- Frequent physical contact
- Joyful greetings with kiss on a cheek
- Flirting often without deeper meaning
- Polite behavior
One may find that interaction between men and women in Mexico differs slightly from other countries. Here, physical contact is more common than, say, in the U.S.
To Mexicans, greetings and farewells are a big deal.
- In a business context, shaking hands is the norm, both between men and women. For other occasions, men may initiate physical contact such as holding the arm of the other or giving each other an “abrazo”, which is just a warm hug accompanied by hearty back-slapping and which could be followed by a handshake. Women will greet each other with a kiss on each cheek, and this is the way men greet women in informal meetings. Such contact is normal and does not imply or mean anything further than a greeting or farewell.
- Mexicans generally stand at a much closer physical distance when conversing than foreigners may be accustomed to. It would be considered rude to step back.
- Mexicans also tend to speak a lot with their hands, gesturing for emphasis. It would also be considered rude to mimic them.
- Generally both men and women enjoy each other’s company and may openly acknowledge this with a dazzling smile, and be warm and flirtatious. This may not necessarily mean anything though and can be considered as being part of Mexican nature. It will of course, depend on each particular situation, but don’t jump to hasty conclusions.
Traditionally, Mexico was known as one of the societies in which men have been known for their macho and chauvinistic behavior towards women. This however, has been changing with time much less of this sort of attitude is seen nowadays.
- Even so, standards are not what you may expect to find in the U.K. or in the U.S. and women, especially if traveling alone, can expect flirtatious comments to be called her way. This is referred to as “piropeo” and is quite common not only in Mexico, but in other Latin American countries and even in Spain. Although this may seem rude or annoying, generally no harm is meant and is simply a natural way for men to express their admiration for women.
- These flirtatious comments are called "piropos", and some of the most common include the traditional “mi amor!” or “guapa!".
Dating and courtship rules have gradually been changing throughout the world as time has gone by. This is evident in some countries more than others. Mexico is on its way to becoming a modern country, but with romantic issues, one will still find that many of the Mexican are still more traditional in this aspect.
Even so, especially among teens, it is becoming more and more common for both girls and boys to ask each other out and split the cost of the evening’s outing and entertainment.
Flirting, as anywhere else in the world, is basically communication. It involves getting the right message across. Remember:
- Modest behavior is appreciated and flaunting superiority, intelligence and ability is generally regarded a turn-off.
- Personal appearance, image and human relationships are very important so be sure to put some thought into your outfit and attire as well as your greetings and farewells if you’re interested in making a good impression.
- Apart from your behavior, looks and body-language, words form an important part of flirting. That’s where knowing the language comes in handy. This is just another of the many possibilities that speaking a language can bring you closer to.
Learn about other Mexican customs at one of our Spanish Language Courses.