We Have Our Reasons
Foreigners are constantly told that Russians are surprisingly, “unsmiling people”. They write about it in their blogs and guidebooks , ask about it in person , share it with their friends and acquaintances . Indeed, we smile much less of other nationalities , but as it turns out , we have our reasons .
The Unsmiling Russian
Renowned scientist , Professor Joseph Sternin calls this one of features of the Russian household characteristics as unsmiling and explains that it’s due to several factors. The following excerpts are from AdMe.ru in which the linguist tries to shed some light on some strange and mysterious Russian soul .
A smile in Russian Communication
Is not a Signal of Courtesy.
1. A smile in Russian communication is not a signal of courtesy. A Westerner that smiles during greetings means pure politeness . The more a person smiles , the more he wants to show his friendliness to their partner. The constant polite smile in Russian is called a” duty smile ” and is considered a bad sign or a human manifestation of his insincerity , secrecy , unwillingness to discern ones true feelings. The Russian smile is a sign of being personally liked , and not polite.
Russians do not Smile at Strangers
2 . Russians do not smile at strangers . A Smile in Russian communication is addressed mainly those whom they are familiar with. That’s why consumers don’t smile at the salesperson – they do not know them . If the buyer sign the saleswoman , she told him always smile !
For Russians it’s Uncharacteristic to Smile Back
3 . For Russians it’s uncharacteristic to smile back . If a Russian is smiling it’s seen by him / her towards a stranger , he will undoubtedly look for the cause of this action . Maybe it’s something on his or her clothing maybe how a hairstyle made up is so funny.
” Laughing for no Reason is the Sign of a Fool .”
4 . When a Russian smiles , he should be doing this for a reason that is obvious enough to everyone else. This gives a person the right to smile – from the point of view of others . In the Russian language , there is a unique saying , which is not present in other languages: ” Laughing for no reason is the sign of a fool .”
Laughter Leads to Sin
5 . The unsmiling Russian man ( namely unsmiling and not gloomy – Russians are for the most part funny , cheerful and witty ) which is supported by Russian folklore, where we find a lot of sayings and proverbs “against” laughing and joking . In the Dictionary of Vladimir Dal ” Proverbs of the Russian people” : – A good Joke has no arguments . – And that laughter leads to sin. – And that laughter and sin . – Sometimes laughter is the response to crying . – In truth there are no jokes . -all jokes lead to no good .
No Smiling while on Duty
6. Russians do not customary smile while on duty , while in the performance of any serious business . For example, customs officers at airports never smile about serious matters . This feature is unique to the Russian smile .
A Russian Smile is a sincere One
7. A Russian smile is intended only to be sincere one , it is regarded as a genuine expression of a good mood or towards the other party .
So, if you see a foreigner smile – it doesn’t mean anything , he was taught to smile at everyone, and if Russian smiles , it’s because they really want to.