Don’t smile when you meet a Russian

Did you know that in Russia, you are not supposed to smile when you meet new people, because a smile is seen as a sign of weakness? I learned this from my Danish friends who moved to Russia six months ago. In Denmark, we have a saying: “A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” But perhaps that is the whole point; that Russians prefer to keep a distance until they fell convinced that the stranger means no harm to them. Because once you have broken the ice and established a friendship, Russians can be heartly and all smiles. I wonder if it has to do with a Cossack warrior culture where in earlier times, they had to protect their tribe against strangers, as opposed to trading cultures in other parts of the world which had more focus on welcoming strangers with a view to market opportunities? Just pocket philosophy.

By Kirsten Bukager

I am a Danish writer and visual artist. After several years in The Netherlands, I am back in my home country. M.Sc. in International Business Administration and Modern Languages fra Copenhagen Business School, Communication and Online Journalism studies at Webster University and London School of Journalism. Bachelor in Education. I have worked with communications and marketing for many years, and recently changed path to teaching (Danish language, Art, Social Studies). I have always had a creative mind and filled many drawing blocks and canvases. I write for pleasure. Most of my stories are about places and people I encounter on journeys around the world. I have an eye for cultural and social subtleties, and I am especially interested in travel and the arts. Drop me a line if you are interested in my art, my teaching, or if you have a question or comment. And feel free to follow me on Instagram.