I frequently get emails and comments from Brazilians letting me know that I've got it all wrong and that my perceptions are way off, I anticipate that this post may attract some attention of the sort. Try not to be offended. Most of these comments are very positive! Keep in mind that these are the results of a survey (which, by the way, I did not actually participate in!). I wanted to know what the expats think of the Cariocas they have come across. Specifically, I asked: Based on your encounters and experiences, what are your thoughts about Brazilians, or Cariocas? Are they friendly? All observations welcome!
Here is what the expats had to say:
- Based on only 5 months of living here I would say I have a split decision on this. Some Brazilians that I meet are friendl and willing to struggle through a conversation in rough Portuguese and others dont even try.
- I feel they are friendly and outgoing especially if you have a baby with you.
- God love em
- Warm, open, encouraging and with a commitment to joyfulness
- An incredible mix of people that create a culture that is vibrant, welcoming and exciting. I plan to retire here now. I keep a group of close friends in the US, but my friends in Rio have become more than 'friends' - they are family, and embrace me as such.
- Cariocas are very friendly once you get to know them. The trick is getting/having the opportunity to meet them.
- Friendly, helpful especially if i run into communication difficulties
- Very polite and helpful on the surface but rarely actually go the extra mile and develop true relationships. That may be due to the fact Rio is such a large city, so people are less patient with others sometimes and also that possible friends live so far away (especially through traffic) that it is hard to invest time in relationships. I think there is also a level of prestige through the city and closes people's minds to certain relationships, but hard to say.
- Brazilians are the friendliest people in the world by far!
- I have a 5-month old baby... YEAH, friendly! "Ay meu deus, que bonitinho, que coisa mais linda, que fofa," and then that psspsspsspsspss sound that drives him wild. Can't imagine a friendlier spot for a baby.
- they are very casual, a bit more than I wuld like; this translate on being late, talking a lot louder than other nationalities, not caring for lanes or lines, not being consider for the non-smoking ones,
- Sometimes, they need some time to warm up with foreigners but then they are very friendly and interested in the other.
- In general, they are friendly people and are very helpful. However, when making friends with them it's difficult. Many are so attached to their existing friends and especially family (most have never lived outside of Rio). They are quick to criticize anything about their own or other countries ( and are a very passive people and don't seem to protest), but get extremely defensive if you insult theirs.
- Generally Carioca's are friendly however they can interfering too.
- Extremely friendly and are happy to assist as I cannot speak their language.
- Very friendly and helpful, somewhat too relax and takes time
- Very friendly, in particular if you speak Portuguese.
- Cariocas are an incredible mixture of beeing very friendly, always helpful, most affectionate with kids, relaxed, easy with laughing, but at the same time beeing ignorant, selfish and not able to use the indicators when driving their car. Walking in the lowest pace ever seen, but for what ever reason always in a hurry when crossing the streets? Not able to let you through with your stroller in this tiny supermarket alleys and never punctual. But I love the hugging and kissing and that they always take their time to chat.
- outgoing, open, friendly, sometimes insincere, straightforward about your appearance, talkative, malandros, fun, arrogant, beautiful
- Cariocas are generally friendly and informal. They do lack what Europeans and North Americans would consider "common courtesy" of saying "excuse me" or "I'm sorry" for pushing through a crowd or bumping into someone. They also are extremely reluctant to acknowledge a mistake and would instead argue with you, offering one excuse after another. This can be quite frustrating, particularly in the service industry. Also, traffic is chaotic because of the "me first" attitude combined with ignorance of traffic rules. Otherwise, life is good in Rio!!
- Brazilians don't seem to like to do things on their own - they seem to like to do everything in groups. The wealthy seem to grow up thinking that no rules apply to them and there is always a way around things. Personal responsibility seems to be a totally foreign concept. The poor seem to work really hard and get nowhere and the rich seem to get richer. Yes, in general, Cariocas are friendly and appreciate smiles and chatting.
- Cariocas (who definitely are different than many other Brazilians) are extremely cordial and friendly but only on the surface. It is nearly impossible to develop a friendship with a Carioca.
- Friendly with the ones that are co-workers, not so friendly if you do not speak their language and that is understandable.
- Very friendly and helpful especially if you test your portuguese on them :-)
- Open minded, open hearted, well traveled, fun loving, bothered by the security issues of there beautiful city, very proud of Brazil, in-direct about embarassing or confrontation topics, ie they would never tell you that your zipper is open
- Generally very friendly, although they generally have a low grade of commitment. Once you're in the family, you're in and will be "adopted' much more than is likely in Europe or North-America.
- Very friendly but it is difficult to form great relationships because of the language barrier.
- very friendly, but language is a challenge
- Love Rio and for the most part people are very friendly.
- Cariocas have a basic "unawareness" of others. Not necessarily rude, but just completely unaware.
- Yes, very friendly and helpful. Also, those that I met and became friends with, still keep in touch now that I've returned home.
- friendly, but offer unsolicited advice
- Super friendly, not straigth to the point like we are used to in the US
- Very friendly. But from what I hear - Brazlilians does not equal Cariocas - who are (I was told) different. My Brazilian friend from Sao Paolo once told me: when Paulista suggests 'let's have a dinner soon' you can be sure he/she will call you next week to fix the date. When Carioca tells you the same.. you can be sure he/she will never call you...
- Yes, I would say they are mostly friendly. The ones who you know will
be very polite and thoughtful towards you, will invite you to their
homes, to go out and do things, they make you feel comfortable and
valued. They also will be quite honest with you, and sometimes might
even ask a favor, or pop in on you unexpected.
People on the street, just passing by are a little different. Some are kind and will help you if you drop something, etc. Yet there are others who instead of moving out of the way, will plow right into you (even if you are 8 months pregnant). The people who we know that work at the different stores and restaurants that we frequent are always very kind and talkative, know our names, make us feel like regulars. And as you know, having a child is a huge plus...everyone, really without exception, seems to adore young children. Even the some of the camelos at the beach who sell globo biscoitos or picoles, etc., some remember my son and always stop by to say hello and talk to him. Not to try to sell anything, but just to say "oi", a lot of them even remember his name (and his team of course). The sales people that work on commission at a lot of retail stores are annoying but try to be helpful.
Another thing is that Cariocas are very fun-loving. I have never seen so many sunrises in my life as I have living here...before child, we used to go out to the beach in the afternoon and meet friends, and then that would turn into a sundown drink somewhere, and that would lead to another place, and another...the endless "saideira" (the last one) and sometimes we just never made it home until the next morning, still in our beach attire... here it is SO diffficult to plan on what you should wear or bring...because you never know what a simple drink or beach day can end up being. They love to be spontaneous. They are are also uninhibited...they don't have the body issues that americans have. They are more at home in their skin. At the beach, everyone wears a bathing suit...no shorts or cover-ups...they are not shy about their bodies. And people are comfortable to dance or sing and not feel silly or embarassed. And they love to greet you warmly, with two kisses, sometimes a hug, holding your hands or putting arms around you...very warm, and so different from the US. Friends calls each other "amor"... I am still learning a lot from this, it took a while to relax, but it is a great thing.
Beauty/upkeep is a huge and annoying thing here too. Sometimes I wish I could just leave the house looking like crap but people just don't do that here. How you look, how you dress, how your nails are, really does matter here. On one hand, that is a good thing...but on the other, it is so much time and money and energy.
Interesting thing...I have met a great many Brasilians/Cariocas over the past 7 years (since my husband is Carioca and lived here his whole life) and one of the LAST things they want to discuss is what they do for a living or what you do for a living. I have no idea what a lot of relatives here and friends of friends do, simply because it is not talked about very much. People like to talk about anything...except work it seems. Work doesn't define "you".
One last thing to close...a funny observation. Living here, a least once or twice a day we get solicitors calling...usually from a company or place that we use or deal with. It is annoying. However, if my husband answers the phone, he will sit on the phone for 10 minutes, just listening to the pitch...too polite to hang up. I see this with friends and inlaws too, they don't want to be rude to these phone solicitors. Where I say "nao posso falar agora" and hang up... most people will talk to them, even on their cell phones when they are paying money for the incoming call. It is funny.
Ahh, must add, I did live in the North East of Brasil (Fortaleza) for 4 months a few years ago. The people there are nowhere as nice and fun as the Carioca's...there is no comparison. Life in Rio is better and people are lighter and happier.
- Friendly until they get behind the wheel!
- Nice but immature, meaning that as a society cariocas seem to have stopped developing socially as teenagers. I know that is a bit critical, but.....To interested in the superficials to have a meaningful conversation.
- Extremely friend and nice although not very punctual (punctuality is a bigger issue in Rio than in the rest of the country although be on time is not very popular anywhere)
- They are extremely friendly and amazing with children. They are unreliable socially - they either don't turn up or turn up very late with no notice. They are open-minded and helpful. They are very body conscientious!
- Friendly, lovely people on a superficial basis. Very different to Europeans, so hard to know on a deeper basis. Terrible drivers.
- Friendly, polite, helpful
- I thought they were very friendly and excited to share their culture with me.
Another question I asked was in regards to how many Brazilian friends each expat had made. Brazilians tell me all the time that they are the friendliest people in the world, but the numbers suggest otherwise! Nearly 50% of people surveyed have been befriended by less than five Brazilians. 5% have not made any Brazilian friends at all. Note: if I had completed the survey, my response to the question about what surprised me most upon moving here would have been how few Brazilian friends we have. It still surprises me! I can relate to those who responded saying that the language barrier makes meeting Carioca's very difficult.