Some of the greetings and gestures that Americans do are considered rude in other countries. Before you travel, make sure you know about gestures that might not be appropriate in a foreign land. Here are ten things Americans don't think twice about doing, but they shouldn't do in other countries.


Giving someone a thumbs up is a good gesture in America. That's because Americans view the thumb as a sign of approval. In other countries, giving someone a thumbs up is the same as giving someone the middle finger. In other countries, keeps your thumbs down at all times.

Here in America, people thrive on compliments. In Africa, it would be rude to compliment someone. That's because it is misunderstood to mean that you want what you are complimenting the person about. People feel pressured to give you the item you admire.

To be late or not to be late

Never be late in Germany because tardiness is considered rude. It is interpreted to mean your time is more valuable than others. On the other hand, being on time in Tanzania and Mexico is considered rude because you may arrive before the host is ready to receive you. In countries like that, it would be acceptable to arrive late.

In Asian countries, you should be late in opening presents at your own birthday party.

Do not open your gifts right away or in the presence of others at your birthday party. You should entertain your guests during the party and open your presents after everyone has left. If not, you are thought to want the people's presents more than the people's presence.

Eating customs

There are a lot of buffets and all-you-can-eat restaurants in America where diners are expected to serve themselves.

This is unthinkable in some Asian countries. It is always the duty of the host to serve guests because it would be rude for the guests to serve themselves.

In this country, it is in good taste to eat everything off your plate. In some countries, it would be rude to clean your plate. Remember to leave a morsel of food to avoid insulting the host.

If you don't tip your server in a restaurant in the United States, you will be labeled rude and stingy. In many parts of Europe and Asia, servers feel degraded if you tip them. Of course, their salaries are much more than the workers' salaries are here in America.

Manners with hands

You are in a world of trouble if you laugh without covering your mouth in Japan. An opened mouth should never be seen in public. It is polite to laugh when something is funny, but remember to cover your mouth with your hand. In America, some people do cover their mouth when they laugh.

There are so many well-known left handed people, such as former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush as well as Prince William, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Tom Cruise, Celine Dion, Angelina Joli, and many others. Even so, they will be called rude if they use their left hand in the Middle East.