Latvians are respectful with a conservative demeanor. They are formal and tend not to use many physical gestures. Usually, men and women do not touch whilst talking. Although patting on the shoulder might be observed. It is recommended not to point with a single finger, but to use the whole hand with the palm facing up. Men and women have the same opportunities. It is important to mention that men behave in a polite manner by opening door for women or letting them enter first.
Latvian business people like to look straight into your eyes while discussing business; so, eye contact is an important part of business meetings in this area of the world. Failure to make eye contact signals a lack of interest and may be interpreted as an effort to hide something. Shaking hands is an imperative part of greeting one’s partner. Latvians shake hands with all participants at both the beginning and the end of meeting. As they are not talkative by nature, Latvians prefer to get straight to the point without small talk. They do not show their emotions while discussing business and their verbal communication style is simple and direct.
Formal greeting is a firm handshake. Close friends and family may give each other light hugs or exchange kisses on the cheek.
Personal space is important to Latvians. Personal space is indicated by the length of an arm. Although, it might be more intimate with family and close friends. Latvians generally are very affectionate with their family, friends and colleagues.
The family is still the centre of the social structure. Even in urban areas it is common for generations of extended family to live together in the same apartment. Most families have only one or two children. The family provides both emotional and financial support to its members. It is common for parents to provide financial assistance to adult children. In return, children are expected to take care of their elderly parents. It is uncommon to move from the area where you are born. Even if a child goes to a city to work, they tend to go home for holidays.