Yes, this topic is pretty OT, but it's posted for Friday fun, and the article below might actually be of interest, maybe even amusing, to some.
Especially because, it seemed to me, some of the American customs mentioned in the article linked below frankly seemed pretty harmless to me, and I was rather surprised that some of them would offend anyone. But I guess that's just my American attitude.
But reviewing the customs in the article might actually be helpful, though, if any of us might right now be planning a trip abroad, and brushing up on what might be a social gaffe in (insert name of country) just might be to the good.
One thing that really stood out to me among the customs discussed was just how many of them involve hand and finger patterns, which seem innocent to Americans, but may have offensive significance in other cultures. Such as: "In the UK, the backwards peace sign (palm facing toward your face) is equivalent to flipping someone off."
(You guys in the UK, is this true?)"The A-OK sign: in certain countries this hand gesture is crude and offensive."
"If you give a thumbs up in the Middle East, Latin America and Western Africa, it is the same as showing them your middle finger."
"In North America crossing your fingers is a gesture of good luck ... in Vietnam it's a crass gesture for female genitalia."
"In the Phillipines ... a firm handshake is a sign of dominance, a loose one is a sign of respect."
And here are a few other American customs considered breaches of propriety in some lands:"In southern Europe, seasoning your food and dressing it in condiments is an insult to the chef. You are basically telling them that they did not prepare it well enough."
"In Japan, while the service might be impeccable, tipping can be seen as degrading."
"Sitting in the back of a cab: in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the Netherlands, riding shotgun is the norm, as it is seen as a matter of egalitarianism."
(You Aussies, is this the case?)"In Japan, laughing while exposing your teeth is considered extremely rude."
"In Russia a smile is seen as an intimate gesture ... giving them out to anyone comes off as insincere."
"It is considered rude and even repulsive in countries including China, France, Japan and Saudi Arabia to blow your nose in public."
"Talking about mental health: if you go to the UK, talking about this part of your life is considered a huge overshare and makes people very uncomfortable."
(You guys in the UK, is this true?) "Excessive use of superlatives: North Americans tend to describe the most mundane things as "amazing" or "the best," but that comes off as fake or dishonest in many countries."
"Honking ... in Norway it's only used in an emergency, so unnecessary beeping could cause drivers to panic."
"In Russia, turning down an offer of vodka is seen as offensive"
A social goof like one of these can happen to anybody. When I was on R-and-R (a kind of military leave) in Sydney during my Vietnam tour in 1970, I went to a restaurant in the city one evening, ordered a hamburger, and when it came, I picked it up and started eating it, just as I would have done in any American eating place such as McDonald's or Burger King. But then I realized that everyone in the place was staring at me like I was from Mars. At which time the waiter came over to my table and said, with a properly amused smile on his face. "Heah down undah we eat 'em with a knife and fawk, mate!" And, suitably admonished, I thereupon picked up the knife and fork beside my plate, and finished my delicious burger in the "proper" Australian way. (When in Rome ...). (Again, you Aussies, is this still the case today, or has the McDonald international hamburger empire changed all that? <grin>)
Customs, an amusing topic for a Friday fun chat, no?https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tips/you-didnt-know-these-55-customs-were-offensive-in-some-countries/ss-bbwfgrw?ocid=spartandhp
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