What are Iranians like?

Iranians are very generous, hospitable, warm and friendly. If you happen to need to ask for directions, you can be sure that just by smiling and saying hello (salam) to someone on the street they will go out of their way to help and even might invite you to their home for dinner.

Iranians love to broaden their knowledge of other lands and understand other cultures so be ready for their curiosity and questions. In turn they will always be open to answering your questions!

If you happen to make friends in Iran and are invited to their home please remember that it is not expected of you to bring any gifts but if you buy some flowers, sweets or pastries on the way it will be considered an indication of your politeness and appreciated by your host. Please remember to remove your shoes before entering an Iranian home unless your host instructs you otherwise.

Iranians will use formal Persian to address others whom they have just met, so instead of using the informal ‘to’ to say you they will use ‘Shoma.’ When addressing those who are not immediate family or close friends, Iranians will use the titles Agha (Mr.) or Khanoom (Ms./Mrs./ Miss) before or after a person’s name.

Another cultural trait you must know about Iranians is tarof, which is a form of Persian etiquette. For example when you go to a shop, the shopkeeper may refuse to quote a price for a few times or at the end of a cab ride, the driver may initially refuse to quote the fare. Just remember that most people offer three times / refuse three times before taking what they want. Don’t worry you will get the hang of it!

Common tarof expressions:

Ghabeli nadare (It has no worth) = It's not a big deal.

Naghabele (It is unworthy) = It’s not a big deal. (This is used when Iranians want to give a gift.)

Ghorbanet beram (I will sacrifice myself for you) = Thank you very much.

Khahesh mikonam (I plead with you) = You are welcome.

Mehman ma /man bashid (Be my guest)= Be my guest. (This is what you will hear when someone refuses to take your money for a service they have rendered.)

Daste shoma dard nakoneh (I hope your hand doesn't hurt) = Polite thank you. (This is used when you are accepting something you are offered.)

Gol poshto ru nadare, (A flower has no front or back) = Its ok! (This is the response when someone apologizes for having their back to you.)