I think I can safely say that I was brought up “neatly”. I am polite to strangers and when I first go to visit somewhere. However, the Slovenes are generally very polite towards “strangers”, sometimes a bit too much in my opinion. “Exaggeration is a profession as well” I sometimes say 😉 (a Dutch expression). I have several examples of this over the years.

 Last week it happened again. We had asked people, that we just met and who had not been with us before, to come over for a cup of coffee. We had been chatting with this couple outside a few times already and because the other day it was quite cold, I asked them to come in. The first thing you notice is that you see them looking at each other a bit shocked and doubtful and the first reaction is “No, no, you are busy so don’t bother”. Then I had to assure them about 5 times that it is no trouble at all and that we have plenty of time and also need a break ourselves. They then came along reluctantly. Bine first showed them the cellar and, as befits Slovenian tradition here, he handed them a can of beer right there, outside. So the three of them were outside, chatting and drinking beer.

In the meantime, I had cut some sausage, cheese, and bread inside to put on the table. I walked out to ask them in and again, all kinds of things were suggested not to have to go in. They had dirty shoes that they didn’t want to take off, etc. I told them about 20 times that they don’t have to take their shoes off (because we have a vacuum cleaner, broom, and mop) but then when they finally came in after I insisted a few more times, of course, they took off their shoes anyway!

Well, so then they were inside. But then they just kept standing there instead of sitting down as I had offered them to do. Again, I had to tell them several times to go and sit down at the table before they finally did. They both wanted a cup of coffee and that was quickly made. I put the food on the table and immediately got a »comment« again that none of that was necessary. Now Bine and I were already hungry for something to eat, so we were waiting for our guests to take something. But that did not happen. In the end, I decided to be the first to take something myself and again told them to take something too. It took at least another 10 minutes and three or so »cheering on’s« before they finally took a piece of bread.

This behavior is certainly not strange to me here and I find it very tiring and quite frankly, also quite annoying. I also wonder where it comes from. Because among themselves Slovenians are very social and love to eat and drink and get together. But at such a moment they suddenly become overly modest and polite. Some of you who live here or visit more often will undoubtedly recognize this. How do you deal with this? Maybe some Slovene that reads this could give me some inside?

Fortunately, they are not all like that, but it is something I encounter regularly. Does anyone know whether this is also the case in other countries? Perhaps for me, being Dutch, this strange, but is it something that also occurs in other countries. Please let me know!

In the summer it will be easier again because then we can sit outside and the threshold is apparently a bit lower. So we just have to wait a little while longer …… 🙂



  1. This past year and a half my husband and I have started watching a lot of travel videos, and are picking up on cultural differences among different areas. I don’t know why these folks felt so uncomfortable, but they did. When people invite me in and ask me to sit down, I usually do, even if others are reluctant. Part of their hesitance might have come from just not being used to such spontaneous hospitality, and the feeling that they were putting you out in some way.
    I know that I am not as gracious as you, but I am always willing for a good talk. Again, I think it’s cultural, and maybe the idea that my home is a refuge from a lot of the craziness I see and read about daily. Also, my social circle is spread out, and not really very big. I would love to change that, and actually had planned to for my last birthday (65), and then Covid hit, and that put an end to that. Maybe next year!
    Anyway, I think maybe it came from not much experience with such ready welcoming, and a desire not to put you out. Though, I will say that their reluctance seems maybe a bit extreme.

    • Hi there, thanks for your comment! Yes, you are right, it is cultural. People generally do not go into each other’s homes here but usually get together outside or in the garage. This case, that I was talking about was pretty extreme though ;). If you are ever in our neighborhood, feel free to come over for a cup of coffee :D.

  2. Hello Arlette, I am writing to you from Canada. We will be looking for a property around Krka river and would love to meet up with you when on this expedition. Just to chat about the environment, social life, amenities. I am by birth Slovenian with Canadian husband. We may not get there intil November though but I shall stay for about 4 months to find a property.

    Regards from Ottawa


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