There are some patterns many Romanians tend to follow, and some of them may come as surprising for foreigners. There are exceptions from the examples below, of course, and the generalization is simply to highlight the extremes one may be faced with while dealing with Romanians.
Family is at the core of everything; family needs support, and offers support
Even if many Romanians do not openly admit it, and even if they have borrowed a lot from the Western ways of thinking and acting, most Romanians are very much connected to their families. They will call close family and relatives often, sometimes on a daily basis, and in many cases young Romanians take care of their elderly, supplementing their low income. It runs both ways, with a lot of youngsters getting support from their families until an old age – either by living home with parents, or by receiving packages with food, if parents live in the countryside, and children in the city.
Family time is also very important, and it is often spent watching TV, or visiting relatives, or going on holidays.
Either way, better not to stand in the way of a Romanian and their family! Win their family, or at least ask about their family, their children, and you have won a lot in the relationship with a Romanian, even when dealing with business.
Gifts for family members and showing interest in family members goes a long way with a Romanian. For many Western Europeans, where family relationships are not necessarily that close, this fact comes as a surprise at their first contact with Romania.
Patriotism and hatred for Romania somehow go hand in hand
Romanians don’t often share their patriotism with the world, they do so more when Romania achieves some performance on the international scene – either wins a sports or artistic prize. Then much of the country has one heart. For the rest of the time, however, Romanians swing between loving their country for the good and the bad, and hating it. Yes, hating it, to the point where they decide to leave it. And even when the do that – leave the country to search a better life elsewhere, Romanians are almost always drawn back, and not just by the family they left behind.
The more surprising fact here is that, despite criticizing their country a lot – and not doing much about the things they criticize – Romanians can’t stand it when foreigners do the criticizing. “I am allowed to criticize it, because it is my own country,” is the thinking pattern many Romanian follow. As a foreigner, if you criticize Romania too much, you will upset Romanians, even if they generally share the same opinion on their country.