7 Astonishing Things About the Portuguese That We Just Can’t Understand

Despite the fact that there are only 10 million people in Portugal, this country draws a lot of attention from tourists. This is partially because of the town Nazaré where you can see 65 ft tall waves from October to February.

We at Bright Side found out that local people are very interesting and that they are very different from the rest of the world.

1. Portugal is a very friendly country. A person you barely know can easily kiss you to say “hello.”

In Portuguese towns, everyone knows each other. Visit a local restaurant a couple of times and the owner will remember you and treat you like someone they know very well. After you’ve only just met someone, they might start telling you a lot of things about their lives and their health. They are very emotional and they often recount everything in great detail. Women that hardly know each other always kiss each other on the cheek when they meet.

  • The people here are friendly, especially if you attempt to converse in their language. Shopping at the open-air markets, it was obvious that I was not Portuguese (being blonde and fair), but so many of the market stall owners helped me with my language skills. As I pointed to my selections and they would tell me how to say it in Portuguese. © Catherine Durnford-Wang / quora
  • We live in a tiny village where no one speaks English, but we’re about 20 km from the city of Tomar. People here, as a rule, are flattered we chose Portugal as the place to live for the rest of our lives, are delighted when I attempt to speak Portuguese, and welcomed us graciously. Our neighbors sometimes even bring us vegetables or eggs. © Bob Simms / quora

2. The local people really value their culture and are proud of the famous Portuguese people.

Many people think that the Portuguese language is a Spanish dialect. It would be a terrible insult if you said something like this to the local people. Portuguese people really love their language and their literature.

Besides, in this country, you will find a huge number of T-shirts, blankets, perfumes, and even cookies with Cristiano Ronaldo on them. This soccer player is a true idol because he is famous, even though he was born in a poor family.

  • Do not criticize our soccer, really, if you come here talking bad about my soccer team, you are in serious trouble. © Carlos Mendes / quora
  • I wanted strawberries when I was on vacation. I put the box on the counter and start thinking about something. While paying, I said, “Gracias.” The cashier made a long face and said angrily, “In this country, we say “obrigado.” © MadTillDead / pikabu

3. The local people rarely wear makeup and high heels. They wear very elegant clothes.

In Portugal, a woman who wears a lot of makeup is definitely a tourist. Portuguese women dress casually and they prefer solid colors: grey, beige, white, and sometimes black. There is an unwritten rule: the brighter the clothes, the “richer” the owner looks.

Nobody hides imperfections under their clothes. The most popular outfit here is high-waisted shorts, a tight top, and simple shoes with no heel.

  • We do not tolerate harassing a woman on the street. For many years here there was this habit of saying cheesy things to an attractive woman who was passing by (construction workers, leaning on the scaffolds, harassing women from a distance is a common stereotype), but this is increasingly becoming frowned upon. Do not touch a woman (or anybody really) without her consent. You might even get in trouble with a bystander. © Joao Dias / quora
  • If walking around in pajamas with unbrushed hair is your idea of relaxed living, it is not ours. Women are expected to not wear too much makeup, if any, and dress casually, but in style. In other words, we like natural beauties. And if it takes you 2 hours to get dressed, you are high maintenance. © Delfim G. Almeida / quora

4. The courtship of Portuguese men is very different from other people.

Most Portuguese people have 3 important qualities: sensitivity, romanticism, and sadness. In the beginning, men are very shy, but if you let them know that your feelings are mutual, they will easily show you the way they feel.

Despite being very passionate, local machos can surprise women in an unpleasant way. In cafes or restaurants, it is totally normal to go Dutch. A man will pay for you only if he wants to make an impression on you.

Also, compliments in Portugal are extremely simple. It is totally normal to say to a woman that she has such an attractive body that he wants to steal it. This is not an insult, it is just a Portuguese compliment.

  • Be loving, sexy, and demonstrative! If you recoil from our touching, hugging, or kissing, we will think that you are turned off, cold, or that you have issues. Don’t expect our males in romantic relationships to follow the ‘personal space’ rule. Here in Portugal, most have no idea what that is, and will either laugh in your face over such a ridiculous concept or stay away from you for good. © Delfim G. Almeida / quora
  • I have lived in Portugal for 20 years and have noticed that Portuguese men are extremely vulnerable to flattery. Compliment them on their clothes, how well-dressed they are, or what a lovely car they have, say nice things about them and to them, and many doors will open. © Christopher Graeme / quora

5. The Portuguese use a knife and a fork, but they hold them in a different way.

When you are at the table, you should hold your knife in your left hand and your fork in your right hand. It is rude to cut all your food and put down your knife. You should eat with a knife and a fork at the same time. If you don’t follow this rule, the Portuguese might laugh in your face.

  • I’m used to only eating with a fork. Every time I visited my Portuguese friends, they would comment on how I ate. They’d say something like, “You’re so weird! Use a knife!” So, I felt so awkward, that I started eating that way so that nobody would criticize me. © Lifey / youtube

6. The teams here are very united, so you have to be careful about what you say.

The local people communicate in very tight groups. If a foreigner is accepted in such a group, they have to be very careful when choosing new friends. If they invite someone the group doesn’t like, the relationship with the group will most likely end.

  • To me, Portugal is remarkably liberal in laws, but the society is still quite conservative and judgmental. In Portugal, I care about what X person will think if I invite Y person to a party... It can be pretty complicated... One needs to be diligent when it comes to the social rules of each group and in Portugal, social groups of friends are like little bubbles where someone rarely gets in or out. © Luis Nunes / quora
  • What is really colorful about this country is when you are invited to a birthday party or a wedding, be ready to get a bill after the event. Everyone pays for themselves. © Arshi / pikabu

7. The slow pace of life is one of the brightest features of the Portuguese.

Portuguese people are very slow and they respect rest, so don’t plan anything from noon until 3 PM. Some companies don’t even work during this time.

In Portugal, people have early dinners and if you go to a restaurant after 9 PM, there is a huge chance you won’t be served.

But there is a paradox about Portuguese people we can’t understand.

  • Do not drive. I am dead serious about it! We drive very fast, and for most of us, driving a car is like being in a race. I just have to pass you no matter how fast. We drive very fast here and most of us do not respect the speed limits. But we do stop at crosswalks and respect red lights. Use public transport, really, Portugal. © Carlos Mendes / quora

Do you have any experience communicating with the Portuguese? Share it with us in the comment section below!

Preview photo credit MadTillDead / pikabu
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