When it comes to Mexican etiquette the Mexican people enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle then other North American countries. Because of this, the manner in which Americans, Canadians and some Europeans greet, introduce and address each other is viewed as rude or smug by many Mexican people. When you are a tourist in a foreign country, such as Mexico, it's always wise to research the country's people, traditions and culture before traveling. Mexico is steeped in a rich traditional past and Mexicans can take great offense at those who don't respect it.
The following is a list of Mexican etiquette; abide by these and you will enjoy your Mexican experience all the more:
- Use formal greetings when addressing Mexican locals for the first time. For example, Senor or Senora plus last name.
- A quick '!Buenos días!' when addressing shop clerks and waitresses shows respect, proper etiquette and will garner better service.
- When meeting a group of people it's proper Mexican etiquette to greet each individual and not use a general greeting for the whole lot.
- Attempt to speak Spanish – it will be much appreciated and endear you to Mexicans.
- Be prepared to wait! Mexico is slower and Mexicans enjoy siesta time (between 2 and 5 pm), a time for relaxation, not work.
- Mexican's typically arrive for social events an hour late – if you expect punctuality mention the time is 'a la gringa', or North American time.
- Proper Mexican etiquette requires the common greeting of kissing between women or between men and women, usually an air kiss on both cheeks.
- A brisk, firm handshake is common Mexican etiquette between business and male acquaintances.
- The U.S. hand sign for 'ok' (a circle with your thumb and forefinger) is considered vulgar in Mexican etiquette.
- Men typically introduce themselves to women by winking or whistling – known as the 'piripo'.
- Mexicans stand closer to one another than other North Americans do. Stepping back may be considered insulting.