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Social Customs & Etiquettes in Trinidad & Tobago
 
 
 

General

While class and ethnic differences matter, as do contexts, sociability and gregariousness are generally highly valued. Business settings require more subdued behaviour, but it is not considered good form to talk about one's work endlessly at cocktail parties. Middle-class men receive status for offering their comrades imported Scotch whiskey. Hospitality is important and entertaining is commonly done at home.

In general, punctuality is not expected. "Trinidad time" refers to habitual lateness and "jus' now" means "in a little while" but in practice can mean hours. Trinidadians and Tobagonians are not known to be punctual in social situations and this is often considered to be a cultural trait usually viewed with exasperated humour.

On city streets it is common for men to verbally harass women and women generally lose status if they reply. In country districts, it is expected that one salutes passers by with a "good morning" or "good afternoon". Similarly, one should begin phone conversations, address fellow passengers upon entering a taxi, and address occupants when entering a room or a home with a "good morning", "good afternoon" or "good night".

Avoid cursing/using foul language as it is considered a criminal offence.

Meeting & Greeting

In a casual setting, men often offer a simple nod of acknowledgment with other men. In a more formal setting, men will shake hands.

As for greetings between women, they usually greet each other with a "hello", and depending on the level of familiarity will sometimes kiss each other on the cheek or exchange hugs. In a more formal setting, women will usually shake hands.

In a casual setting, greetings between the two sexes are usually a verbal greeting and/or a simple nod of acknowledgment is common. In a more formal setting, a handshake is common. Good friends and family may exchange a kiss on the cheek.

Communication Style

Trinidadians and Tobagonians tend to be very direct and to the point but often soften the impact of any criticism with a self-deprecating joke.

An arms length of personal space is common in most cases of formal and informal interaction. Trinidadians and Tobagonians do not tend to be very “touchy and openly affectionate” people by nature.

The level of touching will usually vary according to age, gender, relationship, nature of conversation etc. Direct eye contact is considered acceptable in most every situation.

Gift Giving Etiquette

Trinidadians and Tobagonians can be extremely friendly and hospitable; especially with guests who share a common religion with them. Be sure to bring small gifts to show your appreciation, as some visitors who had no intention of visiting or staying with locals end up doing so anyway. Gifts are usually opened in private and only very personal items are considered unacceptable.

Gender Issues

Gender equality has been established in most instances and most women juggle roles as wives, mothers and working women.

Women hold some of the highest offices in the land and are found in engineering and the medical and legal professions. They are also driving cabs, building skyscrapers and cleaning drains and heading single parent homes.

 

 
 

 



 


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