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Quirky etiquette practices around the world!

We all know that manners and etiquette are different in different countries. Today I’m highlighting some quirky and true (and sometimes funny!) etiquette practices from all over the world. Read on for some entertaining etiquette rules.


In Australia, punctuality is critical. If you’re a single male passenger in a taxi or ride service, you should sit in the front seat. And if you’re paying for a round of drinks, be sure not to pick up the tab when it’s not your turn.


Make sure you don’t ever eat with your hands, even if it’s something hand-held like a sandwich or pizza—use a napkin at least, or utensils. Never sneeze or wipe your nose at the table, and if you’re in a conversation, it’s very common to stand close and use physical contact.


Gift-giving is common, but be sure to give and receive the gift with both hands. Never leave your chopsticks upright in your rice, and don’t finish your meal.


If you don’t speak French, they appreciate it if you apologize for your lack of fluency. A 2-hour lunch break is common. If you’re in a hurry, don’t show it.


In a business context, humor is frowned upon. If you’re not the oldest person in a business meeting, you should wait for the oldest person to enter the room first. You should nod as you shake someone’s hand.


Take your shoes off as you enter someone’s home. Don’t say “no” during business discussions; instead, say “We’ll see” or “Possibly.” Don’t thank your host at the end of a meal, and never order beef at a business meal in India.


This is another country where you don’t want to say “no.” Instead, you should say “yes” to acknowledge that you understood the speaker—even if you disagree. Gifts should always be wrapped, and don’t openly display money. Instead, use an envelope. And don’t pour a drink for yourself; let someone else do that.


New Zealand

Always be on time or early for appointments, and keep conversation to a minimum during meals. If you do converse, lunchtime is used for discussing business, and dinner is used only for social conversation.

United Kingdom

Men shouldn’t wear shirts with pockets; if you do, the pocket should be empty. When dining out, toasting your elders is considered impolite, and the British seldom retain eye contact during conversations. (This is opposite from the French, who maintain intense eye contact throughout conversations.)

A few other quirky things:

When in Mexico, always eat tacos with your hands. Venezuelans place a broom behind the door to signal they’re ready for guests to leave. Italians never put parmesan on pizza; if you want to burp in public, visit Iceland. In Saudi Arabia, never check the time while conversing; in Mongolia, keep your sleeves rolled down at all times, and if you love karaoke, you’ll want to visit South Korea, where they sing karaoke often with guests.

For an etiquette map with more quirky practices throughout the world, click here.

Let me know if you'd like to visit one of these (or a different) quirky country!


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