Cultures are different; from East to West literally everything changes when it comes to tradition and cultures. American culture is also different from other countries.
America and other countries got few customs or tradition in common, but there are many different things which Americans do casually, but it might be offensives in some countries and culture. Americans do not think twice about what gesture they are making; it can be significantly offensive to others.
Well, don’t worry if you are going on a world trip and thinking what to do or what no to do, Well just read this article.
Table of Contents
- 20 American Customs That May Be Offensive In Other Countries.
- 1. Tipping
- 2. Sitting in the back of a cab
- 3. Showing Thumbs –Up
- 4. Laughing with your mouth open
- 5. Calling the United States of America, “America”
- 6. Being Late
- 7. Having a hand in your pocket
- 8. Using your Left hand
- 9. Opening a Present immediately
- 10. Wearing Flip-Flops or Caps or Wrinkly clothing in public
- 11. Showing your feet
- 12. Keep your Shoes on
- 13. Men showing skin
- 14. Eating anywhere that does not serve food
- 15. Public Display of Affection
- 16. Asking Certain Questions
- 17. Refusing Food
- 18. Not Declining Gifts
- 19. Finishing your meal
- 20. Blowing your nose
20 American Customs That May Be Offensive In Other Countries.
Tipping is very causal in the United States of America, and it is like an untold rule. Americans love “Tipping”, but it is not a case of all countries. Countries like Japan and South Korea have a different set of perspective towards Tipping. South Koreans and Japanese consider Tipping as an insult to their work. They feel that it an insult to them and their job, they love what they do and take pride in it, and they do not need an extra incentive for their work.
2. Sitting in the back of a cab
In the United States of America, when you call a cab, you pull the back door and sit just like a reflex. It is nothing; it is a normal thing. However, this American thing can be little offensive or people might not consider it as a “Good Manner”. In Australia, New Zealand and some parts of Scotland, Ireland, and Netherlands, it is considered as rude when you sit in back seat. It is a matter of egalitarianism.
3. Showing Thumbs –Up
Showing a Thumbs-Up is perfectly normal in the United States of America and most parts of the world. Showing Thumbs-Up is a gesture of showing that you like this stuff, or a gesture of your acceptance or agreeing to something without uttering a word but it is not the case in Middle Eastern countries, Few Latin American countries and also in Russia and Greece. Showing Thumbs-Up in these countries means same what Middle-Finger means in the United States of America. So if you are in these countries try not to piss them off by showing your Thumb.
4. Laughing with your mouth open
Laughing is very important to us, and we should laugh our hearts out but not in Japan. Americans are pretty straight forward when it comes to laughing; the USA got a great sense of humor, and they show it as well. In Japan laughing with your mouth open is considered as a manner-less laugh. You might have a pearly set of teeth, but ii will be still called as “Horse like Laugh” or impolite. The American counterpart of this is “Open Mouth Eating”.
5. Calling the United States of America, “America”
People from the United States of America introduce themselves as “Americans” when they are meeting other people, but it might be taken as an offence in South America. Saying that you are from America, rather than the USA implies that the USA is America and South America is not worth of the title. It is also politically incorrect. So when in South America, be careful.
6. Being Late
Many people get late due to some circumstances, and many just are fashionably late, it might not be taken seriously in the United States of America, but it is a hell of a deal for Germans. Being late, even for few minutes in Germany is something unacceptable. Making people wait is something which is not a part of German Culture if you are making someone wait it implies that your time is more valuable than everyone else’s, and you might lose your creditability.
7. Having a hand in your pocket
Drinking your coffee and chilling with one hand in your pocket, that is soo American. You will be surprised to know that even this relaxing way is considered as improper in some countries. In Turkey, having one hand in your pocket shows that you are arrogant. That is the same case in South Korea as well. You didn’t see that coming did you?
8. Using your Left hand
Not every culture uses toilet paper to wipe after doing the usual business in the toilet. South Asian countries, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Middle Eastern, use water for the same business and left hand. This is why they do not consider using the left hand for doing anything. Especially eating, so if you are visiting an Indian family, try to use right hand.
9. Opening a Present immediately
Opening gift immediately shows your greediness, not in the USA but notably in China and India. China and India take their gift exchanging system very seriously and in both culture tearing the gift immediately or opening it in front of gift giver is a poor form. It implies that you are not a person with manners, and you are greedy.
10. Wearing Flip-Flops or Caps or Wrinkly clothing in public
Flip-Flops are the most American thing which you can wear and Cap, Americans live for Baseball Caps. A typical Baseball game considers flip-flop wearing folks with Baseball caps and a Hot Dog. In Some part of Europe and Japan wearing Caps and Flip-Flops are taken as a way of manner-less clothing. It is also considered as disrespectful. Wearing sloppy clothes or wrinkly clothes are also not seen in a good light.
11. Showing your feet
It is not something that whole America does, but the point is that American’s do not care whether you show them your feet or not, it is not a big deal. It kind of is when it comes to the Asian cultures and in the Arab world. Showing someone your feet symbolizes of showing disrespect towards the person. It is very prominent in Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist households.
12. Keep your Shoes on
American culture does not particularly tell you to remove your shoes when you enter someone’s home. In most Asian countries, including Japan, China, India, Pakistan, etc and in the Caribbean nation, their culture expects you to enter with your shoes off. It is something you should keep in mind when you are entering someone’s home in Sub-continent and in the Caribbean.
13. Men showing skin
Women showing skin is uncommon in many countries, but Men showing skin is also unacceptable in few cultures. Americans love to be topless, laying at the beach and drinking their favorite drink but in South Korea, it is unacceptable for Men to be topless. You will see most Men wearing shirt or T-Shirts at beaches. Keep your shirt with you when you visit a beach in South Korea.
14. Eating anywhere that does not serve food
In the United States of America, it is perfectly all right to eat while walking or sitting on the bench in a park. You can buy Burger and sit in the park with your Hot Coffee and newspaper, and you can enjoy your day but in Rwanda and Japan, this is not the case. If you want to enjoy your meal, you have to eat where you got served. Eating anywhere that isn’t restaurant, bar or eating joint is considered as rude. Not just this, if you are eating in the bus, or while walking, people will think that you are rude.
15. Public Display of Affection
Public Display of Affection is pretty common in the United States of America, if not PDA, Hugging and touching is very common in the USA. Many countries do not see PDA, Hugging, and Touching same as the USA, in India, Pakistan, China, and in the Middle East, it is seen as obscene and offensive. Visiting these countries you should respect their public and moral values.
16. Asking Certain Questions
In Netherlands, asking questions like “What do you do?” is not something from their social protocol. It is reckoned as insulting to the other individuals. By far, in the USA it is perfectly common to ask about someone else’s job or his work, it is one of the common conversation starters. However, in Netherlands people take their work seriously, very seriously. It is socially unacceptable to ask these type of questions in Netherlands.
17. Refusing Food
In America people refuses food to make it easier for their hosts, that is amazing and caring but in the Middle East it might be taken as an offence. In Countries like Lebanon, it is very rude to refuse food offered by your host. Technically rejecting anything can be taken as an offence but when it comes to food, it is incredibly rude to refuse. Keep eating when you are a guest in Lebanon.
18. Not Declining Gifts
Gifts are part of the American tradition; Americans love to exchange gifts. From Christmas to Thanksgiving, people just love gifts. Well, it is the story of everywhere in the world. However, there is a difference, Americans are quick to accept gifts, just like a reflex, In Japanese and Chinese culture, it is seen as a greedy behavior if you accept the gift for the first time. Not just with the gifts, invitations or any other offering, decline few times before you accept it. But don’t do it many times otherwise, you would lose the gift.
19. Finishing your meal
During dinner finishing your mean completely shows that you love the food of your host and enjoyed so much that you could not spare a single bite. In China, the Philippines, Thailand, and Russia, the story is little different, if you have polished your meal it means that your host has failed to provide you enough food, and you are still hungry. It is a matter of self-respect of your host, so when you are visiting these countries try to respect their feeling.
20. Blowing your nose
Blowing your nose is something disgusting in the USA, but people do. Well, that is something a guy with blowing nose cannot resist, it is a viral infection, and it need to be taken care of. But this disgusting habit is on a higher level in few countries. China, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, blowing your nose in public means rude and significantly considered as repulsive.