Korean etiquette and manners

Korean etiquette rules
Korean etiquette and manners

As you may know, Korea is very sensitive to keeping etiquette. Koreans are followers of Confucianism and faithful guardians of their centuries-old traditions. For them, even just respect for their elders is more than just a norm of morality.

Korean etiquette and manners:

  1. Bow and greeting
  2. Do not call by name
  3. Say “good job”
  4. Use a polite style of speech.
  5. Slightly turn away when you drink alcohol
  6. Do not tip
  7. Smile restrained
  8. When you call up someone, you should keep your palm looking down
  9. Do not pour yourself
  10. Do not blow your nose

1. Bow and greeting

Instead of the handshake that is characteristic of European culture or even a strong hug, it is customary in Korea to make a small bow at a meeting. Moreover, the size of the bow depends on age and position at work. If a person is older than you and occupies a higher position, then the bow will be lower. And so, usually it is either a slight nod of the head, or the golden mean – a nod of the head and a slight inclination of the body.

If we are talking about shaking hands, then there is also one important point. Firstly, in no case should you squeeze your hand too tightly and even less shake it with a handshake. And what you need is to slightly hold your left hand by the elbow – this will be a sign of respect. And this is not only important in a working environment, but also when paying for an order in a cafe / restaurant – you need to hold out the card / cash with either two hands, or holding one hand with the other. To accept or give with one hand is considered rude. Of course, they can forgive you because you are a foreigner, but it won’t play into your hands for sure.

2. Don’t call by name

In Korea, it is not customary to call someone by name, even if it is a full name. Even Korean spouses often do not call each other by name. Usually, when referring to someone on the street or at work, Koreans use words that characterize the type of activity. For example, referring to the bus driver they say “Mr. driver”, referring to the doctor – “Mr. doctor”, to the director “Mr. Director.” In addition, Koreans are often introduced as “Mr. Kim / Lee / Pak”, etc. Those. they use only their last name. And in Korean it sounds like “Mr Kim” – i.e. in English. When they first meet a person of about the same age and start friendships, Koreans usually turn around using the full name and respectful prefix “Shchi,” which means Mr. / Madam. For example – Kim Minsokshi, Annashi.

3. Say “good job”

After the end of the working day, at the end of a project or business, Koreans say to each other “수고 했습니다 – suqohesseumnida,” which means “good job.” This expression shows the attitude of employees to work. It is a symbol of respect, diligence. Shows that employees value each other’s work.

4. Use a polite style of speech.

Of course, not everyone knows the Korean language, and if you go to Korea, it doesn’t yet know that you need to know the details of communication in it. But there is still something important. These are speech styles. When memorizing any specific phrases or words, remember that in Korea there are three styles of speech – unofficial, official and official business.

So, turning to a stranger it is better to use the last two styles. Turning to a business partner is an exclusively third style. These styles are very easy to cure. In the official style, the sound “Yo” will always be at the end of the sentence, and in the officially business style, “Da / Kka”. Observing these rules is very important, otherwise you may not make the best impression. + If, nevertheless, you need to say something or ask, but you are not sure of the correctness of the words, it is better to speak English. 🙂

5. Slightly turn away when you drink alcohol

This is super important if you have dinner with a business partner. Especially if he is older than you. This is important if you are drinking with anyone who is older than you, even if it is your friend, although it all depends on how close you are.

6. Do not tip

Leaving a tip is not accepted and indecent. Leaving a tip, you can only insult the person. Unusual for Europeans, but he is Korean etiquette.

7. Smile restrained

It’s not customary in Korea to smile so that your teeth are visible. But if, after all, you are so happy that your teeth climb out, then you should cover your mouth with your palm. Otherwise, you will at least embarrass the interlocutor and it will be super indecent.

8. When you call up someone, you should keep your palm looking down

When you want to attract someone’s attention or to suspect someone you need to keep your hand palm down. If you hold your hand palm up, then for Koreans it is considered rude. Because this is how dogs are usually called up.

9. Do not pour yourself

If you drink with someone it’s not customary to pour the drink yourself. You can only pour to another person / people with whom you are drinking. Otherwise, if you pour yourself, it is considered as a sign of not showing respect and may bring failure to the person with whom you drink. Therefore, you must also be attentive to the person or people with whom you drink.

10. Don’t blow your nose

In Korea, it’s indecent to blow your nose in public. Especially blow your nose loudly or even use hanky . If you have a runny nose, then it is better to go to the bathroom or at least turn away to wipe your nose slightly. Why don’t Koreans use reusable fabric scarves? Because in principle it is not proper to blow your nose and Koreans cannot imagine how, after blowing your nose, you can put a dirty hanky in your pocket … and even more so use it.

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Korean etiquette and manners
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2 Comments

  • Avatar

    thankyou for sharing how importat the etiquette and manners in Korea. Now I know why korean idol very polite ^^

    • Dayoung

      Thank you for your feedback, Risha ))) ^ㅅ^

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