Saturday, July 20, 2024

Should I get offended?

Gringos and Mexicans make a pretty good match. We really do like each other! Our cultural personalities mesh well. Think the opposite of the friction often noted between U.S. and French citizens. Or British and French citizens. Or anyone and French citizens.

But even the loveliest matches don’t love and admire each other 100% of the time.

Sometimes, we downright annoy each other, or worse, offend each other!

AMLO, president of Mexico, and Joe Biden, president of US, hugging
If two divisive politicians can get along, so can you guys. (

When Not to Be Offended

As is often the case, simple misunderstandings can lead to some Big Feelings. When it comes to gringos in Mexico, there are some pretty predictable circumstances. But fear not! Behold, reasons for you to not suspect you’re getting especially raw treatment:

When you feel like the entire country is conspiring to not let you get anything done “on time.”

Don’t worry! That is not what’s happening.

Because, as you’ve discovered if you’ve spent any amount of time here, rushing is no national value. Things get started when they get started and they get done when they get done. Chill. If you’re always in a rush, then this is not your perfect match. Swipe left and go find yourself a nice little town in Germany.

This includes parties, by the way. People will show up an hour or three later, and it doesn’t occur to anyone to apologize for it. Why? Because the important part of it is being there (and by the way, you can likely stay until the sun comes up).

Parties. They start whenever, and if you’re lucky they finish on the same day. (Kelsey Chance/Unsplash)

What offends them: Want to get a Mexican as annoyed with you as you might be feeling? Show your impatience, and be loud and obvious about it.

We gringos tend to be a little obsessive about wanting all the information we can get before making a single move.

Unfortunately, that’s not always possible around here.

Want to get the official scoop on a specific neighborhood? Too bad. Want to have the complete list of items you need for a dreaded trámite before arriving? Ha! You’re funny. Think you can have a look at the dogs up for adoption at the local shelter online before arriving? Oh, honey.

If you’re going to hang out in Mexico, bringing along your sense of adventure is essential. Preparation is for suckers, and plus, it makes things less fun! You’ll find out when you get there.

You will never have the correct paperwork. Just roll with it. (Christian Serna/Cuartoscuro)

What offends them: You treat someone like an idiot for not knowing what they “should” ahead of time. Obsessively researching everything before diving in just ain’t their style.

When you’ve got noisy neighbors, there’s no “beat ’em.” You can either join ’em or die mad about it.

Mexico is not a quiet place. If you want a quiet place, this is not the country for you. But look: no one is trying to bother you by making noise. We’re all just used to there being a lot of noise a lot of the time; it’s part of life, and most people don’t notice it.

You getting upset about noisiness seems about as logical as getting upset that it’s windy. Okay, it might be annoying, but what are any of us going to do about it?

It’s true, you can call the police. Some people do, actually. If the noise is above the level of, say, a Metallica concert, they come and might tell them to pipe down. Then they’ll leave, and the volume will go back up. Get some earplugs?

@delacruz20340 #secomprancolchones #conbuenhumor ♬ sonido original – Delacruz20340

What offends them: People coming to visit or live in Mexico on purpose and then complaining. One of the most popular and endearing phrases in Mexico: “Si ya saben cómo soy, ¿para qué me invitan?” (You know what I’m like, so why’d you even invite me?)

Happily Ever After, Anyway

But like I said before: there’s no such thing as the perfect pair. And there are plenty of things to love and admire about each other. So try not to get too worked up about things, my fellow countrymen.

And if you do, give yourself a nice time out. Preferably with a beer (or a shot of tequila if it’s been a particularly rough day). Say what you will about casual alcoholism; at least it’s relaxing. Invite a friend!

Just don’t expect them to arrive on time.

Sarah DeVries is a writer and translator based in Xalapa, Veracruz. She can be reached through her website,


Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.
For rent sign

Renting in Mexico: Expect the unexpected

From exterior gas tanks to contract lengths, what do you need to know about life in Mexico when trying to rent an apartment?
Author’s daughter celebrating Mariner’s Day with El Jardín school.

What I learned educating my child in a Mexican beach town

As more foreign families move to costal communities, ensuring access to great schools and educational opportunities is more important than ever.
A single mother drinking a beer while holding a baby

Mexican Boogeymen: The Mamá Luchona

The butt of many a societal joke, what exactly are mamás luchonas, and what on earth have they done to earn so much hate?