how do you describe Czech character?

Discussion in 'Culture' started by nautilus, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. nautilus

    nautilus Member

    Ahoj!, I've never been in CR yet, I met a Czech girl in Spain, she was friendly and very amusing, but she told me that Czech people are normally cold and serious. Do Czechs think like that about them selves?, how do you describe Czech character?
  2. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Czechs do tend to be more standoff-ish (even perhaps mistrustful) towards people they just met, in comparison to Americans at least. In this sense, perhaps Czechs are more cold and serious. However, once you get to know a Czech better, they open up typically even more so than Americans. See the thread Czech vs American 'Personal Space'.
  3. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    I can see huge difference between using word "friend/friendship".

    When Czechs say "somebody I know", US/Can use word "friend".
    Americans/Canadians call "friend"anyone they just meet and treat them as such. They are muchmore casual in association with even strangers. Their homes are more open than Czech homes, their conversation and expression of feelings/likes/dislikes are much more open. They talk with everyone freely and friendly and make a friend in a minute, leaving and never seeing them again. Having so many people they call "friends" that Czech would not believe the numbers...., often not even knowing "friends" last name, if you would ask. They move more often during their lives and just replace their "friends" with new friends in new location. This is just general comparison.

    I am bi-cultural and I have "friends" on each continent. In CR I have friends I know and stay in touch for 45 years. In Canada I have full neighbourhood of "friends" we call friends and not know much about them - only that they are similar social status. We party, invite lots of "friends" and they invite us.....we are all friends... We move......and have new friends as they are friends of convenience - Canada/USA are very large countries.

    Even my newer Czech friends are more "intimate", more involved with us getting together on one to one and doing something together. Czech friends talk more and are more resourcefull. I would could say that they put more "heart" into friendship, but for that reason are more cautious and not as gregarious about it as we are.

    I can say that there clearly is a difference and many Czechs could be dissapointed with friend from our continent. Czechs are much more selective and take word "friend" much more seriously.
  4. calculations

    calculations Active Member

    I really think the degree of interaction between people well enough to call someone a friend varies between person to person. For example if I saw a friend at a store or some place and they were with one of their friends I didn't know and we all talked for a while, I wouldn't call the person I just met a friend... I would simply say I talked to them once and knew of them.

    I don't understand why Czechs would be so disgusted with us for having so many acquaintances though?
  5. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    Disgusted? Has anyone here expressed disgust? I'm sorry if you think so. This is a mere discussion about cultural differences. Mostly, I think, it's a matter of semantics. Where the Czechs say "znamy" (acquaintance) and "pritel" (friend), the Americans say "friend" and "good friend". Am I right?
  6. calculations

    calculations Active Member

    okay i guess disgusted was an exaggeration from what magan said
  7. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Calculations: I feel I know both cultures "intimately" after 60 years and this is my personal observation. Note that I am "insider". I don't think you would find this in dept topic in discussions between Czechs who would be familiar with their culture only. Therefore, this is not something we are "known for in CR" - so there is no general knowledge of our "personality".

    In many ways it is not only influenced by language, but by life/nation experiences. In general, generations Czechs stayed at the same address. On other hand almost all US/Can generations experienced starting in new area/country and can relate to feeling person has in that situation. Being
    friendlier, approach stranger with smile, comes much easier to them.

    Flying back and forth often, meeting people on both continents (and
    shopping there!!)......believe me, when in CR, I miss friendly chat and smiles of sales people, bus driver on city transportation or people walking their dogs on the street.... hundreds of smiles and waves by neighbours whose names I don't know.... I expect that and I give it freely too. Thus in no way I consider casual friendly behaviour as something negative.

    This is overview of both cultures and of course, very general and never ending topic, just like we can discuss differences in friendliness of people in South and North of US...or differences between Canadians and Americans....Moravians and Czechs........Czechs and Slovaks.... way too general, but still visible to one who spends enough time on both sides.

    This is website concentrating on Czech topics so we can only talk of behaviour of Czech general public in comparison with "Others" (and how wide term that is!!) - and how we see it. We have three groups of members here "Others" "Czechs" and "Bi-cultural(Czech/Others)".
    Hope to hear from "Czechs" if they see it same way as we do.

    There are other traits to discuss as "Envy", "motherhood/wife/sacrifice", "work ethics home and overseas" and differences are as various as peoples experiences in life, but still obvious to those who lived and experienced both cultures as almost equal parts of their life.
  8. nautilus

    nautilus Member

    Ahoj, I didn't want to say that Czech behavior to strangers was worst than ours, may be I'm in the opposite culture, spanish, are some times to much extrovert in our relationships with stranger. I've got a few friends here, who are introvert, and I think that they are more interesting than others. They are deeper in their relationships. To generalize is not a good way to define a whole culture. ( We only can generalize with Americans :D )
  9. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Yes, it was "generalization" about Canadians/Americans. But because I am Canadian, I can go on discussion about differences between Can.and our neighbours Amer. You on other hand can speak for Spain :lol: :lol: and of course, if others are reading it we can break it into regions ..... :D abd rest of the World. Yes, this is perfect example that whatever I write, is just personal observation - of one person. :D
  10. MarianCorwin

    MarianCorwin Member

    I'm from Memphis, so if you want Southern Hospitality they say we're the ones to come to! I feel like I have read SO many things about Czechs being somewhat standoffish, I have seen it on websites, in travel books etc etc. But does that mean that when I walk into a crowded room in Prague this summer, I'll have to approach people in order to make friends? Will I be looked at like a crazy person for saying "hey y'all" to a table of people that I am sitting near? :?I haven't ever been out of the country so I guess I just don't know what to expect. In America everyone talks about how people from the North, like Chicago, are rude comparred to the Southerners I've grown up around, but I did not find this to be true ... So maybe it's a person to person thing more than a cultural thing?
  11. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Re: sitting at the table - there is interesting thing about certain type of restaurants. If place is filled and you see that there are empty chairs at some table, you can ask if seats are taken and then sit with them. I think it is really weird to eat dinner with another couple of strangers just saying hello - and goodbye and minding your own business in-between. I sure would hate to go on dinner date and have two old biddies sit with us. Custom stems from the time when people went actually to eat - not for "entertainment" like we do in West. We did same last summer and ended up with fellow Canadians and had great evening exchanging tips on where to go what to see and tales of our travels. WE also had many "silent" dinners with Czechs (me spying on what they are saying not being sure if we can understand what they are saying.....with us speaking English also very carefully as we did not know if they understand what we are talking about).

    Yes.....I am sure you will have to say hello, if you want to talk to someone (hoping that they will understand English). From my observation we definitely (in general again) wear much bigger smile (even if we are sales clerks by occupation). We are much more excitable as to "being friendly".........They think it is fake - we know it is real - just look at your picture :lol: :lol: So, you would just have to flush those teeth often and hope that you meet nice people. And there is lot of nice people in CR.
  12. MarianCorwin

    MarianCorwin Member

    Thanks :D I hope that I meet lots of great people, czech, canadian, or otherwise!
  13. John Rihacek

    John Rihacek Active Member

    To all:

    I have to agree that Czechs can be mistrustful toward new people and outsiders. My Czech relatives being New Yorkers and living through the
    American Depression of 1929 forward were quite guarded.

    Other than my grandmother, I do not recall any hugging between the male
    relatives. However, they did have a great sense of humor and reflect on
    the ironies of life.

    Given that the Czech nation came out of 70 years of at first German, and
    then Russian oppression the tendency to be careful is understandable.

    I have read the other posts, and they are familiar to me.

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