25 Surprising Ways To Offend People In Other Countries

Posted by , Updated on December 4, 2017


You are not going to believe some of the surprising ways you can offend people in other countries. It’s a lot easier than you may think. Usually you’ll offend someone by misunderstanding the cultural communication norms found in a country. Given that communication is 55% body language, 38% voice tone, and 7% spoken word; these misunderstandings should not be that surprising. Nevertheless, you should still watch out for them. Languages and communication norms vary across different countries and societies and if you don’t learn how these norms differ, things can get…interesting. As a note: since List 25 is based in the United States, “Other Countries” to us means “countries outside of the United States”. With that in mind, check out these 25 surprising ways to offend people in other countries.

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In the US we're taught that making eye contact during a conversation conveys sincerity, but in some places - like France - it can be considered a First Move romantically or sexually, and in places like Brazil avoiding eye contact is a way of showing deference to someone.

EyecontactSource: https://www.thrillist.com

In the US a thumbs up is a good sign. In parts of Australia it means "up your bum".

ThumbsupSource: http://nypost.com; http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2003/03/what_does_a_thumbs_up_mean_in_iraq.html

In the US people generally sit in the back of a cab/uber/lyft. But in Australia, Scotland, the Netherlands and New Zealand, that may be considered rude and egalitarian.

TaxidontberudeSource: http://www.businessinsider.com

In South Korea it's considered rude to wave at a person or summon a cab by waving with your palm out. That's how they summon dogs there.

hailacabSource: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Dressing too casually - flip flops, sweatpants, wrinkly clothing, yoga pants in public - is seen as disrespectful and sloppy in many European countries and Japan.

flip-flopsSource: http://mentalfloss.com

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