“Ghabeli nadareh!”, “Khahesh mikonam!”, “Befarmaeed!”, “Noosh e Jan!” … These are the words and phrases that you may hear many times in a Persian gathering, while you have no idea what they mean!
“Taarof” or Taarofing (actually a made up verb for the word Taarof, meaning compliment or offering!) is a famous, weird and sweet Iranian etiquette. Taarofs are the words and phrases that Iranians use to show their politeness and respect, while they sometimes don't express what they really mean! For example the phrase “Ghabel nadare!” said by the shopkeepers or taxi drivers, when you try to pay them, means "be my guest", but they don’t truly mean such a thing!
As mentioned before, you will hear numerous Taarofs when you go to an Iranian’s house. As a new foreign guest, you might find it a little weird at first but you will get acquainted with the system soon! At the table you will always be offered with more and more food until you feel like exploding! On the other hand, sometimes a guest might refuse taking more food and say “Taarof nemikonam (I am not Taarofing) while they are!
Anyway, all the Taarofs, whether in public or in family gatherings are just meant to express politeness, kindness and hospitality in Iranian style! As Iranian young generation, we don’t Taarof as much as our parents do, but this is still a nice and original Iranian etiquette to us!