Mexican customs and etiquette
One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to understanding Mexican culture has to do with the importance placed on family ties. The differences between immediate and extended family are often blurred, and yet the roles of the different family members are clearly outlined.
This factor is applicable in a wider context, as in Mexican society most interpersonal relationships are marked by a strong sense of hierarchy. As a result, people who are considered figures of authority are highly respected, and this includes doctors, professionals with a higher education degree, teachers, and religious leaders.
It is also important to note that the use of courtesy titles is commonplace and that first names are only used with family members or close friends. If in doubt, it is wise to address a Mexican person with "señor" (Mr), "señora" (Mrs),"señorita" (Miss), "doctor", "profesor", "ingeniero" (engineer), or the relevant professional title. The term "licenciado" (which refers to someone with a university degree) is loosely used in Mexican culture and does not necessarily imply that someone has graduated, but rather that someone is considered a professional in their field.
A handshake is customary when introduced to a Mexican person for the first time, and this applies to both men and women. Women who have been previously introduced may kiss each other on the right cheek.
Status plays an important role in personal relationships, and many Mexicans attach significance to proper attire and to the use of good-quality accessories, like watches, shoes, or handbags. Generally speaking, the dress code is more conservative than in the UK, and revealing or tight-fitting clothes might be frowned upon.
One of the main cultural differences to take into account is related to personal space. In Mexican culture it is acceptable to stand very close to (and even touch) your interlocutor. In addition, personal questions that would be considered risqué in British culture may be asked by your Mexican acquaintances.
Lastly, when it comes to gift-giving, avoid giving yellow flowers, as these are associated with the zempachuli flower, a symbol of the Mexican Day of the Dead.
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