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Friday, June 01, 2007

it must be an eastern thing (excessive niceties in iran)

this was an interesting article from an iranian jouranlist. i thought it reflected quite well what kuwaitis are used to:

Taarof Nazila Fathi - openDemocracy

Taarof is an aspect of routine cultural behaviour among Iranians, used in their daily interactions with old and new acquaintances alike. It is a hollow system of flattery and false modesty to make others feel good; often, a practice of polite dissembling, where people express nice sentiments that they do not truly mean or feel. Iranians are not offended by taarof. In fact, a person who fails to engage in the system of taarof stands out as a person unfamiliar with Iranian culture and traditions. Taarof governs different aspects of social life. It may come into play when a host offers food to the guest. The system of taarof may demand that the guest declines politely, another form of taarof, waiting for the host to say taarof nakonid, which might be rendered as an emollient “don’t do taarof.” The exchange of taarof over this simple matter can go on for a long time. Taarof can be very tricky.


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