Croats are a cheerful bunch. They love to party and they do so very often. But if you mix them with other nationals, they are hardly the life and soul of the party.
How can this be?
It’s simple. Croatian people party to bond with people they are already close with. They almost never throw or attend a bash to meet someone new.
In a room full of strangers, a Croat feels out of place, no matter how great the atmosphere is. We are not taught to small talk. And unless we arrive with our own crowd, we’ll probably stand in a corner and look aloof.
Croats think of themselves as touchy-feely kind of people, but I never hug and kiss so many strangers as when I am spending time in London.
Is there something weird going on with the tactile Croats or the reserved Brits?
Not really. For the most part, we can still trust these stereotypes. We only need to examine how body language differs in these two cultures. Namely, why Croats rarely kiss their closest friends. And why, on the other hand, the Brits peck a stranger’s cheek even before you get a word in edgewise.
English may be the most idiomatic of languages, but it’s quite uncomplicated for expressing social closeness or distance. The so called t-v distinction, the sociolinguistic term which refers to second person singular and plural pronouns (as in the French tu and vous), doesn’t even exist in grammar. All you get is ‘you’ in both cases and you don’t even have to worry about different verb endings. Expressing familiarity or politeness boils down to calling someone by their first or last name.
English speakers are often baffled with the tempo and mood of the Croatian language. Even when they master the complex word declinations and even worse verb conjugations, they stop short at the feelings level.
Imperatives are most puzzling. Where English uses sweet and languid prelude to direct or demand, Croatian is quick and almost abrupt. It’s hard to even count the number of times the English got their feelings hurt when hearing the imperative verb tense in Croatian.