Jordanian Society Etiquette: A List of Grievances

A list of things I wish to see change in Jordanian society. Feel free to add on. In no particular order:

1- Line up properly in banks, ministries, customer service, etc.
2- When in a line up remain in the line, do not attempt to skip ahead to the counter under the following deceptions:

    a) you know someone that works there
    b) pretending you don’t realise there’s a line up
    c) putting your arm over someone’s shoulder with your papers while that someone is being served

3- When in line please keep a reasonable distance between yourself and the person being served. Particularly appropriate in a bank where people are signing private documents; standing right next to them is absurd
4- Do not sit on other people’s parked cars
5- Do not scribble words on other people’s cars; specifically ‘wash me’ and other fingerprint poems
6- Do not plant olive trees on “your” sidewalks
7- Do not park your cars in front of other people’s homes, cars, sidewalks and parking spots
8- Close your mouth when you’re eating
9- Do not eat like it is your last meal
10- If you are a man: offer women and old men your seat on the bus.
11- If you are a woman: do not walk several meters ahead of someone who has been waiting an hour for a taxi and hail the first one you see.
12- Be on time. Arriving late is not fashionable, people take time out of their schedules to work around you showing up
13- Say “please” more often
14- Men: open doors for people
15- Women: acknowledge a man holding a door for you by saying “thank you”
16- Everyone: say “thank you” more often

17- Don’t stare at people for long periods of time, it’s rude
18- For Muslim Brothers: for the love of Allah wear clean socks or dry your feet before entering a mosque
19- Be more patient with people
20- Do not speed in your car. Amman is small, you can get anywhere relativly quickley and an accident is not worth shaving off 2 minutes from your travel time
21- When a car is inside a circle it has the right of way. Please acknowledge this by stopping your car and waiting.
22- If speeding to the airport do not position yourself behind a car in the left lane and then flash your highbeams rapidly at 120 km/h
23- Throw all garbage in a can. If none is around, wrap it up and keep it till one presents itself
24- Do not play loud music in your car. No one cares what you’re listening to.
25- Do not wash your cars with a water hose; it’s wasteful
26- Remain quiet in movie theaters and watch the damn movie
27- Turn your cell phones off in theaters, libraries, mosques and churches
28- Use a ringtone appropriate to your age. Sponge bob square pants is not appropriate for plus 40
29- Wear deoderant
30- Stop smoking. And if you insist, stop doing it in public places, in hospitals, around other people who don’t smoke.
31- Study something in university that you are good/talented at. Otherwise in 4 years you will have learnt nothing, wasted time and become a burden on a society that should be hiring engineers that actually know how to build something.
32- Violence is not the only way to settle minor social disputes.
33- Do not park your cars right in front of the place you need to visit. It’s ok to park a little further away and walk a little; it won’t kill you.
34- Do not drive to certain areas which you know for a fact will be packed with cars on certain days e.g. abdoun circle on a thursday night.
35- Men: do not issue cat-calls to girls passing by. Chances are some other guy will do the same thing to one of your relatives.
36- Men: when spotting a pretty girl do not attempt to follow her in herds of 10 down the street.
37- Everyone: Do unto others as you have dont unto you.
38- If living in an apartment building do not participate in loud activities before/after a reasonable amount of time in the morning/night
39- Do not stop to bark at dogs
40- Do not throw rocks at stray cats
41- Do not honk your car horns 2 seconds before the light turns green
42- Take your shoes off when entering a person’s home unless they say otherwise
43- Women: close your mouth when chewing gum
44- When standing close to a tree, do not carve your name with your keys, do not break the branches and do not rip off the leaves and twist them
45- Stop scraching your names in elevators too
46- Do not rush to supermarkets and buy everything in sight because it snowed.
47- Girls/Women: Please wear clothes befitting to your age group i.e. a 40 year old should not dress like a 16 year old
48- Call whoever you are planning on visiting before you visit (but don’t call from a cell phone outside their house)
49- Throw your household trash inside the public dumpsters, not beside it, not several meteres away from it, but inside it.
50- Do not shoot guns into the air everytime someone gets married, passes tawjihi or gets a green card


  • 9- Do not eat like it is your last meal
    46- Do not rush to supermarkets and buy everything in sight because it snowed

    These two really cracked me up:D

    What can I add! these should be done as pamphlets and distributed to all people of Jordan:p

    I have one or two actually
    51. Men: stop “bisbessing” at girls, they are not cats
    52. Girls: Dont fall into make up but rather apply it!
    53. Again to standing in line but @ buses: You all have tickets, the seats wont run aways will they?
    54. There are somethings called tissues in which the “balgham” should land. Spitting it out of the car is disrespect to the “balgham” itself 😀

    I might come back with more…

  • Promises, looooooooooool @ bisbessing. 😀 😀

    also in addition to your 52…..Girls do not bathe in cheap perfume! and do not powder your faces pales white if you are dark skinned!

    lol @ the balgham 😀

  • Im not so sure about no. 42! Don’t u think that ‘don’t take your shoes off as soon as you walk into someone’s house’ is a better idea? (unless you are told to do so, or everyone else is walking around shoeless).

    Also i add no. 55. The pavement right in front of my front door is not the right place for you to empty your car’s overfilled ashtray, especially when the rubbish bin is literally 2 meters away.

    56. Random U turns across 4 lanes of oncoming traffic in order to save 4 minutes waiting for the traffic light are not acceptable (no matter what your reletives do in the police department) this is doubly unacceptable when you decide to save energy by not using indicators, ever. (strangely this saving energy doesn’t seem to apply to not using you carhorn?!?!?)

    57. Sending random SMS poems ‘by mistake’ and following them up with a phone call to check if they were recieved by some sexy chickita is not an acceptable way of making new friends, sexual partners, or future spouses it is simply pathetic.

    58. Uncalled for namedropping is rarely impressive and makes you look sad, especially when the name dropped is that of your great uncle in law who happened to be the 3rd under-secretery for the department of botanical affairs in the southern shuna back in the late 70’s.

  • Oh my God … you are so right … I love all of them and yes they should be distributed to all Jordanians in an attempt to make us better people …

    I will add:

    59. Guys: please do not call out at a fat person that he/she is fat because they know it, suffer from it and newsflash; they do have feelings
    60. Do not ogle people you don’t know and assess them from head to toes while cranking your knows and then make pathetic eye contact that translates to “I don’t like you”
    61. If you have a garden around your house and choose to raise hens, please do not get a rooster that crows every half an hour all through the night
    62. If you are a kind person and you pass by your friend (relative) in the morning to give them a ride to work, do not honk your car horn at 6 in the morning … some people are actually still asleep
    63. At weddings; women: please do not tell spinsters “3o2balek” or at least say it as if you really mean it not as if it sounds like “Allah y3awed 3aleki”
    64. Please please please serve “gahwa sadah” like “gahwa 7ilwa”, i.e. every person has his own cup, you don’t want to drink after someone else as this someone else would not like to drink after you … you will never know what disease you will catch.
    65. If you want to visit someone .. do give them a call first .. it is not nice to drop in unexpectedly even if it is your parent’s house.
    66. Brush your teeth after meals; it is not cool to have bad breath
    67. Use public bathrooms as you use your private bathroom at home … “Al nathafa min al eman”, and don’t forget to wash your hands.
    68. Use a waste bag in your car and don’t throw garbage out the window while you are speeding down the street.
    69. If you are a teacher and your school happens to be in a residential area; don’t shout at the kids using the microphone, it is too early, some people are still asleep, and you don’t sound nice.
    70. Pedestrians: Please wait for your green light and don’t cross the street when the traffic light has just turned green for cars to move.
    71. Do not give advice unless you are asked.

    I might come back with more 🙂

  • Correction:
    60. Do not ogle people you donâ??t know and assess them from head to toes while cranking your nose and then make pathetic eye contact that translates to â??I donâ??t like youâ?

  • w..NasNas, I’m in tears….God Bless You!
    Well, they say in Rome act like Romans, and If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!But I will never do that!
    Thanks for bringing this up, I really need to let out some of the frustration….so please bear me..sorry for the language.

    >> Please Please please please take a shower every day or at least 2 days! I mean no more greasy hair and ur body odor is ewwwww..
    >> When someone got a paper in his/her hand it’s not your fking business to know what’s in there!
    >> When two people are talking don’t stand near them acting like you are scratching your head or ass and not listening!
    >> Floors and tiles are not some large ashtrays! For God’s sake smoke near an ashtray and throw your shit there,yeah and smoke outdoor!
    >> Stop kissing each others! Kissing should be only between a guy and a girl
    >> Toilets! Mishan 3ard Bush keep it clean! It’s worse than a manager already! Garaf yegrefkom
    >> Most of your problems could be solved easily, yelling at the teller,employee the guy behind you won’t help much
    >> STOP Complaning! Life is great life is beautiful!
    >> STOP saying : The Prof gave me 55%, dude you are douchebag!U’ve been fooling around the whole semester and flunked your midterm, it is your fault!
    >> STOP accusing the Prof of hating you and made you fail the course because s/he hates you for some reason.
    >> If someone forgot to say Mabrook to you for some stupid occasion of yours it’s not the end of the world.
    >> We don’t have to listen to that funky song you are playing on your Cellphone
    >> Policemen : Don’t shout at me, I have dignity.
    >> When you borrow others stuff, like a textbook, please try to return it in one piece, well two pieces would actually nice than Wara’ Faret with stains of za3tar and coffee!
    >>Egyptian labors are human beings. Don’t insult them because they are financially poor,treat them nicely!
    >> Stand up for your rights!Don’t be scared to tell someone that they are crossing the line….or that your Prof. needs to raise his/her voice
    >> Don’t grab others cell phones and read their messages and go over their contact list.
    >> Girls, crying in public won’t solve your problem!!
    >> Yes,some poeple are poor…no need to tell them how crappy or hafartli their second hand clothes look!
    >> There are many effective ways for calling your friends down the street/campus/mosque/church/school/hospital other than yelling ( Ahmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad shu, Deer balak 3al Gharaaaaaaath?!
    >> It’s not that I’m a snob!But I seriously find it a crime to waste 2 hours fooling around doing nothing!
    >> You can’t cross the street where ever and whenever you wish!
    >> When you are in a lecture,religious ceremony,meeting,etc…stay quiet and don’t make a loud entrance.Don’t walk infront of the person who is speaking, go to the back seats when ur late.
    >> There is no need to Oppose anything just……okay I’m tired

  • Firas, “There is no need to Oppose anything justâ?¦â?¦okay Iâ??m tired” loool but it was cathartic wasnt it 😉

    u know, u shud blog more about your university experiences! i bet you have some stories

    lol @ “Toilets! Mishan 3ard Bush keep it clean! ” 😀

  • When you feel like being 7atem el-6ai for a day and decide to strike a tent in the land next to your house (which might not even be yours) and offer 10 sedr’s of mansaf from Jabri and invite strangers in the dozens from the street to eat, and you feel sorry for whoever usually ends up doing the dishes at your house so you decide to tell people to eat with their hands, then PLEASE, for God’s sake remember to pass gallan el mai wel 9abooneh el se7reyyeh BEFORE and not only after the people eat.

    And, if you happen to be the stranger turned relative at the twist of a mughrafet laban that most people are in Jordan, then for the love of God ASK, ask for the soap if they don’t pass one around, don’t just sit there and eat with your hands acting like you’re not doing something wrong.

  • Khalidah, At weddings; women: please do not tell spinsters â??3o2balekâ? or at least say it as if you really mean it not as if it sounds like â??Allah y3awed 3alekiâ?….

    that must be harsh 😀

    Onzlo, 56. Random U turns across 4 lanes of oncoming trafficâ?¦ loool how many times have i seen this, sigh*

    Hamzeh, loool that is a post unto itselfâ?¦the mansaf chronicles 😀

  • Yeah Nas it is harsh especially that they don’t care if you are married or not .. they just say this because they want to belittle the person in front of them assuming that marriage is actually an achievment of some kind

    – Also at weddings; girls stop dancing in the middle imitating Ruby and Haifa with all the other women clapping … as if every girl’s unfulfilled dream in this country is to become “ra2assa” … what is the bloody point?

    – Stop asking silly stupid questions … like: oh, did you have a haircut? did you gain weight? lesh nas7aneh? lesh wejhek 5arban? 2adesh ratbik? msa7beh? bet7ebby?… etc.

  • Khalidah, looool it is damn good to be a man! at weddings our main topic of conversation concerns how to avoid dancing and which dishes are good at the open buffet!

  • I’m sure I have an enormous list, if I just stop and think about it. Instead, I think I’ll just link this one…and forward it to my favorite Jordanian, who has complained about these things many times himself.

    A question. If everyone has the same complaints, why does it still all happen?

  • b., well either “everyone” is really just a small group of people when copared to the general population or we forgot to add:

    – Stop being hypocrites


  • I remembered more 😀

    – Parents: stop asking your kids to sing the “nasheedeh” they learned at KG the other day in front of visitors and family … that is really pathetic … cause only you see your kid as a genius .. to the rest of the world .. he is just another kid

    – And while you are at it .. set an example to your child and please do not laugh when they call people rude and ugly names .. that’s not nice and it is not doing your kid any good

    – Control your kids when you are visiting other people … it actually does matter to them if anything gets broken

    – Don’t be a Mr. “Know-it-all” because no one is … if you don’t have useful info about what the crowd are talking about .. do everyone a favor and keep your mouth shut .. it does not make sense to object for the sake of objection

    – If you give someone an appointment and you were not able to make it .. be kind and give them a call .. that’s called courtesy

    – Stop talking about people behind their backs because chances are that the one that listened to you gossiping would gossip about you to those you bad mouthed .. and they will know what you said so you better be brave enough to tell it to their faces if it is bothering you that much .. and remember that what goes around comes around

  • Khalidah, ” Donâ??t be a Mr. â??Know-it-allâ? because no one is â?¦ “

    Sometimes youre at some place like a ministry wiating in line or something and the guy behind you will overhear what you’re saying and start telling or “advising” you where to go and what to do!

    “And while you are at it .. set an example to your child and please do not laugh when they call people rude and ugly names.. “

    or when the kid learns a swear word and everyone laughs and then they bite their lip and say “eeeeeh 3eib”

  • Hey Nas … Can we rearrange this list in one document and have it ready as a hand out?? 😀
    I know a few people I would like to give this to them … what do you think? shall we make this a tiny project? I am ready to help 😉

  • You all have me laughing with tears. I tried to post yesterday, but Nas, it said I have an invalid ISP address?

    Everyone picked up things I had written but one:

    Drive BETWEEN the white lines, not OVER them!

    Please post #21 at every duwwar.

    Remember when someone had a “no buying gas on Thursday” thing? Maybe you could pick a day for ALL of us to begin driving the way we should and see it is changes Amman.

    Really, if we all choose to drive like it was one of the jp citizens beside us, instead of as if in a war-zone, it would change things. You’d all be famous then for accomplishing something no one else has!

  • oh man that’s excellent.. a few more

    – if you’re driving and plan to make a right/left turn stick to the right/left side of the street, if you found out that you needed to make a turn too late and are already at the intersection, please make your turn at the next intersection, it’s not ok to cut in front of other lanes of traffic.
    – if you’re sitting next to someone in a bus you should try to not touch them, just because you’re a guy sitting next to a guy doesn’t mean you can feel comfortable to be all over the person in the seat next to you. it’s also not ok to sleep leaning on their shoulder.
    -avoid all unnecessary physical contact, like when in a “line” to buy falafel, and always give people some personal space.
    -to cab drivers, it’s not ok to have a grimy seatbelt that would stain the passenger’s clothes, believe it or not some people do wear seat belts on a regular basis, so you should care to keep them clean like you do the rest of your car.
    – to all other drivers And passengers, wear your seat belts for god’s sake, yes even if it’s a short trip in town.
    -to all parent drivers, use child seats appropriate for your children’s age. no children in the front passenger seat, and no children in laps of front seat passengers and drivers..
    -yelling and being loud is never appropriate and unnecessary in 99% of your daily settings, so please avoid it.
    -respect people’s privacy, asking how much money your make and most other questions concerning financial issues is rude.
    -stop asking newly weds when they’re going to have kids. if a couple have been married a few years and still have no children, chances are they can’t have kids or they don’t want to, either case not your business to ask. if you do know that someone can’t have kids, stop “praying” for them to have kids in their presence, because that’s not being nice and is actually quite hurtful.
    -guys should stop assuming they can “have” any girl they lay their eyes on, their past experience and history should be a good indication for them. guys should lay off women that are being accompanied by a man, they’re either taken, or the man is a relative and that almost always ends ugly. here’s a tip to guys, lay off until the lady is slightly interested then you can move in with your slick lines, really not every girl is interested.
    -universities should serve other purposes than “hooking up”.
    -perfume/cologne is not a substitute for showering, it also neither substitutes for deodorant nor clean clothes.
    -if you are a wait person in an upper class establishment, make up your mind either use Arabic or English, don’t use English only when you think the person you’re waiting on does not speak it, not at all impressive.
    -to guys, some of the clothes you wear are more appropriate for girls such as tight pants.
    -to both guys and girls, there is such a thing as pants that are too tight.

    i got a little carried away, sorry 🙂

  • hiya!! omg i laughed so hard my tummy hurts!

    this is so TRUE!! and it happens in all arab countries that i’ve been to until now… 🙁

    i got two that i needed to point out as well…ahem:

    –> guys, please, i beg of you, don’t ‘zabto’ or scratch your privates in’s soooo NOT nice to see

    –>unfortunately i’ve seen guys mostly do this, bas pleaaase when we are all stuck in traffic don’t start picking your nose or stuffing your arm in through there to pick your brain out…i mean SERIOUSLY, there’s something known as tissue

    AND YES all of these are supposed to be handed out as flyers all over!! -sigh-

    cheers!! 🙂

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