Are We That Disliked?

I know that there are certain general stereotypes of every different country in the Arab region and certain countries dislike some people more then the others but I always had the delusional thought that we were more on the liked scale like Bahrainis or Emaratis, but turns out I was very wrong. We were in Dubai for the weekend for MEFCC or simply Dubai Comic Con which was a lot of fun and I will be posting pics later. We also went out with some friends to a few places and for dinner a few times, and they all live in Dubai and one of the questions we asked them is who they disliked the most from the Gulf Nations, and surprisingly Kuwait was the first to spring up. Even after several questions it seems that Kuwait is first then Saudis second which shocked me. I always thought Saudi were first, then Qatari, then us, but turns out I was completely wrong. There seems to be general dislike for Kuwaitis in Dubai which I didn’t think was even there, never even thought about it, they say we are snobbish and think we are better then everyone else in the Gulf, and that we are very rude. Even the receptionist asked my friend where he is from when he was checking out he said he is Kuwaiti, she said that is surprising, he asked why and she said that usually Kuwaitis are angry and rude to her, she was from an Eastern European country. One note Omanis are one of the most liked in the whole region as they are very polite and nice to everyone and I have to agree they are very nice people.

Are we really that bad, is our whole population that rude to the rest of the world that we develop that sort of reputation. I always thought that we were liked and we treated people well to a degree. Some of ours friends say Dubai is great because everything is fine and you can have fun nobody would bother you as long as you don’t get into an altercation with a local, but Kuwaitis don’t leave people alone and we are rude. I was honestly very embarrassed to hear all that, and they said it to us in the nicest way, this is some of our good friends and a few people we met for the first time.

Link: Flickr

A guy who is just trying to enjoy life!


  1. You’d be surprised how far our dislike reaches.

    1. Miami, April 2010 – I struck up conversation with some staff members in a store. When they asked where I was from and I said Kuwait, they said there was “no way” I could be Kuwaiti because all the Kuwaitis they’d met were rude, disrespectful and talked lowly to everyone but themselves.
    2. London, June 2011 – the same scenario I went through in Miami happened with a Canadian sales assistant at Selfridges. She refused to believe I was Kuwaiti because of the negative experiences she continuously deals/dealt with.
    3. Paris, July 2011 – many more complaints from staff in luxury stores about Kuwaitis being condescending and downright obnoxious in the way they deal with others.

    I’ve actually been told on several occasions that I shouldn’t tell others I’m Kuwaiti so I can actually avoid the negative stereotypes associated with it. One person in Frankfurt told me that I gave her newfound hope that good Kuwaitis actually exist because all the ones she’s come across are bad eggs. I find this really embarrassing; there’s just over a million of us in the world and we’ve already established a bad reputation worldwide.

    We don’t have to look too far, though. Look at how we Kuwaitis treat each other here: from behind ministry desks to on the road, many people just seem to be on the offensive and are way too quick to get aggressive. Whatever happened to being laid-back and calm?

    Kuwait was once known as the land of friendship. I wonder what slogan we’ve picked up now.

  2. kuwaitatease

    Nice point you bring up.. I am an expat so my comment tends to have a bias.. but my two cents.. I used to live in Dubai a while back and a lot of us shared this view about the average Kuwaiti. A typical example I wish to highlight.. ..if you are in a long queue at a traffic signal in Dubai (and traffic was a biatch when I was there 4 years back), all of us would wait for our turn and remain in the queue – expat, arab, asian or Emarati, corolla or ferrari or truck.
    There would usually be the odd car that tries to jump this queue or use the hard shoulder to go upfront.. and almost always it would be a Kuwait registered car.. some tourist on holiday! I am not kidding. He would run the red light not caring a darn for those who follow the rules etc. You see this so very often. I am not even suggesting that the Emaratis don’t do stuff like that.. but with them it is an exception rather than the norm.
    Back in Dubai, the most important aspect is that there is far more respect for others/ nationalities be it Arab or even South East Asian.

    Perhaps over time things will change.

    All said and done, before moving into Kuwait I was told about what to expect over here, the rash, rude and brash Kuwaiti etc etc. Touchwood, till date I have been pleasantly surprised and never had an upleasant experience. I hope that remains the same !
    God bless your country for it gave me and my family a chance to earn a livlihood.

  3. Al-Marzouq

    Lol, try Beirut, Amman, London and Cairo then….. we gave ourselves a very bad rep all over the middle east and Europe. To be honest in some situations it is borderline embarrassing to say ur from Kuwait. And trust me it is an uphill struggle if u try to convince or persuade ppl that not all kuwaities r like that….. the evidence is all against u!

  4. valencia

    i have to agree with the fact that we are most hated unfortunately. I’ve studied in the us for the past 5 years and during my bachelors i made friends with a lot of khalijis (Kuwaitis were a minority there, it was 4 of us when we started). Anyway Every khaliji i met seemed to have that same idea which is a shame really..

  5. I have to admit that its very true. As a foreigner sometimes people are very frank with me when they talk about Kuwaitis and their attitude. I’ve heard this from hotel staff in Seef area while I was working in Manama, Bahrain and also in U.A.E

    Fortunately for me all the Kuwaiti guys I’ve worked with were real nice guys with good education and a nice sense of humor but maybe the tourists visiting other Gulf countries may not be the same and that’s probably why you guys have a bad rep.

    There’s bad apples in every society dude so don’t sweat it ;)

  6. Dorian Johnson

    Any “expat” is probably familiar with this general dislike of Kuwaiti people but to read about other GCC people expressing that to a Kuwaiti person directly is interesting. I am an American who lived in Kuwait in the 80’s (my father had got hired by the University of Kuwait as an English professor to teach, change and improve the English program in those days) and then back recently from late 2006 to 2011 mostly as a contractor. Like it would be the case in any other country with immigrants or “expats”, I guess that the foreigners are more aware of these kinds of issues from an “outsider” perspective than the people of that country. One reason is that these kinds of subjects will be more freely talked about between foreigners than one of the latter expressing that to a citizen of the country that is hosting him or her. However, as it is the case most of the time, these types of comments or perspectives are not really objective but rather based and built on subjective personal experiences, the bad ones always remaining more permanent than the good ones that we take for granted. One can say that OK you might be right but why is it that the majority of people complain or have that image about the Kuwaiti people? I answer that it might be because of the mass spreading of this “reputation” and how it will affect the way the person approaches the affair and the mind set that the person will develop before going to Kuwait, to keep the example at hand. In short if everything (or almost everything) you heard about Kuwaitis is negative than that is what you will be expecting and unconsciously looking for and retaining. Yes there are rude, arrogant and ignorant people like everywhere else but I travelled enough in my life to not listen to the “hype” and get caught up in stereotypes and generalizations! To use the argument of personal experience that I was referring to earlier, I will use my example. I have nice memories from my early years in Kuwait when my father was working there so when I returned in 2006 I approached the affair with a positive attitude and was delighted by my experience! The Kuwaiti people treated me very well generally speaking and we have to remember we are guests in a country that is not ours and we have to be grateful for having the possibility to work and live there. For those that know me and disagree, they will say yes but you are Muslim (I converted close to 17years ago) and American on top of that so that is why you “fit in” so well. However this re-enforces my argument: the view you have of a people will be based on personal experiences, depending on your background and mentality these will vary. As I said, usually general negative stereotypes will be made by personal experiences “gone south” and unhappy people will be more virulent to express their discontentment and negative streams will most likely always propagate faster than positive ones…And we are all guilty of that to some degree, for example I have lived over 20 years in France, love the “geographical France” but I am not too keen of French people and their mentality based on my personal experience there. So when people find out I lived there they ask me and I give them, let us say, a piece of my mind. However when sharing my negative thoughts on the French with a Kuwaiti person that has been there many times, he had nothing bad to say about the way he was treated there and enjoyed his trips and experience …So all I am trying to say is that we have to be careful about falling into stereotypes and try to be fair as much as possible in our speech and actions even after having a bad experience…Food for thought: Do you think that after meeting you guys, is the receptionist going to use your good example next time someone talks bad about Kuwaitis? Or is she just going to choose to remember the “bad Kuwaiti people” she encountered?

  7. abdul rahman

    as an expat i must say that 90% of kuwaitis are rude,and think that we all are low…seriously dont feel bad but truth is always bitter

  8. Can’t blame them. We don’t care to get national anthems right for international sporting events and we have also recently had a diplomat caught urinating on Tony Blair’s home in the UK. Can we catch a break?

  9. boyousef

    we have to love each other before others love us .

  10. Dave

    Well written again, and to tell you the truth I was under the same thought as you, that Kuwait wasn’t the best liked but not the most hated. There are rude Kuwaitis, but not all of course, met good and bad. Also after reflecting on this article I believe that living here as an expat, I have become ruder just because of the surroundings and the interactions with all people in the country, (seems like everybody is angry) so I can see where other countries could say that Kuwaitis are rude. You really don’t notice it until you look it from the outside, maybe things will change for the better with this article.

  11. expataussiegal

    I have also been the recipient of such comments about Kuwaitis when travelling abroad once my country of residence has been mentioned.I agree with you Dave, after living here for some time I have also become ruder, more aggressive and less tolerant. It’s a sad fact that the perception abroad is basically true from my experience.

  12. @Khaled – Yeah I can relate to how you have had some experiences like that and I have too, but I didn’t think it was that bad in the region! Seriously for people to be this rude and disliked is really bad but look at how it is in any Ministry Complex, fighting and very mean people!

    @kuwaitatease – Thank you for your kind words, and your right it isn’t as bad here but we have a little bit more idiots then can be expected which is very sad! And the article you just sent regarding the idiot pissing on the PM’s house is just ridiculous, come on, you are representing a country, thats just embarassing!

    @Al-Marzouq – I know exactly what you mean! It is an uphill battle and I always keep trying! I’m proud of Kuwait but not of these recent idiots!

    @valencia – It is a shame, well I hoped you managed to change their minds!

    @Mathai – Its good you had a good experience or a decent one, but overall its still very disturbing, we have our bad apples but I didn’t think it was this bad. Turns out a good Kuwaiti is the exception not the rule!

    @Dorian Johnson – Thank you very much for sharing your experience and I really appreciate your input, and I for one am happy you got a good experience in Kuwait. It’s sad that a lot of people can’t say the same, and I have to agree with you regarding the French though! Love the country not the poeople!

    @abdul rahman – it is a very sad truth! I for one hopes that it changes!

    @elwehbi – Very true!

    @boyousef – You said it so perfectly! Why do so many Kuwaitis hate other Kuwaitis! For no reason!

    @Dave -It is very sad that things have to be this way, you are right, people are just a bit too aggressive!

    @expataussiegal – Wish there was a way to mend things, Kuwait wasn’t like this a long time ago, people were happier and more content

  13. 3azeez

    You’re surprised that they dislike us?

    When their Dubai started developing, we started getting jealous and said loudly that Kuwait is the gulf pearl.

    When Dubai started getting international we got more jealous and were very vocal and loud about being developed at the time they were still living in a Desert… and constantly mentioning that back in 1990 when we were there (and before when we mistakenly visited them) they were just a desert and one road.

    When Dubai proved itself, we exceeded the jealousy stage and reached the frustration stage. We started complaining to our government for not being as good as Dubai. Though this is too late cuz Emarati people already had it with our attitude.

    When we became vocal this time against our government and asked them to follow the footsteps of Dubai in development, our media (including government media channels)in addition to desperate some of us… we started saying things like we gave them/donated teaching materials and that the notebooks they had were from us, that we paid for their creek expansion which helped their seaport, that built their first broadcast station, and stuff like that….

    how did Dubai respond?
    Today, our kids study in our government schools with books that we pay for with our own money yet they have the Emarati government logo on them. They took down the Kuwaiti council (which ran all Kuwaiti assistants to dubai from the heart of dubai) and paved a parking lot on its location, and they – just few months ago after KTV ran report about our assistants to Dubai – the son of Mohammad Bin Rashid showed up on tv with a red button in front of him, he pushed it and the camera moved on to that antenna that we prouded ourselves of giving to Dubai and it was getting blown down.

    They completely wiped our marks from their not so distant past. They had every right of course… because of our attitude, and because they’re making a new history for themselves.

    Plus there is no one better in hiding and wiping away his history more than us Kuwaitis.

    nuff said.

  14. @3azeez – Wow 3azeez, thanks for all the details, I honestly didn’t know all that! I know some of the things that we did but not that they went ahead blew it up and wiped out everything that we did! We honestly did it to build political relations not to destroy what little we had.

    Seriously we are a very sad state and not being able to get out of it. Our country as it is will not move forward or benefit any time soon if we remain with this mentality and at this stage.

  15. jewaira

    That’s why Kuwaitis should set a good example whenever possible wherever they are

  16. @jewaira – Hey Jewaira! Long time! And I agree with you 100%!!!

  17. unKnown

    I’m not surprised at all. I’m Kuwaiti and i still think that we have many rude people, not saying all. The problem with Kuwaitis is that they never want to meet anyone, always heads up high and don’t give a damn about other people, thinking they’re the best in the world. With other Kuwaiti’s that are more open, you will see that those are the guys that give the best impressions.

    We are just too conservative and don’t have many open-minded people.

  18. kuwaitatease

    big way forward would be for the people of this country to start listening to what the others have to say.. …other views, other voices etc… the world is a far different place than what is seen in the confines of Kuwait.. reality is far more humbling.. ..there is so much out there that you will have to see sooner rather than later.

  19. furuta

    i’ve been working here in kuwait for the past 10 years ( restaurant and retail industry ) the rudest are the trying hard lebanese and egyptian citizens….

  20. @unKnown – Its not just about being open minded or not, in reality its about manners and how they handle themselves! People can be openminded yet very rude, and that I have seen. There is no concept of common courtesy or human decency at times! Very disturbing!

    @kuwaitatease – Very true, there needs to be more communication, and less closed off!

    @furuta – I can imagine, I have dealt with the retail and restaurant industry in Kuwait, and they are extremely rude!

  21. CK

    Been reading this thread with some interest, and wanted to put my two bits in.

    There is a very fine line in having pride for your country and being arrogant about it. Sadly, in Kuwait’s case, the line is more crossed than not. All said and done, as Marzouq said, if a good kuwaiti is the exception than the rule…. it’s not exactly a shining future, is it?

  22. Mostapha

    How many people have you asked before coming up with this false conclusion. I don’t think we’re disliked or seen as arrogant in anyway,and I’ve been to all of the countries that are posted in these comments. I went to Dubai a couple of months ago and when I went to get my passport stamped, the officer greeted me by saying at last a Kuwaiti has arrived, and that he has seen enough Saudi’s for one day. Clearly the most hated country in the UAE and Bahrain is Saudi Arabia and not Kuwait, and we all know the reasons for that.

  23. @CK – I believe in one important thing, there is always hope to improve things! As it stands I always try to do the right thing! You are very much right about crossing the line but there is always hope!

    @Mostapha – The officers are always very courteous and honestly I asked a lot of people of different nationalities, from the GCC and other countries, it seems we do have a very bad reputation among a lot of people! Saudis are not the worst of the bunch from my understanding, not as bad as Kuwaitis in this case. Maybe in Bahrain its a different story but in most places its quite a different story.

  24. anonymous

    I agree. We are rude, snobbish, and think we are kings of the world.

    I am Kuwaiti from both my mother and father’s side. I don’t think we have a non-Kuwaiti in the family at all. I don’t look Kuwaiti though, especially when my hair is dyed blonde. I get treated really badly IN KUWAIT until they hear me speak or see my civil ID/passport. I get treated exceptionally well from thereon. This is a great indicator of how disrespectful Kuwaitis are to anyone but themselves.

    There is also something in the manner Kuwaitis speak and carry themselves that screams snob. It is also that we are too obsessed with materialism and having the most expensive. It is that we feel ENTITLED to anything we want, when we want, the way we want.

    Sadly I don’t see it getting better. Mother nowadays are only interested in dressing up their kids to show them off rather than instilling ethics and manners in them. Their children are always right, the teacher is always wrong. Most mothers nowadays have that “my son is never wrong” mentality. Kids are growing up spoiled as hell, entitled, and manner-less.

    And this is what saddens me most about Kuwait. The lack of ethics, morals, and manners. Kuwaiti youth have a lot of attitude but no character whatsoever.

    Ofcourse, this does not apply to every single Kuwait… but I believe it’s a fair statement on the majority from what I have seen and experienced.

  25. @anonymous – What you said makes a lot of sense it a lot of it is true! “Kids are growing up spoiled as hell, entitled, and manner-less.” That is a very true statement and it is very saddening to see us going down this route! Its going to take a nasty bite for us to change the way some of these people are, and I hope it never comes to that!

  26. CK

    @marzouq – Totally agree with you. You have to have hope. There’s no point to life apart from hope. So here’s to hoping that your great nature and outlook to life spreads like “an epidemic”(just joking!) to all Kuwaitis….

  27. @CK – Lol! Lets be hopeful it does spread! There always has to be hope!

  28. Poesia

    Kuwait has so much to offer but unfortunately Kuwaitis ruin it, they make it hard for people to live here you are not very welcoming or perhaps you are welcoming towards certain nationalities.
    I speak from experience, I have seen such bad behavior in particular ladies they are really rude, loud and have a very colorful language when it comes to arguing. Men are just the same I guess.
    People don’t like Kuwaitis because they think they are better than anyone else, just because the country is rich, does not give them the right to treat everyone else as a 3rd class citizen. They have double standards, they think they are above the law, but this is not their fauls but the fault of the government, it spoils them they, and they become lazier and lazier the new generation is a lost generation. They take everything for granted.
    They need to learn to respect people, regardless of the nationality; they should be fare when it comes to jobs and pay, they should learn to work and not only management position but as laborers there is no shame in a good honest job.
    They should put themselves in other people’s shoes once in a while and see if they would like the same treatment they give to others.

  29. poesia

    how come my comment was removed?

  30. @Poesia – Hello! Sorry your comment wasn’t deleted, it was put on pending approval! My site isn’t used to long comments, but your opinion is appreciated. And you are right, there are those who think they are above the law and those who treat others as 3rd class citizens, not all of us are like that but the few bad apples out there are ruining it for the rest. A lot of these people are lacking respect and they are very rude, it drives me nuts!

  31. Let’s take a step back, and avoid what other nationalities/countries think about us (Kuwaitis). Let’s start with the root of it all, us!

    In this country, the average citizen feels obliged to prove superiority over others, even among Kuwaitis. For example:

    My car/clothing/hair style/general health & fitness/ education / reputation (can be family reputation) / intellectual knowledge / salary / job position -> is better than yours.
    Please note the list extends to anything and everything.

    This is not to say competition is unhealthy; however, someone constantly needing to prove to others his or her self worth actually suffers from poor self image.

    Think about it! Why else would someone go about bragging and believe they are superior ?

    Here’s an interesting fact:
    In Western Societies, the average person reads the news paper to
    –>Educate Themselves<–
    on many things, such as (but not limited to):

    -Economical situation
    -Important business opportunities
    -National/International news

    However, even though a Kuwaiti has the same format newspaper, they read it mainly to have something to talk about in the Dewaniya .

    I just realized that this topic can go on for hours and I'm going to have to cut it short due to errands I need to run.

    If anything is to be taken out of this, it's to stop believing you are above everyone else.

  32. @MellowMood – What you have said has a lot of truth to it! The problem is that the majority do not believe in the golden rule, treat others and you would treat yourself, or something like that. Being courteous went out the window, its just gotten worse over the years. I just have hope that things will turn around and that the bad people are not the majority!

  33. Angie

    As an American here, I don’t always have good things to say about my fellow countrymen and women. Most I’ve met are wonderful, generous people who work hard and play hard. But it seems to be that handful that gives the rest of us a bad name.
    I just ended a relationship with a Kuwaiti man, and I have not been so upset over a breakup in many years. I thought because he had been educated in the states and he was introduced to me by a friend that he wouldn’t be like many of the local men about which I’ve not heard good things. But he is just one person. I think the women are lovely. Wherever I go, they smile and are friendly. I would actually like to become friends with some Kuwaiti females, but they don’t seem interested.
    Bottom line – I think Kuwaitis are like people all over the world. Most are nice, but some are not so nice.

  34. @Angie – Dear Angie, Thank you for your kind and understanding words, even when going through this type of relationship you still seem to have a positive attitude which I can appreciate! Like you said there are bad apples and good ones! Thank you

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