Taarof is not only very known tradition among Iranians but also it’s very dear to some. It makes Iranian culture one of the highest contextual cultures in the world. Nothing will be said verbally but you should recognize when someone is sincerely offering you something or they are just trying to be polite. From receiver point of view, you have to decline the offer at least once before accepting it; otherwise, you are considered to be rude. Also, there are other forms of expressions and slangs that we use to adore each other without really mean it. Depending on which region in Iran you are coming from, the level of taarof varies greatly. I believe people from Esfahan practicing taarof religiously.
Taarof really makes me uncomfortable. Even when I was in Iran, I wasn’t that good in doing it. I can blame that on my parents since they are not that good in doing it either. Both of my parents studied abroad before they got married. They easily picked up the non-taarof culture back then.
When they moved back to Iran and got married, it took them a while to start practicing taarof again. They were newlywed when my grandmother (my mom’s mother) decides to visit them one morning. That morning my dad bought some haleem (a very popular Persian dish - everyone loves it) for breakfast. When she arrives at their place my parents are having breakfast. So, they offer her to join them. My grandmother has been living in Tehran most of her life but she always kept her Esfahanian version of tarrof. Although she didn’t have breakfast that morning, she told my parents that she had already eaten, waiting to hear the offer for the second time. However, she was only offered the tea and my parents finished haleem by themselves. About 15 years later, I heard this story from my grandmother for the first time and since then I have heard it hundred times from my parents. Every time, they all laugh when they tell the story. My grandmother never tarrof when she visits us.