Customs & Etiquettes in Saudi Arabia
Do expect Arabs to sit, talk, and stand closer than people in the West do. What Westerners consider an intimate distance is here only social and friendly.
Do expect to be touched more frequently by members of the same sex. This is an expression of friendship.
Do accept as normal the occasional use of influential connections to accomplish tasks more rapidly.
Do expect to shake hands much more frequently. On entering a room or meeting a group of people, it is expected that you will shake hands with all the males present, except small children. On social occasions, you will probably also need to shake hands again when you leave.
If pressed (i.e more than twice) to accept a gift, always take it. It is considered rude to refuse, and always accept it (and anything else offered to you) with the right hand, as the left is considered "unclean" .
Do not expect all promises or decisions to be put in writing. In some situations, you will have to accept an oral promise. This is partly because the written word carries a weight of meaning greater than Westerners are accustomed to.
Do not be surprised at being given an indirect answer of Insha' Allah (God willing). Insha' Allah usually indicates the good intentions of the speaker.
Do avoid some subjects in public. Certain topics are generally not considered appropriate or acceptable for discussion in public. These may include political issues, religion, alcohol, total women's liberation, abortion, and male-female relationships, such as dating. Many people are very sensitive about these topics, and problems could arise should you try to discuss them.
It is considered discourteous to show the soles of one’s feet to an Arab as they are considered “Dirty”, so be careful how you sit.