Romanians tend to be relatively introverted and shy, though once they open up, you are guaranteed to form a lasting friendship. First impressions count, and most choose to be silent rather than risking saying something impolite or foolish. Meeting someone’s gaze in public is not as taboo as in other countries in Europe, though, unsurprisingly, staring is.

Despite their shyness, Romanians are exceedingly friendly people. While some choose to avoid uncomfortable social situations, others freely socialise in the streets, restaurants or cafes and will often strike up conversations with complete strangers on the bus. As a matter of fact, while not all Romanians are comfortable speaking English, you will undoubtedly find some who will be more than willing to practice their knowledge of the language with you. Breaking the language barrier between natives and strangers is quite a common pastime, with tourists being quite a rarity in areas that are not near Bucharest. As such, many take advantage of these opportunities by engaging in conversation and offering personal tips, tricks and hints to better familiarise yourself with the country.

Finding impromptu drinking buddies is easy. Hierarchy Romania is a patriarchal society. The elderly are respected and cherished for their wisdom and valuable advice, and in more rural communities are often expected to sit at the head of the table. Because of this, it is expected to greet a woman’s husband first before acknowledging her. This does not necessarily apply to friends or family. The most senior members of a particular organisation or family are usually the de-facto leaders of the aforementioned group, and are expected, if not to lead, at least to offer their advice, drawing upon a lifetime of experience. The head of the family is usually the oldest man of the current generation.

Superstition Romania is a highly superstitious country, the result of years and years of mingling with the local Slavic population. Its folklore is rich with myths, and rumours circulate wildly in more rural areas. For example, if a black cat crosses your path, you will be cursed with bad luck. You can remedy this by taking three steps backwards and spitting on the ground. Furthermore, if you are whistling in your house, you are inviting evil spirits into it. Walking underneath a ladder will brings seven years of bad luck, and so will breaking a mirror.

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