preferred over a direct style. It’s best to imply what you are saying then actually saying it. It is usually best to avoid confrontations and maintain composure at all times. Paraguayans tend to show a lot of emotion and affections among family and friends, but usually act more reserved in public.

Paraguayans tend to stand close to one another while talking. One to two feet is normal. It can be considered rude to back away from someone while they are speaking.

There is a fair amount of touching between men and men, men and women and women and women while conversing. This includes hand on shoulders, hand on arms, and hand on hands.

Paraguayans tend to favour direct eye contact over indirect. Maintaining eye contact creates an atmosphere of trust and respect.

People beckon one another by extending an arm and making a scratching motion with their fingers. The chin flick; flicking your fingers under your chin signifies not knowing or not caring.

Gift Giving Etiquette

If invited to a Paraguayan home, it is appropriate to bring flowers, wine, good quality liquor, or chocolates.

Make sure that gifts are nicely wrapped and expect that they may be opened right away. Avoid gifts like a letter opener, knives, and or scissors as they can mean a severing of relations.

 

 
 

 



 


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