Thursday, February 18, 2010

A brief guide to dealing with The Irish

I stumbled across a website called eDiplomat today - a handy resource that offers primers on societal conventions to inoculate against culture shock. Naturally, I wanted to see what they had to say about the Irish:

The People

The Irish are interested in people and place great value on the individual. They are naturally courteous, quick-witted and will go out of their way to welcome visitors to their country. Don't rush the Irish. Although they work very hard, the Irish are dedicated to a less stressful lifestyle that allows time for friends and family, a visit to the pub, a cup of tea, or just a bit of a chat on the corner. Families are closely-knit and very important to the Irish.

There's not much there that I can grumble about, let's drill deeper:

Meeting and Greeting
  • Shake hands with everyone present -- men, women and children -- at a business or social gathering. Shake hands again when leaving.
  • A firm handshake with eye contact is expected.
Body Language
  • The Irish are not very physically demonstrative and are not comfortable with public displays of affection.
  • The Irish are uncomfortable with loud, aggressive, and arrogant behavior.
  • A "Reverse V for victory" gesture is considered obscene.
Under the body language section, it states that the Irish people are "not very physically demonstrative and are not comfortable with public displays of affection", "uncomfortable with loud, agressive, and arrogant behaviour", and that a "'Reverse V for victory" gesture is considered obscene.

It recommends that one dress "modestly and conservatively", avoiding "flashy colours [...] white pants, nylon running jackets", and recommending "tweeds, wools and subdued colors". It also states that for "business meetings, men should wear suits or sportcoats and ties; women should wear suits or dresses and blazers (women wear pants less often than in America)."

Helpful Hints
  • The Irish respect reserved behavior. Initial meetings should be low key.
  • Assume that children will be included in family entertaining.
  • Always be sincere. The Irish dislike pretentious behavior.
  • Remember the Irish want to do things their way. You will not succeed if you insist on doing it "your way."
Especially for Women
  • A foreign woman will be accepted easily in the Irish business community.
  • It is considered more proper for a woman to order a glass of beer or stout rather than a pint.
  • It is acceptable, but may be misconstrued for a foreign woman to invite an Irishman to dinner. It is best to stick with lunch.
  • If a woman would like to pay for a meal, she should state so at the outset.
As far as guides to an entire race of people go, it's not too shabby. If I had to add an extra heading to the article, it would be the following:

  • The objective of a night out is to forget as much of it as possible, assisted by alcohol and occasionally, blunt-force trauma to the head.
  • After a night out, the preferred ritual is to establish oneself as the participant with the least recollection of the previous evening.
  • Alcohol absolves the imbiber of all personal-accountability.
  • Mating rituals in Ireland start with the dancefloor. Men will approach women from behind and attempt to entice them into acts of fornication by grinding their pelvis against the female's backside.
  • Interfering with the aforementioned dancefloor ritual will result in blunt-force trauma to the head.
  • Any alcoholic beverages left unattended are complimentary.
  • When leaving nightclubs, take care not to tread on drunken Irish females who have drank themselves into unconsciousness, and deposited themselves by the main exit to be located by their friends.


missyouallthetime said...

I just read the one for the U.S. Commence explosive, obnoxious, informal laughter.

"Americans smile a great deal, even at strangers. They like to have their smiles returned."

Sully said...

I was going to save it for a later post, but the one on Americans is pretty spot on aswell. Us Irish are miserly with our smiles, I'd advise you to use them sparingly if you ever visit, lest some Limerick knacker [lesson for another day] enquire as to "wha' oo lookin' ah'?"

I always was worried that my slab-o'-yank girlfriend seemed rude when I'd introduce her to people in Ireland, and at the point where people normally do the introductory handshake, she'd nod or smile.

Now I can print the information out and carry it around wherever I take her to explain away all her foibles!

Caitlyn said...

You never filled me in on that bit of cultural info! It's not my fault! At least I've stopped refusing cups of tea....

Jason said...

"The Irish are not comfortable with public displays of affection".

Glad I'm not the only one. Some guys cling, slobber, and paw all over their girl in public, like they're so proud of having vagina-proprietorship they must feast on every moment, like a starved dog gorging on some food because he doesn't know when he'll get it again. Horrible to behold.

strange-young-man said...

Jay-Jigga!They could just be in "Big L"!

I have been prone to the odd PDA and have no problem with PDA's in general.

SeanH said...

As a connoisseur of blunt force cranial trauma I approve of this message.