Delve into the unspoken customs that guide American society, often overlooked by visitors. Embark on a journey to uncover the hidden rules that govern daily life in the United States.

A user asked, “What’s an unspoken social rule that Americans follow that isn’t obvious to visitors?” and here is what they have to say

1. Don’t Stand Too Close

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

2. Don’t Keep Staring

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“Stop staring at me. This is one of the most important ones. And staring at the wrong person in some areas could end very badly. Especially in an elevator. Look at those lit-up numbers that tell you what floor you’re on as if they tell you where to find a million dollars.”

3. Don’t Get Out Of The Car

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“In addition to not getting out of your car when pulled over by police: do NOT attempt to give them money. Bribes are a serious offense. Also, a good idea to announce what you’re going to do and often ask permission too.”

I have my registration in the glove box. Is it ok if I reach over to grab it from there?

My ID is in my back pocket. Is it ok if I move to grab it?”

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

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“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

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“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

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“See you later” does not mean you will see them later. And “we should get together sometime” does not mean you plan to get together. You might eventually do that, but, likely, you will not”.

7. Measure Distance In Time

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“We measure distance in time. You should fully expect to be told how long it will take you to get someplace instead of how far away it is.”

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8. Prices on Store Include a Tax Surcharge

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“Prices on store shelves and restaurant menus rarely include the tax surcharge, which is probably 6-10% depending on where you are. (States and local cities/counties have different rates. Some places like Delaware don’t have sales tax.).”

“If you want to buy something and the price tag says $5, expect to pay about $5.25 to $5.75 at the register. This is sales tax, and it’s never listed on the price tag. The amount of tax is different in every state or even city/county within a state and sometimes different per product category. You will never figure out how much it will be, and Americans don’t even try.”

9. Don’t Touch

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“Don’t touch us if you don’t know us.”

“Handshakes are allowed if the situation calls for it, but you’ll freak out people if you just go up and touch them.”

“Don’t touch any kids that aren’t yours. Conversely, never leave your kids unattended. A mom from Denmark left her baby in the stroller on a New York street (in eyesight) while she was in a restaurant so the kid could get some fresh air and sun, and she got arrested for child endangerment.”

10. Never Cut In Line

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“Never, ever cut in line. Idk about elsewhere, but here in the US, we value our time. It’s so disrespectful of my existence as a human being to cut in line to make me spend more of it waiting longer when you could have just queued up like the Brits and waited your turn. I feel habitual line cutters don’t have empathy or experience wonder.”

11. Don’t Interrupt

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“Don’t interrupt people.”

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12. Tipping is NOT Optional

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“Tipping in restaurants is in no way optional.”

13. It is Best Not to Talk About Religion

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“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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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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