Como en toda sociedad (like in every society), in Mexico, there are certain topics that you should avoid talking about… not because there’s something wrong about them per se, but they just levantan muchas pasiones (they provoke a lot of passions) and they can turn an otherwise nice moment into an unnecessarily bitter one.
So, to make sure you don’t cause a fight or offend anyone, in today’s article I’ll teach you four topics you should avoid with most Mexicans. Make sure you read until the end, as this piece can save you from some awkward situations in Mexico…
Don’t ask people how much they make, nor how much they pay for rent.
In other societies, this is quite common and there’s nothing wrong with it, but this is considered a big no-no in Mexico.
To be honest, I wish this changed! ¿Cómo se supone (How am I supposed) to know how to face the challenges of adulting if I can’t openly talk about home economics with others?!?!
En México we don’t have an official religion. The idea of separation between State and Church plays an important part of our sense of Nation. However, religion or just the belief in a higher power is still very important for millions of Mexicans…
La mayoría de los mexicanos son católicos (The majority of Mexicans are Catholics), but even if one is not Catholic, the influence of Catholicism can be felt through our cultural landscape.
Our most important holidays are all related to Catholic traditions: Christmas, Day of the Dead, Easter, Epiphany… So, be mindful of what you say about God, Jesus, The Pope, Virgin Mary (Virgen de Guadalupe), etc, etc…
You see, younger generations are more open-minded and tolerant, but even a non-religious, super liberal person, like myself, wouldn’t dare to say anything bad against La Virgencita in front of My Auntie Marcia.
Attention: I don’t shy away from discussing anything political. Actually, I believe that everything is political…
But for the purposes of this article, let me clarify that when I say that politics are a topic best left avoided, I’m talking specifically about party politics, presidential politics… the whole either you love or hate the President.
This topic has completely divided Mexico and it’s just awful to see hermano contra hermano (brother against brother) calling each other names.
Es triste (It is sad)… So, when in Mexico, si no quieres aguar la fiesta, (if you don't want to be a party pooper), just refrain from talking about politics.
And if you hear Mexicans using words like CHAIRO or FIFÍ in a conversation, run!!!!
FYI: these are the words that people who either love or hate the President use to describe one another.
Chairo is like using the term Social Justice Warrior in a mocking way and Fifí is an outdated term (brought back by Mexico’s President himself) to talk about people who are posh, upper class, or who act as if they were? You see, it’s complicated…
4. Your dislike for a local dish
Seriously, dude. No lo hagas. (Don’t do it.) No vale la pena. (It’s not worth it).
Let’s say you’ve heard so much about tamales… you’re all hyped, you tried them and… it's meh… An underwhelming experience… Keep it to yourself, no one wants to hear about it!
Mexicans can get very sensitive when it comes to defending what we consider sacred, and our food is definitely a part of it.
If you tried the homemade version of a dish —the abuelita (grandma) version of it— and still, you didn’t like, no digas nada (don’t say anything about it). Nada bueno va salir de eso. (Nothing good is gonna come out of it.)
FREE Spanish Training
¡Muy bien! Now you know what topics to avoid when you come to visit my beautiful Mexico. Tell me what you think! Have you ever been in a situation where these topics came out? What happened?
Congratulations for working on your Spanish and your cultural awareness! Estás en el camino correcto (you’re on the right track).
Now, listen! If you absolutely HAVE to talk about these topics and you can’t avoid it, you better do it in perfect Spanish, so nobody can misinterpret your words and you don’t make any silly mistakes (that’ll be used against you). And we can help with that!
Go to our website and check out the free in-depth Spanish training that Spring Spanish has for you, where you will discover the method that we use at the Spring Spanish Academy to teach our students to have effortless conversations in Spanish, no matter how difficult or sensitive the topic!