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Hungarian Customs: How To Act in Hungary

November 21, 2020
It's easy to write off Hungary as another run-of-the-mill European country. One where tradition reigns supreme. One whose charm relies heavily on the nostalgia-inducing landmarks and tourist attractions. And one packed with a lot of history. Though they may all be true in one sense of another, what separates Hungary from all the others is, among other things, their customs. The way to act here is relatively different from that in other countries, both among its neighboring nations and the other places beyond Europe. The more you know about it, the more you'll be able to act and behave appropriately while you're in the country.
Hungarian Customs: How To Act in Hungary

Get Personal with The Locals Here

You know the stereotype that Europeans are pretty forward, right? That they tend to get a little too close for comfort? Well, that could very well apply to the Hungarians, but not physically. But rather, Hungarians tend to get too personal when they talk to people, even those they've just met. There's no 'small talk' when it comes to them, they will ask you any and everything they want to know about you. So it's better to prepare yourself now before you actually go to the country. Know what to say when you don't want them to get a little too personal without offending them.

Address People By Their Surnames At Work

In contrast, however, Hungarians in professional settings don't get personal at all. Or rather, they rarely do. When you find work in Hungary, you'll realize that there's a certain decorum in the corporate world here. Part of that is knowing your place. Never, under any circumstances, whatever your role in the company may be, address your co-workers by their first names. You might get away with that in other countries, but here in Hungary, it's considered rude. You should also never forget to address everyone by Mr., Ms., Sir, M'am, and the like. It's simply good business manners to do so.

Hungarian Customs: How To Act in Hungary

Do Not Begin Eating Until The Host/ess Starts

Eating out is all well and good—Budapest alone has many great restaurants—but you always have to be mindful of your host. Whether you were invited to eat in someone's home or to dine out with company, never start eating before your host does. It's plain rude to do so in Hungary. The person who invited you took the time to prepare food or reserve a seat in a restaurant for you, the least you could do is to wait until he/she has settled in his/her seat before you dig in. How do you think it'd look if you started chomping down before everyone else?

Try Everything Served

At the same time, when you do start eating, try everything on offer. When you're at someone's home, at least try a bit or two of everything served on the table. When you're eating out, at least bite into most, if not all of the dishes the host/ess ordered. You don't have to eat many of everything, but putting just little slivers on your plate won't hurt. It's especially good manners to do so in someone's home because it's highly likely your host/ess prepared the food him/herself. The least you could do is taste their hard work. And don't be selfish with the compliments!

Hungarian Customs: How To Act in Hungary

Always Speak Up In Business Settings

Going back to business, if you need to speak up during a business meeting, don't be afraid to do it! Business is usually conducted slowly here in Hungary so you have more than enough time to voice our concerns and give suggestions. That's the way the Hungarians do business. They leave no stone unturned: any possible problem, they'll answer and any good idea put forth, they'll hear it out. They'll do whatever they can to ensure that any endeavor or deal they make will become a success. And when that happens, expect there will be food and drinks involved at the end of it.

Keep Your Suit Jacket On During Meetings

While you're at it, don't take off your suit jackets during meetings. It's quite rude to do it in front of your co-workers, even more so if you do it in front of your clients. Men, as much as possible, no matter the room temperature, keep your jacket on. You can unbutton it if you want, but taking it out and rolling your sleeves up is a definite no-no. As for the women, if you know you're going to a meeting during a hot day or in a warm place, it's best to wear a sleeveless business-ready dress instead.

Hungarian Customs: How To Act in Hungary

How to act in Hungary? Well, you need to know the customs of the country first. Once you do, you'll have no problem behaving properly and acting appropriately while you're here. And you don't want to offend anybody in Hungary, do you?

Also, here in Hungary, the best manners for yourself is to get a luxury rental for your home! That's the plain truth!