Introduction: Respect in Spain: a Tutorial

Aagam Vakil

Step 1: Tu Vs Usted

The most important way of showing respect in Spain is to use the word usted. This word is the same as the English word you but is only reserved for people of authority and of an old age. While in the United States we use terms like sir and mam, in Spain respect is shown to elders using the usted form versus the simple you. It is the most obvious and formal way of showing respect in Spain.

Step 2: Greetings in Spain

Greetings in Spain is done by giving a small kiss on the left and right cheek, as shown in the picture. While in the United States we usually greet with a handshake, in Spain this is not usually. Such seems unusual and weird to foreigners but with time becomes natural. It is the most respectful way of greeting in Spain.

Step 3: Timing in Spain

The meaning of punctuality differs largely from Spain and the United States. In the US a 5 p.M. Meeting starts exactly at 5 p.M. With everyone arriving pre-5pm. However, in Spain, a 5 p.M. Meeting starts with the first person arriving at 5 p.m. and everyone else arriving within the next 15 to 20 minutes. This is not a show of disrespect but rather just a cultural difference. For example, a professor in Spain might show up for a 3 p.M. class at 3:05 p.m.

Step 4: Goodbye in Spain

Saying good-bye in Spain is usually taught to be adios. however in Spain there are many ways of saying goodbye, some of which include hasta luego and vas menos. In many cases saying adios can seem a bit abrupt and blunt. While it is still used, in Spain people tend to use a lot of different versions.

Step 5: Meeting the Party

One of the first things you realize when meeting a large group of people is that the Spanish tend to meet and greet everyone. To show respect one might greet everyone individually or as a group. The act of greeting shows respect. It is a way of acknowledging your own arrival.

Step 6: Sources