I remember when I was going abroad that I wanted to be as “un-American” as possible. I wanted to blend in as well as to not offend any of the other cultures that I was going to be visiting.
So, I put together a list of American customs that can be considered rude in other cultures through some research and this Quora thread, I hope it is helpful, interesting, enlightening, and a little funny.
In Japan and South Korea tipping is seen as an insult.
2. Sitting in the back of a cab
In Australia, New Zealand, parts of Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands it is rude not to ride shotgun.
3. Throwing a thumbs-up
If you give a thumbs up in the Middle East, Latin America, Western Africa, Russia, or Greece, you are basically giving them the middle finger.
4. Laughing with your mouth open
If you laugh with your mouth open in Japan it is considered impolite.
5. Saying your from America, not the United States
If you say you’re from America while in South America, it is considered rude and that you don’t believe there should be another “America.”
6. Being fashionably late
In countries like Germany, not being on time is considered rude and a waste of your guests time.
7. Being on time
However, in South America, if you arrive on-time it is considered a sign of disrespect.
8. Using your left hand for actions
If you do anything in Africa, India, Sri Lanka, or the Middle East it is considered a sign of disrespect because they use their left hand for “bathroom duties.”
9. Opening a present immediately
In asian countries, if you open the gift immediately in front of the person who gave it to you it is considered greedy.
10. Wearing “athleisure” in public
Wearing leggings, sweatpants, baseball caps, or wrinkly clothes is a sign of sloppiness in Asian and European countries.
11. Showing the soles of your feet
In countries that are Arab, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist showing the soles of your feet is a sign of disrespect.
12. Drinking someone else’s alcohol
In Norway, when you go to a party it is rude to drink someone else’s alcohol. Only drink the alcohol that you brought personally.
13. Finishing your meal
If you finish your meal in China, the Philippines, Thailand, or Russia it tells the host that they didn’t provide you with enough food, and they will continue to provide more.