Rude! What You Should Never Do in Other Countries

Planning a trip abroad? Learn these seven rules to avoid offending the locals.

By Taylor Shea
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    Don't tip in Japan.

    Service at restaurants and hotels will likely be exceptional in Japan, but tipping isn't done; and it could be seen as degrading.


    Don't smile at strangers in Russia.

    They'll see it as an intimate gesture, indicating a genuine affinity toward another person. If you don't know them, they might consider you insincere.

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    Don't use your left hand in India.

    The left hand is thought of as unclean in Indian culture, so always use your right hand to greet someone, exchange money, or pick up merchandise.

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    Don't eat everything on your plate in China.

    That shows your host didn't provide enough food or a filling meal. Along with leaving a little, it's fine to burp after eating, as a compliment to the chef.


    Don't honk in Norway.

    It's only used in an emergency—so your unnecessary beeping could cause drivers to panic.

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    Don't forget to say hello in France.

    "Bonjour madame, monsieur" should be the first words out of your mouth, otherwise you're subtly showing you feel the person is beneath you.

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    Don't talk with your hands in your pockets in Germany.

    It's considered rude. It's also customary to keep your hands on the table while eating, rather than resting them in your lap.


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    Your Comments

    • cardog

      I am left handed. I will eat with my left hand wherever I go. If someone doesn’t like it they don’t have to watch.

    • TheLastEagle

      You don’t have to worry about being rude to the French. They’ll be rude to you first

      In Europe, EVERYONE outside France can’t stand them…

      • NYmom1

        what a bunch of BS, have you been to France ? I am German living in the states ,they would have a lot of reasons to be rude to me, but since I am a very nice person, I never met a rude French man or woman, the opposite, I love France and I have seen more rude people in Germany and the US than in France, although nothing tops some Canadian shoppers that come to the US

        • TheLastEagle

          Yes, I HAVE been to a number of European countries, including France. My comment stands.

          Despite this, should it be required of us once again, America will gladly come to Lafayette’s rescue, because as we were battling the English for our independence, France did far more to bring that about than they are credited for…

    • Richard

      Don’t ever motion to someone to come toward you be using your index finger in China. That is the equivalent of flashing your middle finger at someone in the U.S.A. Use all your fingers on one hand to beckon them to come toward you. And of course you take your shoes off when you enter someone’s home in China. In Russia, too. It’s the polite and respectful thing to do. They will have a pair of slippers for you to wear inside the house.