If you believe that most Americans are easygoing and can say whatever pleases them, you are damn wrong because that happens to be a myth far from the truth. The majority of Americans are traditional; they are not comfortable talking about some things, travellers that throng the country do some things that make Americans uneasy.
When you tickle a local with a falcon feather, you have done something bad. So before you step into America, get yourself familiarized with American culture if you want an excellent reception all through your stay in the land. As a foreigner, you could commit a culture-related mistake, and this type of social mistake is called a faux pas.
We shall be considering 10 American faux pas or American culture no-nos. If you are student planning to study abroad in US, then this is for you.
10. Do Not give someone a dead fish
It is customary to shake hands in the American culture for both men and women as a sign of friendship. When you come across new acquaintances, it is customary to shake hands, which happens among coworkers. It can also extend to a hug depending on your closeness with the person.
Your handshake is expected to be firm, especially when you are about to say goodbye. However, there is a clause to this; your handshake should not discomfort the person’s fingers.
Where your handshake is too strong, then you are giving the person a dead fish! Do not go beyond a firm grip that will not break the other person’s hands.
9. When You Fail To Make Eye Contact
Americans value the concept of body language. So when you are speaking with them in a conversation, they expect your gaze to be on them. It does not necessarily mean that you are staring at them like a frightened salmon, but you maintain decent eye contact during discussions.
Do not look at your wristwatch during a discussion with an American, or else you would have committed a strong faux pas.
8. Calling & Answering Every Phone Call During Conversation
While discussing with an American, do not answer a phone call unless it is important. Better to dismiss the incoming call or put your phone in silent/vibration to concentrate on the discussion. If you are to make a call, call the person not more than two times when you did not respond with your first call. The person will call back when the situation at his/her end permits.
7. Do Not Reach across the table
Do not reach for anything while you are at the dining with an American. Your hand should by no means pass across another person’s plate or in front of it. It is a grievous offence in the US that can cost you your life! Ask for what you needed, and it will be given to you at dinner. Do not eat from another person’s plate either.
6. On Burping And Elbows
Be extra careful not to Burp at the table in the US because it represents a big faux pas. Likewise, never commit the error of resting your elbows on the table if you do not want to overstay your welcome on American soil.
If you are from Asian countries such as China, then be conscious of this particular American culture no-no! Because burping at table in China or Taiwan means you like the food!
5. On Tipping
You are expected to tip in American restaurants and bars. Exempted from this rule are fast food joints like KFC or Burger King; every other service job relies on tips. Your return will be difficult for such places if you do not tip.
4. Pushing Your Choices On People
America is a land where freedom in everything is respected. Never commit the error of asking people to eat your choice at dinner in America. Do not put anything on your own accord in their plate and never ask if they needed something twice. There is freedom of choice in America, and Americans greatly value it. That makes the American culture stand-out.
American is a place of mixed culture of several races spread across the whole world. The issue of racism is buried in their past; if you show hatred for certain people in America, you will be in big shit-ass as they call it over there. So keep your differences to yourself and never utter a word of it if you do not want to risk faux pas.
2. Do Not Be Too Critical Of Their culture
If you must criticize the American culture, it should be within trusted and close pals. But, of course, there is freedom of speech, right. Still, if you as a visitor begins to open your mouth wide in criticism of the culture of the Americans, the average American will not take it lightly and you will not make any friends over there which is not ideal for your stay as a visitor.
1. On Haggling / Trying To Bargain
There is no room for bargaining in America. If you want to purchase the second hand 1937 Mustang from your neighbour, for instance, there will be some form of haggling to bring down the asking price. This haggling is never the case in shops and markets where there are price tags on every item put on display.
Conclusion: American Culture
So if you are a first-time visitor to the US and want to enjoy every second of your stay in the States, you have to consider all the ten faux pas related American culture and ensure that you stay in line to make the best out of your visit.
The other interesting read would be about the usage of the word fuck in the US. If you play strictly by the rules while there in this famed land of freedom, you will live with great memories for a long time in America. Cheers to your successive stay in the US!