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Barbados Customs & Etiquettes


Barbadians are known for their politeness and civility, a legacy both of British influence and of the island's high population density – living in close proximity to others imposes pressure to avoid censure and unpleasant confrontations.

Despite, or maybe because of the tropical climate, Bajans tend to dress conservatively when not on the beach. A bikini probably won't be appreciated in town and certainly not in church.

Barbadians are particularly sensitive to manners and saying good morning to people even strangers goes a long way to earning their respect. When meeting a Barbadian, try not to discuss politics, and racial issues.

Barbadians are mostly fun loving, and love to go out and have fun, this is noted by the large number of young people found in the clubs and on the Southern Coast of the island. Try not to stare at persons without good cause. If you happen to bounce into someone in a club, you should immediately apologise to the person.

Keep in mind that Barbadians are very protective of family and insults to a person's family are taken with high seriousness, this also relates to their views on issues such as homosexuality; even though most Barbadians do not agree with the practice, your rights are still respected.

Meeting & Greeting

Most Bajans favour a more formal approach to greeting and meeting. This is most commonly a handshake between both sexes, followed by a salutation such as ‘good evening’ or ‘pleased to meet you’. Hugging and kissing is generally reserved for friends and family only.

When introducing or referring to a Bajan, unless a close acquaintance or family, you should always use a title and surname. Using first names, especially if you have don’t have a personal connection to the person in question, could be considered as too casual and quite impolite. It is considered good etiquette to introduce yourself first to a Bajan, rather than relying on them or a third party to make any introductions.

It is also seen as good manners to readily acknowledge service providers, such as bar staff, shop assistants or hoteliers. It is also common to make an effort to acknowledge anyone that you might pass on the street.

People tend to communicate at arms length, although with an increased level of familiarity, this distance can decrease. Touching of hands during conversations is quite common between friends and members of the opposite sex. This does not tend to be so between business colleagues.





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