Maltese people can be an unpredictable bunch, and foreigners who get into a relationship with us have to expect the unexpected. We grilled a Facebook group of expats living in Malta who gave us their ten top tips for charting the course of love with a Maltese girl or guy.
“You need to get them to understand sarcasm.”
The bulk of Maltese sarcasm extends to saying “Mela!” in different tones of voice. Since we tend to take things literally, sometimes more complex forms of sarcasm have to be spelled out.
“Dating a guy who is in his 30s and lives at home can be hard.”
Maltese people take a longer time than people of other nationalities to fly the nest, and if your beloved, who is in their 30s, still lives with their parents, it can be a slightly bizarre experience. Which brings us to the next point…
“You’re often in a relationship with their parents as well.”
If your Maltese girlfriend or boyfriend’s parents don’t like you, they can make life pretty hard for both of you. If they like you, you’re golden. So how can you get the in-laws to like you?
“Don’t disagree with their family’s political views.”
Politics in Malta has a long way to go before it reaches the level of civilised and rational debate. If you’re dating someone from a true blue or red-till-dead family, saying anything against their party can be lethal. Saying the other party sucks? Guaranteed brownie points.
“Include yourself in their social circle.”
Maltese friendship circles are almost as tight-knit as families. When the Spice Girls sang “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends”, they had Maltese people in mind . But there’s also another problem you have to deal with…
“Get used to feeling a bit "left out" at family gatherings and friend reunions.”
Although Malta is a bilingual country, and there are many Maltese people for whom English is a first language, you may find yourself in situations where you can’t understand a word that’s being said – because everyone at the table is speaking Maltese. Don't get insulted or offended – 99 per cent of the time, it’s not done maliciously. Prepare to ask ‘what was that?’ until you’re blue in the face. Picking up a few Maltese words is extremely helpful – you can fill the rest in from hand gestures and facial expressions.
“Buy some ear defenders – they do shout a lot!”
THIS NEEDS NO EXPLAINING!!! MALTESE PEOPLE ARE VERY LOUD!!!
“They can be very jealous and possessive.”
It’s a Mediterranean trait, really – if we see someone ogling or chatting to our beloved for longer than they should be, we feel our hackles rising.
“You need to explain the world to them.”
As a tiny island nation, Maltese people sometimes tend to live in their own little bubble. You may find yourself stepping in and doing some explaining of stuff that’s obvious to you.
“Nod and smile when they say everything in Malta is perfect.”
Maltese people are often ridiculously patriotic, so if you need to criticise Malta, make sure you start small and work your way up. Complaining about traffic is a safe bet – everyone hates being stuck in bloody traffic.