Most companies in Korea have hoesik (literally, dinner with coworkers; figuratively, official eating/drinking fests involving multiple rounds at multiple venues) at least once a month and sometimes every week. For Koreans, drinking is considered a way to get to know what someone is really like. So how do you avoid offending someone (worst of all, a superior or client) at a Korean drinking extravaganza? Follow these five handy rules.
Know the hierarchy
One of the first things Koreans often ask when meeting someone new is their age. Even someone just one year older is afforded a language of respect, though age is always superseded by a higher position.
Use two hands
By raising your glass or pouring alcohol with one hand, you are establishing yourself as a senior person. If you’re not, well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
No means bad things
Unless you have an air-tight reason, refusing alcohol is considered a mood killer and deemed rude. In fact, unless you’re pregnant or already puking, what might be a “good reason” not to imbibe elsewhere won’t fly here. It’s generally best to accept and discreetly get rid of unwanted alcohol than to refuse it.
Flex your vocal cords
Koreans are obsessed with singing, as evidenced by the country’s staggering number of karaoke bars, as well as the rush of audition programs on Korean television. Your companions won’t rest until you sing.
Use the black knight or the black rose as a last resort
If you simply cannot take any more, you can call a black knight (male) or a black rose (female) to your rescue. This entails a person of your choosing drinking your glass for you, but it also means they get a wish. As in, you might soon wish you’d just taken that last shot as you’re spelling your name out with your butt in front of your client.
Have you tried joining a Korean drinking session? Tell us about your tipsy experience!
Source: CNN Go
Image: Virtual Tourist