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Serbian Manners and Customs

Here are a few useful tips for situations when meeting or being around Serbian people.

When meeting someone for the first time, in formal situations, make eye contact, shake hands, say your surname followed by a "Drago mi je" (Dra-goh mee ye) ("Pleased to meet you"). This should impress your host and you can continue in English.

In less formal situations, such as among a younger crowd, you would use your first name instead of the surname. If meeting people you already know, a brief "Ciao" or "Zdravo" or even "Gde see" will do. A light kiss in the cheak is also common between girls and opposite sexes. Kissing among men only happens among good friends and always three times on alternating cheeks.

When going out for drinks the bill is usually payed in rounds or split very roughly among everybody at the end, but don't be surprised if the bill has already been payed for. If you're invited for dinner, your host will pay for the whole bill. But if going out with friends the bill is usually split in equal parts. If in doubt, it's best to ask.

Smoking is very common in Serbia, if offered a cigarette treat it as an act of courtesy and take the cigarette (if you smoke of course).

If you're invited to someone's home for dinner or slava, bring along a symbolic gift such as a bottle of wine and/or flowers.

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