Paragon Politeness: Argentina Edition

Paragon Politeness explores the necessary etiquette when interacting with people of different cultures. It is easy to unknowingly insult someone if you do not understand local norms. Paragon is here to assist you in discovering a new culture and to educate you along the way.

Today, Paragon Politeness will examine the standards for Argentina and what faux pas should be avoided. 

Meeting Etiquette

  • Initial greetings are formal and follow a set protocol of greeting the eldest or most important person first.
  • A standard handshake entails direct eye contact and a welcoming smile.
  • Maintaining eye contact indicates interest.
  • In general, Argentinians prefer third-party introductions, so please wait for your host or hostess to introduce you to others at a small gathering.
  • When leaving, say goodbye to each person individually.

Gift Giving Etiquette

  • When invited to dinner at an Argentine's home, bring a small gift for the hostess.
  • Since taxes on imported spirits are extremely high, a bottle of imported spirits is always well received.
  • Do not give knives or scissors as they indicate a desire to sever the relationship.
  • Gifts are opened immediately.

Dining Etiquette

  • If you are invited to an Argentine home:
    • Dress well. Men should wear a jacket and tie. Women should wear a dress or a skirt and blouse.
    • Arrive 30 to 45 minutes later than invited for a dinner party. Arriving on time is not the norm.
    • Call the hosts the following day to thank them.

Watch your Table Manners!

  • Wait for the host or hostess to tell you where to sit. There may be a seating plan.
  • Table manners are Continental - hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
  • Do not begin eating until the hostess invites you to do so.
  • Always keep your hands visible when eating, but do not rest your elbows on the table.
  • Wait for a toast to be made before taking the first sip of your drink.
  • When you have finished eating, place your knife and fork across your plate with the prongs facing down and the handles facing to the right.
  • Pouring wine is beset with many rituals and cultural taboos. If possible, avoid pouring the wine.

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