Why Russians don't smile?
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Why Russians don't smile?
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Why Russians don't smile?

This is a question that most foreigners ask themselves when travelling to Russia or meeting Russian people for the first time. Despite of the fact that Russian people don’t smile or do it rarely, they are often considered as outgoing, friendly and welcoming people. So why do the body language of Russians is so different from their interior?

In Russia, a smile is not a sign of respect or politeness

When you meet a person for the first time in America or Europe, you are supposed to greet him with a smile, showing in such a way your respect and good attitude to this person. Smiling while talking with your opponent in Western countries demonstrates that you are listening your interlocutor with attention and you respect him. Unlike in Russia, where smiling may be considered as a dishonesty and an intention to hide your real emotions.

Smiling without any reason

Russian people often say “Only fools smile without any reason”. According to the typical russian communicative behavior, they smile when there is an appropriate situation for that. If you smile to a stranger without any reason, this person may think that he did something wrong or he looks weird, so you are simply having fun of him. Moreover, in business environment smiling “automatically” to your partners can make them think that you are not serious and just unreliable person. In such a way, it is better if your smile is a reflection of a good mood and a really friendly relationship with your opponent.

Typical russian smile

More often you will face people in Russia smiling with a closed mouth and only rarely you can see their teeth readily visible. However, if you are with people you know well or there was some good joke pronounced, the “normal” laugh will be appropriate.

Typical Russian smile
Typical Russian smile

Summing up, it is advised to foreigners travelling to Russia:

  • Do not smile to strangers in the street, as they can take it wrong.
  • Smile when you feel really good and you want to show special and very friendly attitude to your opponents.
  • Don’t hesitate to talk with russian people even if they are not smiling, and you will see that in fact they are one of the most joyful, generous and welcoming nations!

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