5 Steps to Becoming More Porteño

Attention foreigners living in Buenos Aires! If you want to stop hearing ¨¿De dónde sos?¨ and start forging relationships with Porteños (or blend in!) –follow these 5 simple steps. Moving beyond language tips, these rules focus on basic yet subtle nuances of la Argentinidad, and will put you on the fast track to being a bit more Argento.

1. ¡Hablar con las manos!

Speak with your hands.

This is an art that will take some time to master, but if you are attuned to the way Porteños gesticulate, and mimic their infinite gestures, you will make some people laugh and be easily understood.

Are you upset about something? Want to get someone’s attention and express your frustration? Get close to your aggressor’s face and bring your fingertips together, lift those fingertips in front of your face and bounce them 2-3 times.

Complete this gesture while saying nothing to convey an ¨are you kidding me?¨ sentiment

You will likely accompany this gesture with the verbal ¨¿Pero qué te pasa?¨ or ¨¿De qué hablás?¨ What’s going on with you?/What are you talking about? It’s a very bold, aggressive move, so use with caution.

2. Chamuyar mucho, chat a lot!

Go where the Argentines go, sit in the park and have a mate, or slow down and linger over your coffee or food awhile. When in the company of Argentines, it is good to agree with them 75% and disagree 25%. Agreeing builds a mutual connection and trust, while disagreeing shows that you have the ability to “discutir” or argue. They love it! Don’t be a pushover, and grow some thick skin –the Porteños will undoubtedly argue right back.

3. Adapt to the schedules, and embrace your inner night owl

You may have heard it before, but everything gets started later here, and your schedule will likely be turned on its head once you arrive. Do you like eggs for breakfast? I didn’t think so, you love media lunas (croissants). Want to grab dinner at 7? Of course not, you prefer a 10 o’clock date.

4. Two simple words, use them often:

      Dale: Yes, for sure, definitely, sure thing, yeah!

Ejemplo: ¨¿Querés venir a tomar el té?¨ ¨¡Dale!¨

      Bueno: Okay, yeah, well, all right

Ejemplo: ¿Te sirvo más? Bueno (say it out loud now, bueeee-no, intonation fluctuates down on the “bue-” and up on the “-no”)

Disclaimer: These are simply affirmations that replace the typical “sí” used by the most basic Spanish speaker. Although they are somewhat interchangeable, as a rule of thumb use dale when you want to show more interest, and bueno any other time!

5. Love Argentina, without fail

Maybe you find it frustrating that you cannot get enough monedas (coins) together for the bus fare, and on your way out the door you stepped in dog poo, but keep on loving Argentina so it can love you back. Argentines are proud of their country, so if they ask you if you like Buenos Aires, the answer is clearly yes.

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5 Responses to 5 Steps to Becoming More Porteño

  1. lynn says:

    I have visited BA 2 times and I can honestly say these 5 tips are pertinent! I did not use hand gestures, but certainly witnessed many. The night life is easy to adapt too and the dog poo is true, but the people are very friendly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have only been to BA once and I will always remember the great times we had. I have 2 tips as well. While I didn’t notice the dog poo I did find it necessary to always look down when you walk, especially upon entering a building as they have little unnoticable steps that instantly turn you into an (embarrassed) 4-legged creature if you’re not careful. Also my Spanish is extremely limited, but I strongly suggest if you’re not fluent, don’t try to speak it as you may end up with a simple cup of steamed milk for your lunch as I did. After that I stuck with what I know!!!! All in all it was an experience of a lifetime!!!

  3. Steph F says:

    Fantastic tips! I personally like to say “bwa!” for bueno 🙂

  4. LVstudio says:

    TOO funny! Hey anonymous, come and take some classes at LV Studio and we can help you order food in no time! I think the ¨bue¨ was overlooked for that portion Steph F, everyone should be able to use that variation of the word, typically in the context of transition / change of subject.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So true about embracing your inner night owl! I think I became semi-nocturnal during my one visit, which was amazing. If I ever visit again I will def take these tips into consideration, and look forward to “hablando con las manos!”

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