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Socializing in Ukraine

When meeting informally, men and women usually wave the hand and give a verbal greeting such as Pryvit (“Hi”) or Dobryj den’ (“Good afternoon”). Dobryj den’ is also appropriate in formal situations, in which case people often shake hands. Men wait for women to extend a hand before offering to shake it. In official situations titles are used, in­cluding Pan (“Mr.”), Pani (“Mrs.”), Panna (“Miss”), or Panove (“Sirs” or “Gentlemen”), as well as professional titles.

Relatives and close friends often hug and kiss cheeks when greeting. They address each other by first name. A respectful form of address is to use the first name followed by the patronymic, which is the father’s given name, and a gender-specific (for son or daughter) suffix.

Because of the Ukrainian tradition of hospitality, visitors, wheth­er expected or not, are nearly always made welcome. Friends, neigh­bors, and relatives often visit. However, visits arranged in advance are preferred whenever possible. Guests invited for dinner will usu­ally bring a gift of some kind: flowers, a cake, a bottle of liquor, or candy or toys for the children. Guests usually remove footwear when they enter a home, and they do not sit on the floor or put their feet on furniture.


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