Libya Do’s and Dont’s

Libya is home to some OFWs. There are a few Filipinos who work here despite its location and other internal conflicts. If you are planning to work or visit here, there are sets of standards that you have to know in order for you to blend in with the country’s society. There are no complicated rules, just the basic ones in terms of their actions, gestures, behaviors, and etiquettes. If you know the basics, you can easily adapt to your new environment regardless of whether you came from Asia, America, or Europe. There will be changes but you have to embrace them.

Also Read: Philippine Embassy in Libya

We share in this blog the dos and don’ts that you need to remember when you are in Libya. These are simple things to consider. They are basic practices that you need to perform daily. You will see locals do gestures that are within and beyond their tradition or culture. The most important reason why you need to learn at least the dos and don’ts before you go to Libya is that there might be actions or gestures that are contrary to what you are accustomed to. For example, shaking hands in your country might be acceptable but not in Libya. Things like those make a big difference if you know them.

dos and donts in libya

Table of Contents

How to Behave in Libya

To behave in Libya, you must know the basics. What are the acceptable behaviors? What actions appear rude to the locals? If you know the answer to them, it’s easy to stay in Libya. Of all the laws and rules, there are basics that you should know first. Don’t make things complicated. Just simply follow the list we have here so you can have a good relationship with the locals or at least a good conversation when you are talking to them.

Do’s in Libya

The dos in Libya are simple. Here are the things you can practice everyday.

  • Give respect to elders at all times. This means that whenever you are driving in Libya, you have to stop and let them cross the streets. When you see elders crossing the streets, the basic thing to do is to cross with them until they are safe.
  • Give respect to women and their children, especially when they are crossing the streets. Like elders, you have to make sure that they cross safely on the streets. Do small gestures by crossing with them or stopping to allow them to pass when you are driving. This is a basic manner in Libya.
  • Butt in whenever you are in a shop or buying something. In most cases, locals or some people in Libya butt in when they are buying something from a shop. Falling in line is not really observed here. Remember that other people might butt in as well. You may do it first before them.
  • A close relationship with the locals can get you free passes. There’s a certain concept in Libya called “Wasta.” This means that when you are connected to the locals who have a big influence in the country, rules can be bent or things can be done more quickly. If you have connections in Libya, it’s not a bad thing at all to use it for your own benefit.
  • Respect how locals protect the dignity and honor of their families. You should always respect a local wherever family they came from. Don’t talk bad against them.
  • Libya is a Muslim state. Respect their religion and how people exercise their religion. So, whenever you are in a mosque, make sure to take off your shoes, respect those who are praying, and don’t make any nuisance that will disturb them.

Don’ts in Libya

If there are acceptable things, there are also “don’ts” that you should avoid doing. Here are they.

  • Don’t show the soles of your shoes to someone. This also translates to “Don’t point your feet to someone” as this is considered rude in this country. So, if you are eating out, don’t raise your feet or put it on the table. You might be disrespecting locals by this gesture.
  • Don’t respond to a bad driver in Libya. If you think road rules prevail in this country, think twice. There are bad drivers in Libya who don’t play by the rules. So, whenever you encounter them on the streets, just ignore them and give way. Also, when crossing the streets without traffic signs, be careful. Since bad driving is very common in the country, you might want to have your own safety measures.
  • Don’t fight with police who asks you to pull over. Libya is a country where cops use dirty strategies to extort money from drivers. If you get pulled over by a cop, just surrender your driver’s license and have it sorted out in your PR department. It’s easier to deal with things that way.
  • Don’t scold your children in public places. Libyans will think of you as a bad parent if you do this. For them, children are supposed to be taken care of, not humiliated or scolded. If you need to scold them, do it at your home.
  • Don’t let repairmen or tradesmen use your bathroom as they will leave it dirty.
  • Don’t schedule a business meeting too far away from the date you set. It’s fine with the locals to have the meeting scheduled days before you meet.
  • Don’t be late during business meetings. Libyans are punctual. They expect the same from expats. If you run late, a polite excuse is acceptable.

Tips when going to Libya

Remember all these things—the dos and don’ts—will help you once you are in Libya. If this is your first time in this country, you will need a lot of adjustments before you can say that you are settled in. Of course, adjusting your behaviors is one thing to do. If you have a guide on what to do or not to do, it’s easier for you to act. One way or another, you are going to interact with the locals. Ensure that you have this set of guidelines so you won’t look rude to them.


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