Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Taarof

Think of it as Persia’s raquet sport. Here’s an example of a typical point:

Player 1: (serving) May I offer you some tea?

Player 2: (receiver, really wants the tea) Oh, no thank you!

Player 1: No, really, it’s no trouble.

Player 2: That’s okay, I’m fine.

Player 1: But I insist.

Player 2: Well, if you insist.

Who wins the point? Can they both win and lose? Wikipedia’s article on taarof contains the following excerpt:

It is a way of denying your will to please your counterpart, however the will is only denied because of the custom and not to please the counterpart. But there are situations where tarof persist upon a request to make the counterpart genuinely satisfied. Tarof often causes misunderstandings between both parties and is a source for awkward situations in a social setting.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s