Behavior and Etiquette: Summary

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Hierarchy pervades every part of Pakistani society, and prescribes appropriate behavior according to age, sex, and social status. The elderly are treated with the highest respect, and are seen as head of the household who will make the best decisions for the whole family.

Hospitality is an integral part of Pakistani society and includes generosity of food, relationship building, and polite gestures of hand shaking and small talk upon meeting. Friendliness between males is appropriate, but remember it is not appropriate towards women (unless you are women). Social practices includes eating communally on the floor, waiting for elders, greeting elders first, standing when someone enters the room to be able to greet them, removing shoes upon entering a building, and using the right hand for every public function. Physical gestures like pointing, using the middle finger, doing the thumbs up or "OK" gestures are seen as offensive. Standing in close contact with others, talking in a circular fashion, and directing comments to the whole group is the norm. Discussions regarding politics, religion, females should be avoided as well as any action or speech which criticizes a Pakistani person. Remember, rushing a social encounter or business meeting will make the meeting unproductive as Pakistanis are more focused on relationship building rather than agendas. Keep in mind:

Back Behavior and Etiquette Next
| | Home | | Glossary | | End Notes | | Additional Resources | | Credits | |