Uzbekistan Etiquette: Do & Don’t Part II

  1. More than just a tea…

Whether for business or pleasure: it is recommended that every long encounter or conversation start with tea (or at least water) if possible. According to historyaah, the Uzbek tea ceremony is always about something more than just a tea. Drinking tea is extremely important in a society like the Uzbek, because many, if not all, important matters cannot be discussed with dry mouth. This is mainly due to a hot and dry climate. In the figurative sense of the word, the following also applies: The mouths or souls of your conversation partner rise like a clam in the steam of a boiled tea. If it is an important conversation, in which unpleasant problems often have to be discussed, then the tea not only cools the body but also heats up minds.

  1. Dinner or supper?

The Protestant wisdom “breakfast like an emperor, lunch like a prince, dinner like a beggar” applies in Uzbekistan in reverse order: dinner is very often the main meal of the day. Therefore, you should not offer your Uzbek guests the usual evening bread in Germany (bread slices, butter, cheese, sausage, lettuce leaves, etc.), but rather serve a “real” dinner with at least one warm dish.

  1. “Cuff label” for men

A man (especially in the provinces) should cough politely before entering a private or office room, where only women sit, and thus audibly announce his visit before he is seen, in order to give the women time to “be in order” bring and adopt the “correct” or “decent” physical posture.

  1. pause filler? Necessarily!

If you have invited your Uzbek colleagues to dinner, you should make sure that there are no longer (“North German”) breaks during a conversation before, during and after dinner, because these are perceived by the Uzbeks as uncomfortable, uncomfortable and embarrassing. Then where should the eyes and hands go ?!

Even if you do not have a suitable topic of conversation or find an Uzbek guest completely uninteresting, you should try to end a break that is too long with the so-called pause fillers: children, family, weather, etc. A small talk, a little easy one sociable conversation without the in-depth discussion. And please no business talk, this not only bores the other guests, but also saddened the anticipation of the delicious food and unnecessarily burdened the stomach.

Uzbekistan Right hand

Note that the conversation between the other (German and Uzbek) guests come to a standstill, you as the host should definitely intervene with a further comment or a joke and ensure that there is a renewed “flow of speech”. This is also part of your duties as a host! When you are invited you can sit back and it is not your concern, but that of your hosts. As a guest, you are more relaxed in this case. But in this case too, silence is embarrassing!

That said, however, does not mean that you have to keep rattling like a machine gun. Natural short breaks to think, breathe, drink tea, swallow, eat, etc. are entirely possible.

  1. Not hard-drinking? Very suspicious!

Although Uzbekistan is an Islamic country, there is almost always a lot going on on many social occasions (except during the funeral ceremony) (vodka consumption in 2012 in 5th place worldwide !). If you don’t drink alcohol, you have a huge problem. Because the Uzbeks don’t just drink a lot, drinking also has an important social function. One drinks to the get-together, that also means: If you don’t drink, people are quick to get offended and think you’re a bugger – if everyone else drinks, alcohol makes their truth known, but not yours! Justifications or explanations on your part are very rarely accepted or simply ignored. Therefore, it is better to secretly pour still water into your own glass and toast with it or sip briefly from a glass filled with real alcohol and secretly tip it away.

  1. No separate bills

In Uzbekistan it is not usually customary to ask for separate bills in a restaurant because eating together is meant to demonstrate solidarity. Individual bills destroy this feeling of community. You are either “invited” or you invite your conversation partner yourself or you agree in advance on how the costs will be divided up after the meal (a joint bill is still required in the restaurant).

  1. “Time to say goodbye?” No!

If your Uzbek guests stay longer than you would like after dinner, you (including your family members) should refrain from the slightest sign of impatience and in the presence of your guests such sentences as “I have to get up early tomorrow / do something important”; “Honey, what time is it?” etc. Refrain as much as possible. Your words should also be in harmony with your body language, ie neither a demonstratively long look at the wall clock nor annoyed nodding at the wristwatch are appropriate; no arms pressed close to the body, no (un) conscious attempts to constantly put things in the right place.