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'Nobody listens here!' Ten common complaints foreigners make to their Spanish partners

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'Nobody listens here!' Ten common complaints foreigners make to their Spanish partners
"You Spaniards smoke too much", is one of the grumbles many foreigners make to their Spanish partners. Photo: Zach Rowlandson/Unsplash

Cross-cultural relationships are as interesting as they are complex. Here are some of the ten most common moans foreigners have when talking to their Spanish partners.


Spaniards are a passionate bunch. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, speak their minds when necessary and live life to the fullest.

But when it comes to life in Spain, their foreign partners may soon pick up on cultural differences and Spanish habits they don't really understand.

From their penchant for swearing to how fatty the food is, The Local lists some of the most common complaints foreigners have about Spanish partners and Spain as a whole.

Let the grumbling begin! 


"You Spaniards are always swearing." One of the things foreigners notice about Spain is the swearing. Everyone from grandmothers to toddlers seems to be at it. Don't take offence though - swearing is just not as big a deal in Spain as elsewhere. 

"Everything takes so long here." Whether it's organising a new SIM card for a phone, opening a bank account or just buying a light bulb, everything in Spain seem to take longer than almost anywhere else in the known universe, foreigners will often claim.

"Do we really have to spend Sunday with your family again?" Many foreigners in Spain have left their home country to get away from their family, but in Spain blood ties are generally strong and family get-togethers are common. Getting stuck with a whole load of aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws - no matter how nice they are - isn't necessarily what foreigners had in mind for their Spanish adventure.

"The food here is so fatty/greasy/salty." Many people arrive in Spain envisaging olives, salads and mounds of fruit. Instead they get lots of fried meat and, well, fried meat. “Yes, Spanish food can be amazing, but the occasional vegetable wouldn't kill anyone, would it?” some foreign partners often grumble.

"Nobody listens in this country!" Spaniards may have fine-tuned the art of all talking over the top of each other, but for foreigners used to a more give-and-take approach to conversation, the free-form Spanish version can be mind-bending.

"Your compatriots are such drama queens." A lot of Spaniards like a bit of excitement in their lives, and don't mind hanging out their emotional laundry. This is tough for more reserved foreigners where feelings are stuffed deep down into their souls. 

"Is anyone ever on time in this country?" While some Spaniards take great pains to never arrive late, others have a more fluid relation to time. Many ‘guiris’ find this less than endearing - at least until they give in and start being late themselves. 


"Why can't I just go out and blow off some steam?" Sometimes northern Europeans just need to go out and drink too much and make fools of themselves. Unfortunately, this sort of unhinged behaviour isn't as common among Spaniards, which may mean they take this personally and imagine their foreign partner is up to all sorts of mischief. 

"Can't we do something different for a change?" Spaniards are master (slow) drinkers, eaters and talkers, and really know how to make a drawn out lunch enjoyable. But sometimes it seems that socialising is all they do. This can be tough if you really feel like trying out something new.

"People here smoke too much." Spain's bars and restaurants may not be the smoke-filled dens they used to be but around a quarter of Spaniards smoke every day. That figure is around one in ten in the UK and the US, for example. So it's no surprise that for many foreigners based in Spain, Spaniards smoke like chimneys. 


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Anonymous 2022/08/05 11:38
I would love to read similar comments about Brits and living in the UK, LOL!

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