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BANGKOK 21 March 2019 04:16
superatoz

ไหว้ to older people I dont know too well

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7 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

I'm Australian. We don't consider ourselves inferior to anyone. On the other hand, apart from our ratbag fringe, we don't consider anyone to be inferior to us either.

That's a good attitude to life.

 

People saying to wai to people who you feel inferior to is stupid.  They don't understand the wai at all.

 

It's a formal way to show respect to someone.  Younger people wai to older people  because they are just showing the elder respect for... well just being older basically (and in theory having more life experience or knowledge of things lol).   

 

We are farangs.  It's not our custom or culture to wai anybody so we don't need to worry too much about it here.  Sure its nice to integrate with the Thai people, but if we made mistakes with a wai, or use it at the wrong time, they are not going to care at all, and because we are farangs they will understand we don't mean any harm or are being unfriendly or stupid.

 

For OP at the gym.  I would say do what you want.  If you wai at them you might look a bit silly, but you will also look friendly and a nice guy.  If you smile that is probably the best, or nod you head.  You might even say hello!!!!  Don't overthink it and turn it into a big deal.

 

Those bashing Thai people for their customs should realise we farangs have our own etiquette that many other nations find stupid and confusing.  Even the hand shake has rules about seniority, when to initiate, how long it should last etc etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

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hi all , 
 
i am confused if i should ไหว้ people whom i see often eg. people at the gym ( im in my 30s but many people  i look much younger then that )
 
i dont really know them well but i smile at them when i walk pass , is it like really necessary to ไหว้ them
 
or is just a smile suffice ? i wouldnt want to come off as rude to them as I of mix heritage ancestry and i look pretty local to them lol 
 
appreciate any advises from those who have been living in thailand long  as i dont have any foreigner friends here .
 
i asked my gf and she said " I dont really ไหว้ people i dont know well" -_- bummer 
 
 

I situations like yours you are doing enough especially if you are not going to use any Thai.
As your girlfriend says about knowing them, if you are introduced and know the greeting Sawatdi krap it would be odd not to wai. before or as you say it. When you meet them again you wai them because they are among those whom you wai.
wai is also body language for an apology, If you tread on someone’s toe, bump into them etc. and feel the need to say sorry in either language a wai seems appropriate to me. If you enter a social gathering of Thais, drinks after a workout and you feel as though you are encroaching, a wai will help to make everyone feel comfortable. If people are clustered round the water fountain for example and you want to get by, a wai works like magic. Especially if you can manage “khoi thote duay krab”

Even though we are not expected to wai, it is appreciated when you do, I think that you already feel this so follow your instincts.




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Troll comment and bickering posts removed.

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I suspect it has more to do with deference, as in yield, than respect especially if the recipient expects it. The rules of its usage tend to indicate the vector of social hierarchy.

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Don't ไหว้ strangers unless you are being introduced to them or doing business with them. This does not include service staff who will ไหว้ you but you do not need to reply. There are occasions I will walk into a retail situation and ไหว้ someone - for example when I bought my car the finance paperwork was handled by the showroom manager, we was in a senior position, he was older than me and we were now "doing business". Also if I have spoken to sales staff and want to consult with someone more knowledgeable, when they've made the effort to come to speak to me, we start with a ไหว้ - an example being when I was purchasing a rather expensive keyboard for my daughter and the salesman had taken me through his pitch but I wanted the opinion of someone who could play, they got a guy from another area of the store and, as he'd made an effort to provide me with more than standard service, I initiated a ไหว้.

 

With regards to the people in the gym, they are still strangers, a smile will suffice. If you've had an interaction that goes beyond seeing them in the gym, for example had a friendly chat over a fruit shake in the gym cafe, then you can ไหว้ them the next time you see them and subsequently if you feel you have built an ongoing personal relationship with them. The initial ไหว้ after the first conversation can play a role in continuing the relationship as it is recognition of the previous conversation you'd had - not doing so may not be considered rude but may be an indication that the conversation you'd had over the drink wasn't of significance to you.

 

I've been living here over a decade and have many Thai friends. We always greet each other with a ไหว้. In fact, I will shortly be visiting friends I've not seen for a couple of months and will be rocking up with a ไหว้ before grabbing a beer. Thai work colleagues also greet me with a ไหว้ every day (and a few jovial foreigners as well). Beyond that, the ไหว้ is used fairly infrequently (perhaps I ไหว้ less than I should), but whenever it is used it is a clear recognition that things are a little more formal (with the obvious exception of the unreturned ไหว้ in the retail situation).

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31 minutes ago, naboo said:

With regards to the people in the gym, they are still strangers, a smile will suffice. If you've had an interaction that goes beyond seeing them in the gym, for example had a friendly chat over a fruit shake in the gym cafe, then you can ไหว้ them the next time you see them and subsequently if you feel you have built an ongoing personal relationship with them.

I agree with this.

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