11 Things You Should NOT Do in Spain!


– What are the 11 things that you should not do in Spain? Today we’re covering those
unwritten social rules that I’ve learned the hard
way so you don’t need to. (speaks foreign language) Let’s go! (Spanish guitar music) – Hey guys I’m James Blick. – And I’m Yolanda Martin. – And welcome to Spain Revealed. This channel’s all about helping you explore Spain like a local. And look, Spain is a
pretty easygoing place, but in the eight years I’ve been here there’s a number of
things that I’ve learned, a number of rules that I’ve learned, with your help Yoly, that are
things that you just don’t do. They’re what we would
call social faux pas. – And the things that if you keep in mind, you will be a bit more in sync with the locals when you’re here. – And so we’re gonna count down from 11. We’re gonna go through the
rules that I’ve learned. In each case I’m gonna state the rule, and I’m gonna get your take on it Yoly. – And stick around until the end, because number one is really important. – Okay, rule number 11. Here in Spain we don’t
say thank you and please, gracias and por favor constantly. When I first moved here, I felt like I was saying it all the time, because in English we do say
thank you and please a lot. When we’re in shops, when we’re you know, in our constant day-to-day
interactions with people, we’re constantly using those words. But here in Spain, I just
had this weird feeling that I was saying it too much. And so, how does that work here Yoly? – I think it’s a matter of tone, you know, so you imply
the thanks or the please a little bit more in the way we speak. So, you know for example,
at a bar you’re going to say (speaks in foreign language) So that’s more like you know, can you pour me a beer when you can? So, you know by– – And was there a little
rise in inflection there. – Yeah, there’s like that kind of, like a nice sort of
inflection of the voice. And also, yeah and in that ito, you know, meaning like
a term of endearment. So, instead of (speaks
in foreign language) you say (speaks in foreign language). – So a little diminutive. – Yes exactly! Which kind of eases
everything a little bit. – It softens it. Yeah, so instead of using the words please and thank you constantly, it’s like, it’s interesting how you are building into the language,
and into the tone, those kind of social cues. And that is really hard
for a new Spanish speaker. I know for me, I still tend to, if I don’t think I can get the tone right, maybe there is a lot of noise, and I can’t quite get it right, I will use (speaks in foreign language), just to kinda make sure
that I’m not being impolite. I know that there’s been times
when I have not used them, and you’ve said “Oh, you didn’t
quite get the tone right, it sounded like a command.” – But I mean, it is allowed to say (speaks in foreign language) you know, so you want to
really, yeah, make it clear, then go ahead, say (speaks
in foreign language). – Exactly.
Okay rule number 10. When you’re eating at a Spanish table, don’t put your bread on your plate. This was really interesting
when I first moved here, because we use bread constantly here. You know, bread is used to mop up food and to push things onto your fork, but I would often have a piece of bread, and everybody has a piece of
bread while they’re eating. And I would find a spot on my plate, but we don’t do that here right? – No it’s more, I guess
that bread is considered a utensil as well, in a way, so, you put it next to
your knife and fork. Also, if you put it on your
plate, it might get soggy, so you don’t want to be
then using your hands to pick out the bread and soak the things, and it’s all soggy. – It’s interesting, and
I love how in the end, the fact that we don’t
put bread on the plate actually reflects the root of that, is how we use bread differently here. They say we use it as an utensil, I think that’s very cool. I love it because it feels very medieval, to have your big chunk of bread sitting right on your table. So, I think it’s really fun,
and something I really enjoy. So, rule number nine. And it’s another eating one,
eating ones are fascinating, and that is, you shouldn’t
have either of your hands under the table when you’re eating. I grew up being told off for
having my elbows on the table, and you’re not allowed
to do that here either. – No, no, no. – But there’s this extra
one that didn’t exist in New Zealand, of not
having one of your hands under the table while you’re eating, and you tell me off for this
quite often, because I forget. So what is this rule all about? – Yeah, I mean, I have no idea why it is. I was told once that it
might be just to make sure that you don’t have a
knife under the table, that you might stab me. More back to medieval times– – So much trust in our relationship. – It’s true that I feel kind of weird if I have someone that is kind of eating, and their hand is there. It’s like, just show yourself there. It’s very cultural I
guess, I have that feeling. – There is something very
Spanish in that, I love it. It makes me conjures memories, think thoughts of the Spanish Inquisition. I might have a dagger under the table or something like that. But I think that, when we think about, and I believe this is the case, the root of why we shake hands, is to show that you don’t have a weapon, to kind of reveal yourself to someone. And I think it’s probably the same thing. You let us know in the comments if that exists in any other
country where you’re watching, ’cause I’m really curious about that one. But remember, keep your
hands above the table! Okay, rule number eight. If someone comes to your house at about 5:00 p.m.,
don’t offer them a drink, a beer or a glass of wine. And so, what happened here,
and I really remember this when we first moved here, is
that a couple that we know, Diego and Sonya, they came over, and you were talking to
Sonya I’m not sure but, Diego, I offered him a
beer, and it was five p.m., and he was like, I don’t want a beer, I want a cafe con leche. And I was like, oh, of course, it’s like, too early to have a beer. But, in New Zealand you
would offer someone a beer if they came over at five p.m. So, unpack this a little bit for us. – Yeah so, you know in the
end, we have lunch later, we have dinner later, so of course beer o’clock is not five p.m. it’s like eight p.m., nine p.m. usually. So we do delay the time of having a beer. – I really like that way of thinking about beer o’clock is not at five p.m. Beer o’clock is eight p.m. in Spain. That’s very, very cool. He had his cafe con leche,
I quickly put the beer back in the fridge and grabbed the– – Felt embarrassed. – Felt like an alcholic and made coffee, I didn’t have a beer even
though I was ready for one, we’d just moved here. And so, what happened is,
he did have a beer later, but he just needed his cup of
coffee and things like that. Okay, rule number seven. When you go to someone’s house for dinner, or a party, you don’t stay
behind to help with the dishes. Now, I’m curious about this one because, maybe it was just the time we
were living in New Zealand, or something about our circle of friends, so I’m really keen to hear your thoughts. In New Zealand I felt like
you would sort of stay behind and help with the dishes or help tidy up, but here, I remember
being really surprised that once the party’s over,
once the dinner party’s over, you just leave, you’re out. – I’m out. – Which is great if
you’re at someone’s house, and terrible if they’re at your house. So, is there something here Yoly? – I would say that a
little bit of tidying up is allowed and thanked for, so yeah, people might get up and
they take the dishes to the kitchen and stuff like that. But then to go as far as to
actually doing the dishes, that is a little bit much. I don’t think a lot of
people do that here in Spain. – So something to keep in mind, because, if maybe you said
to your Spanish hosts, hey, I’ll stay behind and do the dishes, how would that make them feel? – I saw your face
– You know just go away, now. Give me a break. I already had you for
like three, four hours. – Let us know in the comments, do you stay behind and do the dishes when you go to friend’s houses for dinner? Okay rule number six,
and this is another one about social situations. You know, you’re not gonna do the dishes, but the other thing is,
when you go into a party for example, often in English,
at least in New Zealand, I think the culture is, and
I suspect in the states, in the UK, one of the first questions you will ask people is, what their job is. You know, oh, so what do you do? And that’s kind of a safe
way to start a conversation. But if you said here in Spain, (speaks in foreign language) What’s your job? How would that be for a Spaniard? – Yeah well, it’s definitely
not the first question that you’ll ask, you know? We tend to you know, we’re socializing, we’re like having fun, so usually, unless you’re really
passionate about your work, you don’t talk about work
straight away like that. Maybe, if it’s relevant at some point, you’re talking about what
you do in your day-to-day, then, yes maybe you’re
going to say what do you do? But, other than that, yeah, usually you don’t get straight there, no. – Yeah, it’s almost a bit
pesado, would you say? – Yes, a little bit pesado. – It’s a great word, pesado. Pesado means to be intense,
and so I think sometimes in social situations in Spain, I found that I could come
across as a bit pesado. Because I will come in and I will be like, hey what’s your job? And it’s like whoa, back off! – I’m having fun here. – Exactly, let’s kinda
ease into the conversation. And it’s a little bit like more (speaks in foreign language) How’s it going? and you work towards it.
– Yeah – Another thing you often
catch me out on Yoly, is that somebody, a Spanish speaker, would be telling a story, and
I will ask them what happened while they’re still in
the middle of the story. it’s almost like I expect
them to cut to the chase. – You want a conclusion really fast, yeah. – And maybe that’s a difference between English and
Spanish, that in English, do we cut to the chase faster sometimes? – I reckon, yeah, so, the
conversational style is different I think in Spanish. – The person telling the story
will take longer to get there they will kind of build
– Going around in circles. – to the conclusion and
almost circle the story, coming closer and closer
to the conclusion. Where as, I’m expecting
it to go like that, And Yoly’s told me off after parties, like, “You’ve got to give people
time to tell their story.” – Sounds like I’m always telling you off. – it’s true! Yoly is not
always telling me off, I want to make that clear. You’re always helping me understand this wonderful culture. So, rule number five. Don’t be surprised if
people raise their voices. So when we first started going out and I would hear you call your mother, I didn’t speak Spanish, so I didn’t understand
what you were saying, but it sounded like you were arguing the whole time with her. – Which I probably was anyway. – You weren’t arguing the way I thought it sounded like you were arguing. There’s this certain
kind of intensity often that you can get into
in Spanish conversation that sounds very heated,
but it’s not necessarily. Is that correct, do you think? – I reckon, yeah. And also, we do have a
louder way of speaking, I do think that we speak loud, so yeah, that might be also sometimes
kind of confused with, Oh are they having an argument. – Totally, whereas I feel
like my conversations with my mother, if they
had that same tone, or that same kind of level, I would hang up and think
“I think we just had–” – (Laughs) I know what you mean – I would just feel terrible. So I think that, yeah,
just don’t be surprised when you’re hearing that, and don’t assume that it’s
necessarily an argument. It may sound heated, but
it’s not necessarily, so that’s just something
important so you don’t misread a situation. Rule number four, don’t
generalize about Spain. – Which is something that
we’re doing right now. – Which, exactly, is something
we’re doing right now. And, it’s actually something
I get a lot of comments about in the comment section of the videos. I’ll make certain statements, or we will make statements
in these videos, and people will say, “Yeah, but that’s something
that happens in Madrid.”, “That doesn’t happen in Galicia.”, “That doesn’t happen in Catalonia”. And I think, this is obviously a country, but, it’s easy from the outside to see it a little more simply–
– Yeah. – than maybe, someone
inside the country sees it. So, tell us a little about that Yoly. – I think that people
here feel very passionate about their region. You know, so even the village
where their parents came from. Yeah, I think the regionality, you need to look at Spain like
as a really regional country. It’s very important to be aware of that, you know, not making a
lot of generalizations about the food, the
culture, the habits, yeah. – Exactly, because you
might talk about flamenco, now, there’s not a lot of
flamenco in Galicia for example. It’s not a traditional art form out there, whereas it is in Andalusia. Now there may be a flamenco show up there, potentially for tourists
and there’s people who love flamenco in Galicia, for example. But, I think you have to be careful about these generalizations, and as you say with food as well. Like, paella is not from all of Spain. And so, I just think it’s important to kind of educate yourself
a little bit about that, because, if you were
speaking to a Spaniard, and you made certain
generalizations about Spain, you might not show yourself
to be as culturally aware. And if you show yourself
to be a little more culturally aware, then I think
that will be appreciated. – Yeah – Okay rule number three. If you’re traveling in Barcelona
or you’re in Catalonia, do not call Catalan, a dialect of Spanish. It’s its own language. And this is a trap I see
a lot of people fall into. Because, it could, from the outside potentially look a little similar, right? – Yeah, exactly, not quite
a language, but it is! It is a language and a
co-official language in Spain, as well as other languages in Spain. Yes, spoken by fewer people, of course then Castilian or Spanish. But yeah, definitely
co-official and a language. – Exactly and I think, also
something, a little tip, that is kinda complex, but let’s see if I can
simplify it a little bit. Particularly when I’m
traveling around Spain, and there’s other languages spoken, whether it’s Galician
or whether it’s Basque, I’m mindful of when I talk about Espanol, like Spanish language,
I call it Castellano, because it’s a little more
specific because, potentially, and tell me if I’m right here, Yoly, that if I am speaking to
somebody who is in Galicia or is in Catalonia, and I call
Castellano, Spanish, Espanol. I’m almost saying that, their language is not a Spanish language. There can be some
sensibilities around that. – Yeah, yeah. Especially when compared with the other co-official languages, yeah definitely, so yeah
something to keep in mind. – Yeah, so I prefer to say Castellano. Now, Espanol, I believe is an
official term for Castellano. – Both, yes so Espanol and
Castellano mean the same, pretty much. – So I’m sure I’m gonna
get some comments there on that one but– – Go ahead – Exactly, go ahead, I mean, educate us, let me know if I got
this a little bit wrong. But I prefer the err of the side of saying Castellano when I’m
speaking about Castilian as a language. Rule number two, and it’s
another language one. And this one is, don’t use “usted” the formal form of
saying you, willy nilly. Don’t go crazy with that. I know having learned French, I would use it all the time
– Yeah. – Because in French you are
more likely to use the formal way to address people, but
here it’s really reduced. So, how does this work Yoly? When would we you “tu”, and
when would we use “usted”? – I reckon we use “usted”
for really formal situations. So, if you’re meeting a teacher
or something that there is really like an upper sort of level. – Someone older, a lot older. – Someone older, yeah
totally, someone older like maybe like 80 years old and up. – The only time I really use
“usted” is when I’m offering to help an old lady or
old man on the metro. – (laughs) Yeah, exactly. – It literally is the
only time that I use it. (speaks in foreign language) – Exactly (speaks in foreign language) and I get really excited because it’s a great chance to use it. I also want to help them,
but you would use it if you met the king, you would use it with someone
who is a lot older than you. – Yeah – Or in a lot more formal capacity, but apart from that,
it’s “tu” all the way, the informality.
– Yeah I guess so. – Okay, rule number one. The most important one, you could say, or just something that’s really complex, and you have to be pretty aware of. And that’s when you’re talking to people, don’t get into the Spanish civil war, or the dictatorship unless
you know them pretty well. It’s just, it’s such a complex
issue, still in this country. It’s an open wound in a lot of ways, and people’s families
were wrapped up in it in a lot of different ways. So I think you just have
to be really careful before you launch into it. It’s a fascinating subject.
and one that’s so important, and interesting to learn
about, and know more about, but I think you just have
to be, as I say, careful before diving in. So, help us understand
this a little bit, Yoly. – So, I’d say two things here. First is, right after the civil war, we had a dictatorship
that lasted for 40 years. So during those 40 years, you weren’t really allowed to speak freely about the civil war you know? So there was oppression,
there was censorship. So, the subject wasn’t closed
off after the war finished. – Okay so, given that
it wasn’t closed off, it’s sort of like there wasn’t
a national understanding of what happened.
– What happened, yeah. – Or, what the country
believes or agrees on. – Exactly. There’s no agreement yet. – Exactly, so if you dive into it, if it was closed off and dealt with, then everybody would
sorta be on the same page. And I think that’s the point, so I think it’s a really, really good way of understanding it, what
was the second point? – I would say that, also, we’re
talking about a civil war, that’s one of the worst things
that can happen to a country. So we’re talking about
families being broken up, villages that are split,
cousins killing each other. I mean really, really sad stuff. So it’s hard, to talk about
an event like that, of course. – Exactly, and people might
have certain views now, but their family back then
might have had different views. And there can be conflict within families or had been conflict within families. So I just think, yeah,
it’s a fascinating subject to learn about and talk about, but just be a little
careful before you dive in. I would love to know your thoughts on what you think, about
speaking about the civil war with people. So do let us know in the comments. Because it’s a really
important topic here in Spain. I hope these 11 rules have
been really helpful for you. Please let us know the
ones that we’ve missed, let us know in the comments below. – Thanks for coming into our home. – And subscribe to the channel if you’d like to learn
more about exploring Spain like a local. And, we’ll see you in the next video. – [Both] Hasta luego!
– Ciao!

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