10 Major Mistakes Made When Dealing with Different Cultures

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There are 10 major mistakes made when dealing with different cultures, and many people don’t realize they’re making them. It’s still important to recognize when you’ve made a mistake and try to fix it.

Showing too much skin


Some cultures don’t see showing off your body as cool. Different cultures believe differently about self-expression and what is allowable.



It’s easy to state that in America we’re obsessed with tipping in one way or another. But in different cultures, tipping is seen as a sign of disrespect.

Blowing your nose in public


It’s a little unsanitary, and a lot of people in America might give you a funny look after doing this. But in different cultures, you’ll find that it’s considered kind of rude, so it’s necessary to find a private spot or wait until you’re alone.

Asking for a to-go bag or box


Some cultures don’t look at your need to take any uneaten food away as a good thing. Or rather, they don’t want you to ask them to help you. If you feel the need to finish it later, wrap it up in a napkin if you can.

Utensils and their use


Some countries don’t look kindly on our reliance on the fork. It’s true, many cultures use the fork, but several of them use it differently.

Leaving after saying goodbye once


People in America do this by habit. We say goodbye, then say it again in another half an hour, and then again when we’re at the door. It’s the same in other cultures, but for some reason, a lot of tourists leave after one goodbye, and that’s considered kind of rude.

How you use your utensils


We don’t think about this much in America. But the honest truth is that in some countries it’s best to use them just for eating or serving and nothing else. Don’t point or gesture with them, and don’t leave them sticking up in your food.

Using anything but black ink to write


Yes, this is a thing. Even in the US, it’s preferred that people use blue or black ink. But in other cultures, it’s expected to use these colors.

Crossing your fingers


Hand and finger gestures mean different things in different cultures. But it’s wise to know this, at least in part, since it can keep you from making a serious and possibly offensive error.

Greeting/Goodbye gestures


One of the most common gestures is la bise, the kissing greeting one sees in France. If you don’t make the sound it’s considered quite rude. But it’s wise to know how to greet and say goodbye to people in any culture.


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