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25 General Attitudes in Indonesia

by Fifi Fitriani

With 261 million people living in Indonesia, unique behaviours and personalities are bound to merge into one. These people live and interact with each other and also the whole world. The connections that they make throughout their lives will create certain behaviours that are carried out by almost everyone in the country.

To know what these common behaviours are, you can start by reading these 25 General Attitudes in Indonesia. Knowing these attitudes will explain the actions that Indonesians do and the thoughts in their heads.

Also read:

1. Welcoming

Indonesians are generally open and welcoming to everyone they meet. They often smile or greet the people, even to strangers. It is considered a kind act to assume the best in people rather than to treat them unfairly. Being mean for no reason will make Indonesians think that a person is troublesome and difficult to get along with.

2. Display Respect to Older People

Older people are highly respected in Indonesia. It’s not strange to see the difference in how Indonesians speak or behave to their elders and to those who are around their age. They are aware that older people must be treated in a special way. If not then they could be considered as rude and rough.

3. Religious

A lot of people in Indonesia are religious. With different kinds of officiated religions in the country, there are also different worshipping buildings for everyone. People can carry out their prayers there. This is how Indonesians learn to tolerate each other’s beliefs.

Read about Religion in Indonesia and the Importance of Religion in Indonesia

4. Flexible with Their Time

Time is very flexible in Indonesia. Many people do not constraint themselves to it. Indonesians have this saying called ‘rubber time’. For them, time stretches like rubber. They also like to take their time while doing things. This might give off the impressions that Indonesians work and move slowly though.

5. Rarely Punctual

This one is tied to how Indonesians perceive time. Since they are more relaxed about it, they are rarely punctual. This applies when they are going to events, appointments or meetings. Indonesians are very conscious of this attitude. They often announce an earlier time to meet-up so people will come early.

6. Act Very Social

Being sociable is one of many Indonesians ability. This attitude makes the whole community to care for one another. It creates a strong bond between the people despite their differences. It reduces any tendencies to act apathetic towards their own people.

Read more: Social Norms in Indonesia

7. Curious

Being curious is a good thing but too much of it can be a form of annoyance. Indonesians might be curious about one’s life, family, job or even the future plan. This curiosity will increase when an Indonesian is talking to a foreigner. Some people might find this okay while some might find it a bit too intrusive.

8. Open to New Trends

Indonesians are receptive to new trends especially the teens. They are open to new ideas and like to join in with the crowds. It’s easy to see the newest social trends to be displayed by Indonesians. Smart devices make it faster and easier for them to know the current popular things to do, to say, to eat or to wear.

Know more: Teenager Lifestyle in Indonesia

9. Polite

Politeness is the kind of attitude that will make people pay more respect. It will also give off the impression that an Indonesian well raised and educated. Politeness involve the manners, language and even the way people dress. It’s a whole package of how you carry yourself in public and private setting.

10. Quite Ambiguous

Ambiguity can happen when one is communicating with an Indonesian. Some tend to give a confusing answer rather than a definite one. Indonesians may say ‘yes’ when in reality they will mean ‘no’. They may also say that they’ll see you ‘tomorrow’ but tomorrow can mean next week, next month or next year.

Read the Social Life in Indonesia and the Social Etiquette in Bali

11. Stay Away from Conflict

Staying away from any sort of conflict is almost an instinctual for Indonesians. Many do not like to get a rise out of people. They don’t like to be confrontational as that could humiliate someone. This attitude may create some misunderstandings between people.

12. Superstitious

Indonesians tend to be very superstitious. Whether they live in the cities or the villages, they still have a belief in ghosts, supernatural occurrences and other similar things. However, the superstitions can also be strongly related to traditions. Rituals and ceremonies are commonly held to ward off bad luck or bad spirits.

Also read: Unusual Traditions in Indonesia

13. Like to Make Small Talk

Small talks are very common among Indonesians. Light, small talks serve as openers to deeper conversations. An Indonesian may ask you about your destination while waiting for the train. The next minute you’ll find yourself being asked about your family or jobs.

14. Helpful

Indonesians are generally helpful. Even though you’re a stranger to them, the kind hearted ones are always willing to lend a helping hand. Indonesians believe that they should always help without asking for anything in return. They may even try to protect you from harm by giving you early warning or other acts.

15. Easily Misinformed

Unfortunately, many Indonesians are still vulnerable to misinformation. Plenty still rely on the words said by others instead of looking for the facts. The development of technology also influences this behaviour. Fact checking is always encouraged but many still fall for misleading information.

16. Humble 

When praised, some Indonesians may play themselves down instead of openly accepting it. Humility is a lesson that is taught very early on to Indonesians. They are not encouraged to be boastful of their abilities. Being boastful will only show arrogance.

Read more: Moral Values in Indonesia

17. Prioritises Harmony

Indonesians always give that extra effort to maintain harmony. It can even be said that they prioritise it above anything else. Uneasy feelings may be kept to oneself just so that peace can still exist among one another. Indonesians prefer to look for quieter ways to solve their issues.

18. Looking Forward to Souvenirs

This particular attitude will appear when someone is about to go somewhere far. Perhaps another city or country. Indonesians will most likely say out loud that they want some ‘oleh-oleh’ which basically means souvenirs. It can be snacks or clothing or other items.

19. Not Fond of Walking

You will not see a lot of Indonesians walking around the streets. They are likely to ride their cars, motorbikes, bicycles or public transportations. Most Indonesians are not fond of walking. Some say it’s because of the hot and humid weather. Meanwhile some complains at the state of the poor sidewalk.

20. Eager to Learn 

A lot of Indonesians, both the old and the young are always eager to pursue higher level of educations. They are always looking for that chance to learn and experience more. Financial matter won’t kill the determination of these Indonesians. They are willing to do anything to achieve their dreams.

Get to know the Indonesian Education System  and the Education Curicculum in Indonesia

More Attitudes for You to Know (21-25)

Below are some additional information on how Indonesians generally behave which are also good to know:

  • Modesty: Indonesians are generally modest in the way they display their personalities. It is also shown in the way that they dress.
  • Often Make Jokes: People in Indonesia love a good sense of humour. Making jokes always happen anywhere, even in the most serious situation.
  • Consumptive: Consumptive attitude is still quite big in Indonesia. People like to buy things based on their wants rather than needs.
  • Values Morality: Morality is especially valued in Indonesia. It is not quite acceptable for someone to act immorally.
  • Wants Everything Done in Instant: People want things to be done or gained in an instant with minimal efforts.

Also read Rights of a Citizen in Indonesia and the Rules for Tourists in Indonesia

So, these are how Indonesians generally behave in their country. These attitudes reflect their beliefs, culture, traditions, values and also their personalities while living their lives in Indonesia.

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