Persian politeness is an art form
: If you get in a taxi anywhere in Iran, chances are when you try to pay, your driver will refuse to take your money. Walk into a shop to buy something, the same happens. Baffled?The cultural practice of Taarof is Iran’s own personal brand of etiquette. You’re not really being given a freebie, it’s a form of civility and all you have to do is play along. It’s all about denying your will to please the other person – and it extends to pretty much every social situation.Say you get invited to dinner. The polite response would be to refuse, only to have your host insist so that you can, again, refuse. Granted, it can get a little awkward but don’t worry, three times is usually the charm and the important thing is to end up agreeing.
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