13 American Customs That Might Puzzle Visitors!

Explore unspoken American customs often missed by visitors. Uncover hidden rules governing US daily life. A user asked about these elusive social norms - let's see their insights.

1. Don’t Stand Too Close

“Don’t stand so close that I can feel your breath.”

2. Don’t Keep Staring

"Avoid staring, it could end badly in some situations, like in an elevator. Study the lit-up floor numbers like they're crucial."

3. Don’t Get Out Of The Car

"Don't leave your car when stopped by police, never offer money. Announce your actions, ask permission. E.g. 'Can I reach into the glove box/back pocket for my ID?'" Read more here

4. Do Not Snap Your Fingers To Call For Wait Staff

“This applies to any business, but most especially restaurants: Do not snap your fingers or whistle to get an employee’s attention. That is considered to be extremely rude here.”

5. Haggling Too Much

“You can haggle at a garage sale or a flea market, but otherwise, the price is the price. We don’t haggle.”

6. “See You Later” Does Not Mean That

"See you later" and "we should get together sometime" often don't imply real intent to meet. Read more.

7. Measure Distance In Time

"We measure distance in time, not how far it is." Read: 21 Things Making People Dislike You Instantly

8. Prices on Store Include a Tax Surcharge

"Store and restaurant prices often exclude a 6-10% tax depending on where you are; some places don't have sales tax. Consider a $5 item; expect to pay $5.25 to $5.75 at the register due to sales tax. It varies by state, city, county, or product category; it's unpredictable and usually not accounted for."

9. Don’t Touch

"Don’t touch others without consent. Only do handshakes in necessary situations. Never touch other's kids or leave yours unattended. A Danish mom got arrested for child endangerment for doing so in NY."

10. Never Cut In Line

“Cutting in line is disrespectful, especially in the US, where we value our time. It's better to queue like the Brits and wait your turn. Habitual line cutters lack empathy.”

11. Don’t Interrupt

12. Tipping is NOT Optional

“Tipping in restaurants is in no way optional.”

13. It is Best Not to Talk About Religion

“Some Americans are strongly religious. Don’t assume they share your secular beliefs. It’s best not to talk about religion unless it’s someone you know well.”

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