10 Habits You Pick up Living in Dubai

Dubai sunset
Dubai sunset | © Bianca/Flickr | Flickr
Jessica Harn

Living in Dubai can be quite an experience – from dealing with the weather to learning how to navigate the world’s biggest mall. Here are some common habits you’re bound to pick up while living in Dubai.

Complaining about the weather – no matter what

No amount of exposure will ever get you truly adapted to the intense heat of Dubai. No matter what the temperature is or what time of year it is, you’ll always complain about how hot it is.

Hot weather at Jumeirah Beach

Driving a little on the crazy side

Driving in Dubai is truly an experience – and in order to survive on the road you’ve got to adapt! Most drivers pick up the awful habits of cutting people up, speeding, and taking two parking spaces – its the only way to survive Dubai’s crazy roads!

Running for cover from the sun

Yes, maybe first-timers love the sun and lay out on the beach when coming to Dubai – but for those who have lived in the city long enough to get tired of the sun, we get their daily exercise by running from shade to shade to avoid the burning rays of sun.

Collecting perfume for every occasion

It’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone loves perfume in Dubai, and after living here for a while have all become a little too obsessed with it! It’s become a habit to have specific perfumes for work, for play, for brunches, and for dinners; because at least here in Dubai people will really appreciate and notice your choice of perfume!

Living in Dubai forces many of us to dress up

Not shaking hands when greeting someone

Because of both the local culture and Islamic tradition, people of the opposite gender generally do not shake hands or initiate any form of bodily contact. So when meeting someone new, people have learned to not attempt a hand shake just to stay on the safe side.

But on the other hand, being prepared for numerous hugs and kisses between female friends

However, if you’re a female greeting another female friend, we’ve all gotten used to the rather long greeting of hugging, then giving numerous kisses on each side of the cheeks. It’s always fun trying to figure out who is going to stop the kissing first!

Waiting for the door to be opened for you

This sounds a bit elitist, but it’s a common habit to wait for someone to open the door for you — there’s always someone there to open the door to buildings, taxis, or rooms; and it is pretty easy to get used to having someone always open the door for you!

Walking the same route through Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is just so big (the biggest in the world, actually) and once you’ve seen it all it becomes a habit to pick a route that suites you and your friends, passing by only the shops you want to go to. No more endless roaming and getting lost, most residents have a familiar route they never deviate from in Dubai Mall.

Avoiding the crowds at Dubai Mall only comes with practice

Wearing the abaya over pyjamas

The abaya (traditional long black dress that the women wear) is a common sight anywhere you go. Even women who are not local Emiratis now wear them, and many ladies have worn one over our pyjamas just so we don’t have to change. It’s a habit we all wish we didn’t have because we’ve all been embarrassed before when someone accidentally sees our pyjamas underneath, but the abaya is just so tempting as the perfect solution to a lazy day.

Adapting an accented form of English so everyone understands you better

This is in no way to make fun of or belittle someone else’s English, but because there are so many different accents speaking English in Dubai we’ve all picked up the habit of changing our English pronunciation to better match whoever we talk to, and its helped both sides understand each other better!

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