While I was reading about the russian culture I was really surprised when I found out that russians don’t smile.
While in western countries smiling is a sign of politeness, in Russia, no smile is the sign of neutral politeness. A smile is always informative, a smile is always personal. To smile politely seems very artificial to them. They like a sincere, good-nature smile, as a proof of our personal affection to other persons.
The smile should come from the heart. It has to mean something deeper. The smile is meant to be shared with friends and relatives. Smile at strangers is interpreted as a sign of insanity. Just because they don’t smile all the time this does not mean they are unhappy.
Be aware that even Russian waiters and store clerks don’t usually smile. For russians there is a time to smile and laugh, and a time to work.
There’s something poetic about it. It made me think about my own behaviour towards smiles. There’s a lot of insincere smiles here in Brazil. We smile a lot and it doesn’t mean anything. Brazilians will politely smile at you face and stab you at your back.
This is a very useful information to know before get there otherwise I could misunderstood russian people by sad depressed people.
“Смех без причины – признак дурачины”
“To laugh without any reason is a sign of stupidity”
Knowing this I will save my smiles for the photos!