Do's and Don'ts in Jordan

Jordan Etiquette Tips

Jordan is known for being a fairly liberal Middle Eastern country. Some parts of Jordan are very Western and cosmopolitan. However, Jordanians have a deep respect for their King and Islam, and are conservative in many ways. Below is a list of Jordanian etiquette tips to help you out!

1. Dress Attire

  1. DO dress modestly. Men should wear a suit and tie; women should wear a dress.
  2. DO dress more on the conservative side in general. Jordan is one of the more liberal Middle Eastern countries and Amman is a modern and cosmopolitan city, but it's still better to dress somewhat modestly.
  3. DO dress more conservatively if visiting a mosque.

2. Table Manners

  1. DO understand that sometimes men and women will dine separately if you are invited to the home of someone who is more traditional. However, in most restaurants and business situations men and women will dine together.
  2. DO try to avoid eating with your left hand.
  3. DO understand that meals will usually start with mezza, which are shared appetizers eaten with bread. People will either take what they want and put it on their own plates, or dip the bread into the mezza plates.
  4. DO note that people will smoke an argeeleh, or a water pipe, filled with fruit-flavored tobacco, before a meal. Sometimes it will also be smoked at the end of the meal, but it's more common to smoke it beforehand.
  5. DO remember that many Arabs do not drink alcohol.
  6. DO try to eat everything on your plate, although if you are served
    something that you don't like, it's acceptable not to eat it.

3. Tipping

  1. DO tip about 10%-15% in restaurants if a service charge hasn't been added to the bill.
  2. DO round up when paying a taxi driver.

4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DON'T give alcohol unless you are certain that the receipient drinks.

5. Greetings

  1. DO shake hands upon meeting someone. However, do note that some Muslim women might not wish to shake hands with men. Because of this, wait for a woman to initiate a handshake.
    Western women may shake hands with everyone, but do understand that some conservative Muslim men might find it inappropriate.
  2. DO stand when someone enters the room and when they are introduced.

6. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO check to see if your host is wearing shoes. If not, offer to remove your shoes.
  2. DO be careful if complimenting your host's belongings. They might feel like they have to give you the item you are complimenting.

7. Business Meetings

  1. DO try to have a local contact to schedule business meetings. It will probably save you time.
  2. DO understand that Jordanians are pretty laid back when it comes to appointments. Your Jordanian colleagues might be late or even cancel at the last minute. Confirm all appointments at least once!
  3. DO engage in small talk, but avoid making uninformed remarks about religion and politics.
  4. DO have brochures printed in color and on glossy paper. It's considered standard in Jordan.

8. Taboos Etiquette

  1. DON'T say anything disrespectful about Islam, Jordan, or the King of Jordan.
  2. DON'T engage in public displays of affection. However, it's common for members of the same sex to hold hands, but it's just out of friendship.

9. Photo Etiquette

  1. DO be aware that some more religious people might find it inappropriate to take pictures of women.

Jordanians are very friendly people and as a foreigner, you won't be expected to remember all of the facets of their etiquette. Just bear the above in mind and try to behave on the conservative side. Above all, have a wonderful trip to Jordan!

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