January 10, 2008

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

Is there any particular etiquette that you need to observe when trying to make friends with Brazilians?… is it just pot luck, like friendships generally, or are there some rules and regulations?


Dear Niki,

I kept wandering but i couldn’t think about any rules or regulations for making friends in Brazil. And maybe there are some, specially for gringoes, if not rules tips.

Speaking Portuguese! A Brazilian friend commonly comes with a group of friends. I don’t think you ‘have’ to speak Portuguese to make a friend but to be entertained in a Brazilian group you might need it.
Generally many stupid jokes are going on and they won’t be translated, or funny.

Recently I was with a friend, a gringo, and 20 other Brazilians on a trip. The guy was really happy because he never met so many people in his life. He was collecting e-mails and cell phone numbers, and was very content.

Then I wished I could warn him that most people will never write back or call. A Brazilian group of friends are big but closed. Most don’t seem interested in making new friends. I know it sounds stupid; it is stupid, but ‘generally’ that’s how it is. Anyways, if you can’t fit in a group, then one real friend is much better.

Paz e Amor for 2008, Niki!

Vanessa T. Bauer

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous questions in this article series:

Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

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