Are you an expat living in Hungary or a visitor who would like to make new Hungarian friends? Here are some funny don’ts you should be aware of when you meet a Hungarian for the first time. 😉
Don’t give hugs or kisses
The majority of Hungarians insist on keeping distance during the first encounter. When introducing yourself in Hungary, shake hands and look into the other’s eyes while articulating your name. During the first meeting, don’t hug and don’t give kisses on the face. If your relationship is going well, it will soon be time for a more intimate greeting. But the first meeting is still the gateway to building trust with a Hungarian.
Similarly to other nations, politics is a sensitive issue in Hungary as well. Therefore, it is not recommended to reveal your political reviews or start a discussion about politics during your first encounter with a Hungarian. You should rather start the conversation about the delicious Hungarian gastronomy, the wonderful tourist attractions, and other pleasant topics on which agreement is guaranteed. Political views are recommended to be discussed later, when the trust is stronger between you and differences of opinion are not able to ruin the relationship.
If the first meeting is informal, you will probably be offered a shot of pálinka at the entrance. In no case should you refuse this noble gesture. In addition to the mood-boosting effect of the delicious hungarikum, the Hungarian spirit also has curative and antiseptic effects when consumed in moderate quantities. If you feel like the second and third rounds are too much for you, of course you can say no, but you should definitely try a pint of it as it is a bucket list speciality in Hungary.
Don’t criticise the country or the nation
Like many other nations, Hungarians have a very strong national consciousness. Therefore, it is not recommended to start the first conversation with a Hungarian with a critical attitude. At the beginning, it is worth emphasising the positives things you experienced in Hungary. If you have had a negative experience – which might occur as Hungarians are not perfect either – you save it for later when the trust is stronger between you and critics are not taken personally.