Do you want to shift to US? Or you might be simply planning a trip to the States. But are you aware of the things that must never be done there?
There are some “unwritten rules” that everyone should know. And that includes travelers, not just locals. So it pays to do your homework.
For our first assignment, let’s go through the comments under a post on the subreddit r/AskAnAmerican, where a now-deleted user asked people to share these customs.
Don’t get sick. Our healthcare will cost you a fortune.
Do not cut in line. We are not British, we won’t just shake our heads and mutter under our breath. Americans will absolutely start a fight over line cutting. It will become a whole big thing, people will film it on their phones, and boom! There you are all over [internet], getting beat up because you couldn’t just wait your turn in line for a few minutes
Don’t wear the red hats.
The word c*nt is lot more offensive in the US (and Canada) than in other English-speaking nations. Don’t use it casually
That whole trespassers will be shot thing is not a joke
The price marked on the shelf does not include taxes. What you see is not what you pay.
21 is the Legal Drinking Age. Don’t try to reason convince the bartender that it’s 18 back “home”. It’s not that they’re being difficult just to be difficult. Their jobs and possibly the liquor license of the establishment (which is super extremely incredibly crazily difficult to get in some places) could be revoked over something as small as this.
Don’t dine at a sit down/table service restaurant and not tip just to make a point.
Not the way things are done in your country? Great! Part of the fun of travel is experiencing other cultures. You should embrace the opportunity to experience our primitive way of life first hand.
Back in my MMO days a scottish friend of mine went to Atlanta once and called a black guy ‘boy’. I guess you just call people boy in Scotland?
Yeah but do not call black people boy. Its perceived as racist / talking down to them and its a good way to get in a fight. Especially in the South
Don’t take selfies at memorials honoring the dead.
I just about threw up from all the selfie sticks at the world trade center memorial in NY.
NEVER pass an unloading school bus. When those stop signs flap out, you’ve got to wait until those little crotch goblins get off the bus until you even think of moving again. Whether it’s hitting a pedestrian child, getting a nasty ticket, or just the absolute looks of disgust you’ll warrant, it won’t be worth it.
Don’t complain that taxes aren’t included in the price. I know it’s annoying, but the poor souls who have to work retail didn’t set U.S. tax policy.
If you’re driving and get pulled over, DO NOT get out of the car. Roll down your window and wait for the police officer to walk up to your car. Keep your hands visible (resting on the steering wheel).
Don’t f**king use racial slurs. Good lord, I work in the service industry with lots of people from China and they’ll just say the N-word with the hard R (or just s**tty racist stuff in general) and will be confused as to why people get pissed off.
While America’s race relations are strained at best, it’s completely unacceptable to voice your racist opinions in public. If you choose to do it anyway, you will be completely ostracized – and any people who are accepting of it are probably s**tty racists themselves. Yikes.
Treat wildlife with respect, you will see it everywhere and it is generally dangerous or can kill you.
Dont try a selfie with a Bear or Buffalo
There’s 330 million of us. Saying something like “I heard Americans like/dislike,” is almost always going to be met with a grain of salt/resentment
Don’t talk down to people in service industries. They work for the company and not for you. They are not servants, and they deserve respect and decency
Don’t go to dangerous neighborhoods because you saw them on TV.
Not a foreign visitor, but a naive friend from Colorado came to visit in California and wanted to see the gangs on Crenshaw in South Central L.A. because he’d seen it on some cop show.
Yeah, no, we’re not driving through the ‘hood so you can take pictures of the thugs and poor people. He’s a Latino guy, too, so the last thing I needed was someone thinking he was cruising and looking for a fight.
Smell bad. It sounds like a joke, but Americans are really unaccepting of any type of BO. We (probably) won’t actually say anything to you, but we will automatically dislike you.
I spent a bit of time abroad with people foreign to the US
Pointing is VERY rude! My one friend (from Thailand) would always point to people when speaking about them. It was just very uncomfortable and I didn’t realize it was part of the social structure here until she was doing it everywhere lol. Don’t point at complete strangers and talk about them, you may end up starting a fight
The American South, while known probably to some for being racist, is VERY VERY big into politeness and manners.
Generally do things like hold the door open for others, a cashier may ask you “hi how are you” just answer “good, how are you?” Or “I’m okay, how are you” but whatever you answer remember to return the ask. Always say please and thank you. If you make eye contact with a stranger give a smile and a nod. Unless they say hi, then say hi back. I also tend to end conversations with people by saying “have a good one” if meeting somebody (more of a professional thing) when shaking hands, let the person who initiated the handshake introduce themselves first.
Also Americans tend to be very friendly and will strike up conversations with people, don’t be afraid to chat, just don’t bring up politics
Don’t sit around for hours in a restaurant after eating. The wait staff get fussy
Don’t try to make it cross country in a day. Especially during extreme weather
You can buy alcohol in any store in town but you will get the long d*ck of the law if you open that puppy up in public
If you are driving, don’t forget that you can make a right turn on a red light, and if you get pulled over by a cop, being friendly/respectful can go a looooooong way
Restaurants and stores will take your cards. I know, it is weird. You lose sight of it. If you do not want that to happen have cash prepared.
We Americans love foreign visitors and we will pepper you with questions, ask about your language, culture, almost really intrusive questions. Some might even try to relate to you on some level because we Americans are taught that the United States is a melting pot and we all have distant relatives in other countries. For the Irish, English, Scottish, and German; do not be shocked or offended if an American says “Oh! I’m insert heritage too!”
A few from personal accounts of people I know.
Do not think it’s acceptable to bribe someone in authority. It’s not even a joking matter in the U.S. I grew up in a country where it was an unwritten rule that these things could be “negotiated” and there were tell-tale signs to know whether said authority was open to it.
Coworker of mine knows a guy (comes from a European country where this is common place) that was in the U.S and had to be escorted out of a shopping mall because he cat-called a group of girls… who also happened to be underage. Yeah, that’s a no go here. Maybe it will be tolerated at a night club, but in public? You’ll likely face repercussions. It’s just not culturally acceptable. (Note: that’s not to say it doesn’t happen in the U.S – as I know it’s a problem in a lot of major cities).