Persians Should Stop Taarof’ing

Taarof’ing seems as essential to Persian culture as tadigh is to rice.

“Taarof” is a social etiquette where one repeatedly declines an offer and he or she is expected not to take the offer and keep declining it.

Understandably, this social behavior stems from high levels of respect and hospitality that are prevalent all throughout our rich Persian culture. Taarof’ing ranges from constantly refusing offers to take food, requesting to pay the restaurant bill, and refusing money from someone who owes us.

However, taarof’ing has increasingly become more insincere. Our taarofs lack the genuine intent that induced our taarof’ing in the first place. We are more and more placed in situations where we taarof for the sake of taarof’ing than sincerely acting on our true intentions.

Taarof’ing also causes misunderstandings and is a source of awkward situations in social settings. We say “yes” to things we do not really like and “no” to things we truly do like.

Given the importance of clear, sincere communication, we should remove insincere taarof which gets in the way of conveying our true interests and desires.

Let’s start being more genuine to each other and say “yes” when we truly mean it.

Sam Mollaei, Esq. is a business lawyer based in Los Angeles, California. He is also the co-founder of Next Level Mentors, an online platform that connects students to highly-qualified mentors. He can be reached via email or through his website,

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