You really can't quite put your finger on Austrians, can't you? Are they scary? Are they too serious? Are they as stiff as a board? Though time, Austrians have garnered quite the reputation and stereotype. It's so easy to believe that they're of a certain mold, one that's relatively intimidating but might not exactly be 100% accurate. After all, it may have something to do with their customs, right? Each country has them, and while they characterize certain people, they don't define them. But what are these customs in Austria? You really ought to know them if you have plans of going there!
Austrians are Conservative
Yes, that much of the stereotype is true. Austrians are quite conservative, at times, even to a fault. They still follow many of their traditions, even though modern society has allowed many people to be more open, liberated, and the like. Though it's easy to criticize them for sticking to outdated values and old-school customs, there is merit to their conservatism. For one thing, it allows them, particularly the children, to be well-behaved. And it shows when you see the students in the finest schools
, all pristine and well-put-together. Also, you can thank this sensibility for the low crime rate in Vienna
and other Austrian cities.
Appearances Matter in Austria
Another benefit to the Austrians' conservatism? They dress appropriately for any occasion. It's practically second-nature to them. Appearances matter in this country, whether it's for work, social events, and more. The people here know that you have to show your best for any situation, and that includes what to wear. Of course, in the corporate world, a well-tailored suit is everything. You won't see one business executive or even a marketing subordinate not dressed in business attire. But even on other activities like going to the theater, Austrians still dress up for it as they did back in the 1800s.
Know Who and Where to Kiss When Greeting
Now, let's talk about kissing. Yes, Austrians greet each other with kisses. It's just like how the French
and the Italians
do it. However, there are varying degrees and differences as to who and where you kiss. Austrians don't kiss people they don't know as a greeting. They only do that to those they've known for quite some time. It's also pretty common for men to kiss women on the hand, very much like the olden days, though it's not exactly a requirement. However, men from another country don't exactly follow this practice. Women will find it strange if they do. And men will rarely kiss each other as a form of greeting.
Shake Hands With Everyone in The Room
For everyone, most especially to men, shaking hands is the most common form of greeting. However, Austrians don't just shake the hands of people of a select few. If they enter a room full of people they're already acquainted with, it's imperative that they shake hands with everyone there. Even with children. When they get introduced to someone for the first time, a handshake is always the go-to form of greeting. While those they already know, if they don't plan on kissing them, will likely shake their hands instead. It's a sign of respect, good behavior, and proper breeding.
Always Cut Your Food Before Eating Them
Tafelspitz, Wiener Schnitzel, and Schweinsbraten—Austrian food is pretty meaty, isn't it? So much so that it's difficult to shove them all down in one full mouthful. Also, that's considered rude in the country in the first place. So when you're eating out
or you're invited to someone else's home for lunch/dinner, always cut your meat up in smaller bits before enjoying them. It tells others of two things: the first is that you're not a barbarian and you don't intend to eat like one in the company of others. And the second is that it tells the chef (of the host/ess if he/she prepared the food) that what they've cooked is tender and well-made.
Small Talk is Rare in The Office
The Austrians are pretty serious about their work. Their country might not have the biggest job market
out there, but they do what they can and they work hard to keep it stable and alive. So when you find work in this country
, expect that most of your local co-workers would be gardening non-stop at the clock. This often means that there's little to no small talk in the office. They might take coffee or cigarette breaks, sure, but they'd be pretty quick and precise about it. Very rarely will you find two Austrians just chatting away by the water-dispenser.
Always Be Blunt and Honest When Talking Business
Europeans, Austrians, in particular, have never been ones to mince words. And this is especially true when doing business. It's not that they're so direct and blunt that they no longer care about another person's feelings or comfort, but rather they don't have time to beat around the bush. When you're in a meeting in an Austrian office, expect it to be quick and precise. Professionals here prefer to go straight to the point with what they have to say, rarely leaving any room for flowery words, long-winded explanations, and the like. That's how you must speak in this country.
If Austrians remain a big mystery to you, it's probably because you don't know what the customs of the country are. The more you know about etiquette and manners from here, the better you'll understand them. And you have to follow them yourself if you plan of going here!
As long as you adhere to their customs, and you get a luxury apartment
as your home here, you'll be fine in Austria!