I remember the first time I said "bless you" to someone not from the South after they sneezed and being looked at like I was an alien. It never occurred to me that people from other regions didn't do the same — and it certainly had never crossed my mind that some people might actually find this reflexive response offensive. Such cultural differences are fascinating, particularly on the grand scale of American behaviors that are considered offensive in other countries. And thanks to the folks at Geobeats, there's now a short yet wildly informative video enumerating 10 of the things we find totally acceptable in the United States — but that ruffle some serious feathers abroad.
You may already be aware of some of these, like giving the thumbs-up. This has made the rounds on the Internet before, right? In numerous parts of the world, this gesture is the equivalent of flipping the bird. But others on Geobeats' list may come as more of a shock. For example, who knew tipping was considered bad behavior in some countries? I feel bad for doubting my late grandmother now, who often scolded my sister and I for A) leaving large tips on tabs with a built-in gratuity and B) pre-cleaning a table so the waitress would have less hassle. We thought Grandma was misinformed when she told us such things were offensive, but it turns out this was probably information she gleaned in her extensive travels. You were right, Grandma, per the norm ... although, not gonna lie, I'll likely continue to do both.
A few other things we do here that rub people in other countries the wrong way include laying claim to the qualifier "America" and blowing our noses in public. Which, admittedly, is kind of icky. Check out the full video below, but stay tuned after the jump to learn about some of our other less-than-desirable behavior not covered in Geopets' cool vid.
1. Laughing With Your Mouth Open
In Japan and some other parts of the world, an open mouth is viewed as horse-like and impolite. Clearly, I'm the worst. Although, wait, how do you even laugh with your mouth not open?
2. Altering Your Food Order
Ruh-rog, Shaggy. It seems that certain cultures don't take kindly to you tweaking your meal exactly as it was presented to you. Want some A-1? Only if you're prepared for a side of shade, too.
3. Sitting In The Back Of A Cab
While we're highly accustomed in the United States to sliding into the backseat of a cab and barking our destination through the clear partition to our cabbie, it is considered rude not to ride shotgun in a cab in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, the Netherlands, and certain parts of Ireland.
4. Being "Fashionably" Late
What's showing up 10 or 20 minutes, give or take? Well, a lot, if you ask countries like Germany where being late is an unequivocal expression of perceived superiority — aka thinking your time is more valuable than other people's.
5. Swigging Someone Else's Brewsky
BYOB means something very different in Norway than it does in the States. While here it's basically your all-access pass to any backyard BBQ or party, it's uncouth to partake of another person's alcohol in Norway.