American Manners

Studying social codes will save you a lot of misunderstandings during your visit to the USA:

Good manners are not necessarily the same from one country to another. Difference of culture and customs obliges! So, if you plan to travel to the United States for a while, to pass for a savage, you must know the good manners of this country.

To tell the truth, these are not so different from those adopted in Europe. Actually, if you are used to European social codes, you won't have a lot of trouble adapting to the usual way of life in the USA. However, there are still a few differences that you will have to note... and respect during your visit.

United States: American good manners at the table.

The good table manners are almost the same in France and the United States. For example, it is forbidden in both countries to speak with a full mouth and chew with one's mouth open at the table.

However, to avoid getting angry looks when you are in a restaurant or invited to dinner at an acquaintance's house, note the following little details:

  • Hands on your knees: eh yes! If it is customary for the Europe to put their hands on the table during a meal, in the United States, it is on their knees that they should be placed.
  • Be careful with the toothpick: There is no question of having a toothpick attached to your lips after the meal! Although created for this purpose, this small piece of equipment is no longer popular in the USA and is almost exclusively used as an aperitif accessory. Therefore, if you have something stuck between your teeth, it is better to go to the toilet.
  • Don't forget tip: If it is not mandatory in Europe, Americans attach great importance to it because tip is an integral part of American employees' wages. Also, even if your dish arrived cold, if you waited an hour before having it, don't overlook the tip of the person who served you, at the risk of being considered the worst of the bad guys.

Good manners in the evening in the United States:

As a general rule, when you receive an invitation to the United States, you will always be told what kind of outfit you should wear for the occasion. The least politeness would be to respect the dress code indicated when the time comes. If you are told:

  • Casual: Choose a casual outfit, the one you wear every day, but while remaining chic.
  • Black tie: This is an official ceremony or evening, so tuxedo is mandatory for men and evening gown or cocktail dress for women.
  • Business attracts: It can be a business meeting, so choose a regular work outfit, i. e. suit and tie for men and suit for women.
  • Formal attracts: This is usually a red carpet evening so opt for a gala outfit such as the tuxedo for the men's dress and the long evening dress for the women's dress.

Living in society, good manners to know:

It is above all on the social level that the differences between American and European culture are blatant. Because, like the European, who are often withdrawn and followers of "everyone for themselves", the Americans are not only very sociable, they are also friendly, friendly and open-minded.

If you plan to spend a good time in the USA, it is in your best interest to adapt to these typically American personality traits, or even to adopt them too!

Some social codes to know when visiting the USA

Other rules of good manners and social codes that must be respected in the United States:

  • Do not smoke in public or near public places, including bars and restaurants. The American authorities are very strict on this issue and if you are caught frying a cigarette where you don't have to; you risk a heavy fine.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages in public. Alcohol consumption is indeed subject to very strict rules in Uncle Sam's country too, avoid drinking in public and always make sure to pack your bottles properly when leaving a store.
  • Don't throw your little trash everywhere. Public garbage cans are plentiful in the United States so until you find one, keep your papers and bottles in your bag.
  • Don't leave your dog's droppings lying around. Yes, yes, yes! If your pet has taken care of itself where it was not needed, it is up to you to pick them up and dispose of them in the designated areas.
  • Don't be late. Punctuality is a mark of respect in the United States too. Always try to arrive on time or even a few minutes ahead of time so as not to be considered disrespectful.
  • Don't steal other people's taxis. Are you late? Do you have too much shopping to do? That's no reason to run in front of a taxi that someone saw before you! This gesture is very badly seen in the USA.
  • Do not double the queue. Unless you are an elderly person, a pregnant woman or a disabled person, you will have no excuse in the eyes of Americans if you try to gain a few extra places by trickery. In a queue, you must always keep your cool and wait your turn in peace, like everyone else.


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