Mexican culture can often be very difficult for Americans to understand. Their way of life is decidedly more relaxed than the rushed approach we are accustomed to in the United States. Mexican people are typically not as defined by the constraints of time, and the more relaxed way of life they enjoy reflects this. This way of life should be considered when planning meetings in Mexico. It is a necessity for many Mexicans to know who you are as a person before they decide that they want to do business with you.

The view of life in Mexico is substantially different from that in the United States. While the mentality in America is that time is a commodity that should not be wasted, Mexicans view time as more of a gift of life. If a speaker at an event goes over the time allotted them, Americans become impatient with them. Mexicans, on the other hand, feel like they have gotten added value out of the encounter.

What Are Some Important Aspects of Mexican Culture?

There are many aspects to Mexican culture that are confusing to Americans. The most important aspect to understand is that Mexicans are exceedingly polite to others.

Mexicans Have a Hard Time Being Impolite or Not Having Answers to Your Questions

Mexicans find it very difficult when they are unable to help others or answer their questions. The overwhelming need to be polite is illustrated by the many words there are that Mexicans use to say they are sorry. There is "I'm sorry" (lo ciento), "excuse me" (desculpe) and even "with your permission" (con permiso).

This trait is best evidenced when you ask someone in Mexico for directions. They will probably answer you in a roundabout way to get you to the place to which you are going. They want to be kind and helpful to others, but it may be good practice to ask multiple people for directions or help to confirm that you are getting the most reliable information.

Mexicans Are Constantly Greeting Each Other and Are Affectionate in Interactions

Some Americans are overwhelmed when meeting their business colleagues and the colleagues’ families in Mexico. There is a high level of formality and depersonalization in American business interactions. This is not true of many other cultures, including Mexican culture. They view family and friendships as inexorably intertwined with their business lives. When you meet the family or friends of a Mexican colleague, there might be an introduction of you to every person, and vice versa. This can be uplifting and enjoyable, but can also be exhausting.

Mexicans Have Different Use of Language Than You Expect

Spanish is one of the easier languages to learn, especially since it is phonetic, but are you sure you are saying the right thing? The use of the word "mandé" versus "que" is one example. Although many Americans in Spanish classes learn to use "que" for "what," Mexicans often use the word "mande," which means "pardon?". Subtle features that are specific to Mexican Spanish need to be learned to help you function in the best way possible. The overlap of the formal and casual linguistic usage is also reflected in the overlap between one's professional and personal life.

Using the modifier "ita" at the end of words such as "ahora" is intended to lessen formality, but it can also lead to some befuddlement. As a matter of fact, the way in which the Mexican culture uses it can be very confusing. For example, sometimes the word "ahoracita" is just a polite yet indirect way of saying "no." One needs to not only listen to the words that are said, but they also need to listen to the way in whichthey are said.

What Are Some Unique Mexican Traditions?

Some unique Mexican traditions might be familiar, some not as much. There are a few that are quite well known:


Spices and flavors

Attitude Toward Time

Learn about the Personal Lives of Your Employees

Get Comfortable Being Physical

Negotiating Agreements and Managing Mexican Employees


Woman wearing a ethnic mexican costume

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

There are substantial differences between Mexican culture and the way things are done in America. Many people enjoy the slower pace of life that Mexican culture has to offer. The existence of friendly relationships in both the business and personal spheres are of paramount importance to the people of Mexico. The effusive greetings and intimate treatment of business associates may feel foreign to those from the United States, but the Mexican culture is driven by this familial ideology.

Try to be friendly, polite and patient and you will do well in Mexico. If you are considering moving to Mexico, you might be in for a large culture shock. However, you may also find that the move is just what the doctor ordered as far as quality of life.

Featured Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

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