Verbal and nonverbal communication in Spanish

In Spanish you can choose to use more formal words, and most people do this until the person they are speaking to invites them to become informal. Older people are always greeted first, and people are addressed by their last names until they give permission for their first names to be used. Meals are social events with a lot of chatting and more important business or news shared later on. Saying “please” (por favor) and “thank you” (gracias) is very important in Hispanic countries.

When they first meet many Hispanics shake hands but later men may hug each other and women kiss each other on the cheek or even on both cheeks. People stand much closer together in Hispanic countries and might think that someone is being rude if they move further away. There is also a lot more flexibility about time in Hispanic cultures, so being right on time is not necessary. Some people show up about 30 minutes after the time stated on invitations so there is no reason to worry about being a little late!

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