10 things you should say in Brazil

I got inspired by this little kid’s message (and brilliant marketing stunt) and decided to share my insights on how to make yourself liked more by Brazilians (which is, by the way, the only effective approach to getting anything done).

1. “Parabéns” (congrats!) – use this to compliment on every achievement, no matter how trivial it may be

2. “Que legal! Adorei!!!” (So cool! Loved it) – similar

3. “Nossa, que calor, não aguento mais” (oh my god, I can’t stand the heat anymore) – temperature records are a favorite topic of conversation. Plus Brazilians think that all gringos come from cold places so they will be happy to know you are suffering a little extra.

4. “Nossa, o transito estava horrivel” ( oh my god, the traffic was horrible) – similar to the previous one

5. Profusely apologize for arriving late and justify it by saying you became Brazilian (they find this really cute)

6. “Caraca” (dammit) – saying this in a loud and surprised voice always makes people laugh

7. Thank people for everything and anything – being polite is highly overrated here for some reason so that’s a good thing to abuse. “Eu que agradeço” (it is me who thanks you), is a good one to use as often as possible as soon as you hear any sign of “obrigado” (thank you)

8. Talk about how much you love Brazil – this one is actually easy as often we gringos appreciate more things about this country than its natives.

9. Tell people that you are an avid fan of their football team – a good strategy is to ask first and then fill in the blank in “que legal! é meu time também. Parabéns!” (So cool! It is my team too. Congrats!)

10. Share personal stories at work. Colleagues love hearing about your life and family history, even more so if you are a foreigner. Making oneself a biotype of the private life of the exotic gringos scores a lot of points and proves you aren’t “cold” (a common reading that Brazilians make of what in the States would be called “professionalism”).

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