Here are the tips which can help to make your meeting with Ukrainian friends more comfortable.
By the way, about the “friend” term. Americans call friends anyone whom they happen to know, more or less. Many times I have witnessed people introducing a new acquaintance as their friend. For example, I was surprised to hear how my fellow student called friend a guy whom he had seen just one time before. Of course, he or she can be a great person. However, in Ukraine there is a very deep distinction between friends and acquaintances. A friend is a deeply trusted person, someone whom we feel safe to entrust our life with. A real friend is welcome at any time of day or night in our home and definitely would help you in any difficult period of your life.
Are you going to visit Ukrainian family? First thing you should know is that Ukrainians are known for their hospitality, they love to cook up massive amounts of homemade food and nobody ever leaves Ukrainian home hungry. Moreover, it is considered impolite not to offer some food and a cup of coffee or tea to guest even if it is only a short visit.
Ukrainians exchange gifts with family and close friends on birthdays, Christmas or other holidays. Gifts need not be expensive, It is the act of giving the gift that is important, since it symbolizes friendship. If you are invited to a Ukrainian’s home for a meal it is polite to bring something. It can be cake, flowers, or a bottle of wine.
Do you want to bring flowers? It’s a great idea, just remember one thing. Unlike US and other countries, flowers as a gift should only be given in odd numbers.
Be prepared to accept all food and drink offered when visiting Ukrainian friends. Turning down food may be considered rude. Also, this can mean that you do not respect the homemaker or you do not like the food that they had prepared for you.
And about being affable. Compared with the US citizens, Ukrainians rarely smile in public and they may be perceived as unfriendly but don’t worry! They are extremely heartwarming and hospitable people once you get to know them closer 🙂