The concept of friendship is different in Puerto Vallarta than that of the United States and Canada. North Americans might have many friends, through school, fraternal organizations, church, the neighborhood, Facebook. In Mexico, an amigo is someone you are close to and you maintain that relationship, through good and bad times, no matter the quality of the person.
Mexicans are more inclined to avoid getting into deep conversations with people they do not know well and will avoid the kind of closeness North Americans can establish in a short time frame, such as a week’s vacation in a tropical paradise or a cruise ship.
Mexican character traits often can be traced back to Spanish colonial times when dependence on family and friends was vital to one’s survival. To trust someone outside the inner circle, so to speak, involved a lot of trust and nurturing of any given liaison. Hence, the birth of such things as sobremesa (long lunches and dinners, involving drinking and lengthy conversations in a gentile setting.) The importance of getting to know someone before you considered them a friend has always been of great use to Mexicans. For an extended period of time, covering more than three centuries, Mexicans were forced to depend on one another, in an effort to protect themselves from a treacherous, corrupt government. Having a person one could count on was imperative to survival.
Getting minor and major tasks accomplished often is based on who you know and how well you know them. This goes the same for staying out of trouble or getting oneself out of sticky, troublesome situations.
In business or community affairs, we highly recommend following the example of Mexicans living in Puerto Vallarta. Life will be much more pleasant if we work on establishing and cultivating friendships with people from all walks of life. We have found ourselves experiencing wonderful cultural events, such as weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms and birthday parties of all ages due to having turned simple acquaintances into long lasting friendships in Puerto Vallarta. Engaging in conversation, paying
employees and handymen well, and exercising our meager Spanish skills have worked in our favor to be a part of this wonderful city and the country we have adopted as our own.
Que es cómo es.