What are some cultural taboos in America?
For those of you wishing to make a trip to the states here are some bits about our culture that will make your life easier. Americans are fairly easygoing and if they know you are a tourist or new to the country, they will usually be happy to help you and understand. Most Americans are friendly and open minded, you should make sure to get to know us completely before you judge us. And remember, each State has it's own culture so it's best to do some research if your doing to a specific state.
1) Always say 'Please' and 'Thank you' and 'Excuse me', we respect good manners. This is very important if it is someone our doing business with or someone other then a good friend. If you already have an American friend, they probably wont expect you to fuss a whole lot with the pleases and thank you's but it is good to always include it just out of courtesy Thanking someone for a nice evening is a must. Some countries it might be an insult, but in America, it let's us know you enjoyed yourself and know to invite you again.
2) Learn your English. Americans like to be able to understand you so speaking the native language and without a terribly thick accent is important. If you don't know everything, that's ok. But speaking clearly so everyone can hear what your saying is important. It frustrates many Americans when newcomers to our country don't speak decent English and some may see our frustration as hostility. Especially if we get lectured about how we need to be more worldly.
3) Don't diss out country and culture. We're proud of our country, culture and it's people. Tell us we should be more like your country or being negative while visiting will tick many Americans off and will result in you being very lonely during your stay. Yeah, we know we're not perfect, we know our president may be crazy, but seriously, we don't want to hear about something we already know. If you come here, we recommend trying everything we have to offer. If your just here to lecture us, you'll hear us straight out tell you 'well then, GO HOME!'
4)We're not very physically affectionate. We usually don't go past a handshake but we're just not to affectionate. We respect personal space. If you are uncomfortable with being touched, speak up (and hold your ground if you happen to get someone difficult). If someone says they aren't comfortable with you being affectionate to them (kissing, hugging other forms of touching) please respect this, once we warm up to you we might accept it. If someone can't respect your wishes and wont listen, get away from them and find yourself some decent people to be around, also, if it's someone whose being handsy in an inappropriate way, tell the bartender and/or bouncer. Most people will usually help you out as well if you need it.
Also, most Americans will try and feed you. To our culture, food is love, we enjoy food and love to feed our friends. Sharing this with you is our way of showing love. If you have special dietary needs or are vegan, please tell whomever is wanting to feed you. :)
5) Here are some other manners that will help you intergrate as well. Make sure you tip the minimum 15% for services rendered, especially to restraunt wait staff, it's not included and most low paying jobs are suplimented by tips. Never talk with your mouth full of food or chew with your mouth open. Seriously, we saw the before, no need to view the after. Don't get drunk and/or flirt relentlessly with anything on two legs. Think before you speak, don't mention peoples appreance or weight, never ask age or relationshop status unless your in a open, social setting, like a bar and I still caution on this anyway. You can share more with friends though.
Don't point at people, whisper in front of people your with, stare at people for a long time, cut in line, curse, flip your middle finger or disrespect people's privacy or posessions. Also, don't speak to others in your language in front of invididuals who can't understand it unless that person needs the translation then make sure you tell your American friend what you translated to them. Otherwise it appears rude and is often assumed your talking about them if you dont. Don't judge and come into your American experience with a bad attitude or pre-concieved notions about us. Make sure to ask questions if you're confused.
Also, don't just approach people and just randomly ask them questions of touch them. Some people from the Mediterranean area or South America can be very affectionate, and you coming up to us and greeting us with a kiss can scare the hell out of us Americans. If you need help, approach someone who doesn't appear busy and say 'Excuse me, could you help me find ____' or etc, stating what you want clearly and specifically. Most people will be happy to help, if not, most businesses will help you, simply go in and ask someone whos not busy to help. Police departments are always happy to help you find your way as well.