10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

Categories: Nations | Society | World

Rules of conduct and etiquette are a rather confusing science, to say the least. It's one thing to know which fork is intended for salad, and quite another — how to use the same fork not to cause a deadly insult to the owner of the house. Etiquette varies from culture to culture, from country to country. What seems to be a gross violation of the rules of good manners in one country may be the standard of politeness in another.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

It is not always easy to break the ice at the first meeting with a new person or at the first visit to someone else's house. Our most common tactic in this case is to try to find something that can be praised. "I like your shoes." "It's a good tie." "I just admire what you've done with this place." "A very beautiful sofa." In most countries, such praise, as a rule, leads to the fact that the owners begin to smile or blush and say "thank you". Thus, the ice begins to melt.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

Nevertheless, such compliments are absolutely unwise in the Middle East, as well as in African countries such as Nigeria and Senegal. In these countries, praise is interpreted as a desire to possess a certain valuable item stored in the house. Due to their hospitality customs, the host will feel obligated to present the guest with the item he has praised. In addition, according to tradition, after receiving a gift, the recipient must respond by giving the giver an even bigger gift. We can only hope that the custom does not apply to compliments addressed to a spouse or children.

We are all used to the fact that our older relatives and teachers always scolded us for being late. "If you can't make it on time, get out 10 minutes earlier." Although this is good advice when traveling for an interview or meeting, in some parts of the world it will be considered a manifestation of bad manners.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

In Tanzania, guests arriving at the appointed time are treated disrespectfully. All polite, well-mannered people appear 15-30 minutes later than scheduled. This is partly due to the fact that not all citizens have cars or even access to public transport. Insisting that guests arrive at the appointed time is considered a manifestation of rudeness. In Mexico, it is also considered polite to be late for a meeting or a party. And if the guests suddenly arrive on time, the hosts may simply not be ready. They may feel insulted because they were caught off guard.

Eating with your hands has always been the surest way to upset parents at the dinner table. However, in some countries people will be offended by your use of cutlery. Eating tacos or burritos in Mexico with a knife and fork is frowned upon. It's not necessarily rude, but it makes a person look like a snob. A similar reason can be explained by the disapproval with which your attempts to use a knife to cut boiled potatoes will be treated in Germany. Also, with a potato slicer knife, you can offend the cooks. They see this as a way of saying that cooked potatoes are not boiled enough.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

In many countries, such as India, eating without cutlery is the only possible way. They consider this method the most natural. It is said that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, once joked that "eating with a fork and a knife is like making love through an interpreter."

There has long been a debate on the topic of "whether to tip". As a rule, it boils down to whether we are not afraid to appear "poor" in the eyes of the waiter. Often the lack of tips is the reason for contemptuous glances. This is also a common reason why many people, coming to a restaurant for the first time, never visit it again. Some restaurants have even banned this custom to protect their customers from unpleasant moments at the end of the meal.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

Japan is ahead of everyone else. The Japanese are not used to tipping, and this often leads to confusion. The waiter wonders why he got the extra money, and may make long, awkward attempts to get it back. More importantly, tipping can be seen as an insult. Sometimes they are understood as charity, which implies pity, which no Japanese will tolerate. In the event that the client wants to express his gratitude, it is best to do this by handing over a small gift. Or, if money is being transferred, then you need to put it in an envelope, and only then transfer it.

Nowadays, if a visitor asks the waiter for a "doggie bag" (a bag or a box in which visitors to some restaurants, mainly Japanese, can take with them food that they haven't finished - as if for dogs), this is considered a sign of poverty. The waiter may even cast an irritated glance at such a visitor when he is forced to run through an entire restaurant full of customers waiting for their orders, for some kind of bag for a visitor whose eyes are bigger than his stomach. In ancient Rome, however, "doggie bags" were a way of life.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

Whenever one of the friends invited guests to dinner, he gave the guests a napkin made of fine cloth so that the invited guests could take home the fruit. This was more of a demand than a suggestion, since the decision not to take food home was interpreted as an insult to the owner. In addition, such a guest could quickly gain a reputation for being impolite and ungrateful. The "Doggie bag" may also owe its origin to Ancient China. Giving guests white boxes so they could take their food home was considered a courtesy on the part of the hosts.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

Yes, we are all used to our parents telling us to eat every last crumb on the plate and not leave the food. In some countries, however, a clean plate can confuse hosts and possibly offend them. In the Philippines, North Africa, as well as in some regions of China, if the plate is empty, the owner will put even more food on it.

In North Africa, it even turns into a small game: the host offers more — the guest says no, the host offers again — the guest refuses again, the host offers one more time — and the guest eventually agrees. Only when the guest leaves some food on the plate, the host will be sure that he is full. Failure to comply with this requirement in some situations may offend the owner. He will perceive the guest's clean plate as a signal that the service was not good enough, and may decide that the guest considers it cheap.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

Flowers are often seen as a universal gift. They are good for first dates, proms, weddings, funerals, gifts to the sick and apologies. It is important to remember that if you are not careful, the flowers presented may be considered a manifestation of ignorance. Chrysanthemums, lilies, gladioli and other white flowers are a symbol of mourning and are used for funerals in many countries. Carnations are decorated with fraternal cemeteries in Germany and France. Giving someone a bouquet of white flowers in China or a carnation in France, you risk that it will be considered a "message of death."Yellow flowers symbolize hatred or dislike in Russia and Iran, and purple flowers are a failure in Italy and Brazil. Red flowers, especially roses, in Germany and Italy are intended only to express romantic feelings. In the Czech Republic, flowers are generally regarded as romantic gifts. So, giving your teacher or boss flowers, you can run into big trouble. Even the number of colors can be considered a manifestation of rudeness. In some countries, such as France and Armenia, an even number of colors is suitable for joyful events, and odd numbers refer to grief. At the same time, in countries such as Thailand and China, odd numbers are generally considered lucky, and even numbers are considered ominous.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

In many countries, sticking out your tongue is usually a rebellious or teasing gesture. In extreme cases — an insult. That's why in Italy you can be fined for this as an offensive behavior. In India, this is not illegal, but even there, sticking out your tongue means discontent and is seen as a sign of incredible anger.Nevertheless, there is a large area in our world, located in New Caledonia, where this gesture means wishing wisdom and energy. In Tibet, the shown language is considered as a sign of respect when meeting a respected person. Tibetans say that this custom comes from the belief that the evil king had a black tongue, and this gesture shows good will and proves that we are not his embodiment. Perhaps this explains why in the Carolinas, sticking out tongues is believed to be a reliable way to exorcise demons. But honestly, if a person sticks out his tongue and doesn't brush his teeth, then he will probably be able to expel anyone.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

In most countries, sipping soup in public can lead to at least unambiguous views in your direction. However, in many Asian countries, such as China and Japan, slurping soup or noodles is regarded as the highest praise. This means that the food is so good that you can't even wait for dinner to cool down. Anyone who has burned his mouth with delicious borscht from a deep plate will probably agree that there is some truth in this.Eating without slurping shows that you are unhappy with the food. In Japan, the same is true for tea. Loudly sipping the last sip of tea, the guest lets the host know that he is finished and satisfied. This cultural difference makes many Japanese visitors feel cramped in other countries, preventing Europeans from having a quiet lunch.

10 rules of etiquette that can confuse us in other countries

Spitting is usually frowned upon. Spitting in someone's direction is considered one of the most terrible insults. The police in the US regard this as an attack and can shoot you, which they really like to do. Members of the Maasai tribe in eastern Central Africa, however, have a completely different view of many things. They spit on each other the same way we shake hands. More precisely, they spit on their hands before the handshake and just in case again after it.Most of us have to endure the reproaches of the elderly, who adhere to the rule "speak specifically, do not spray," but the children of the Maasai have even harder. Polite children who greet their elders can get a thick spit in their back. Of course, this is done with the best intentions and means that the elderly wish the child a long life, but for us it seems unusual. Friends and relatives walk many kilometers just to spit on a newborn — for the same reason.

Members of the tribe spit at every opportunity. They spit on the gift they are going to give. When moving into a new house, the first thing they do is go outside and spit on all four sides. The Maasai also spit on everything they have never seen before, because they are sure that it protects their eyesight.

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