So you’re a fluffy, unassuming, inoffensive young professional wanting to travel abroad so you can expand your horizons and opportunities. You have your appointment set up, your tickets booked and your bag packed, ready to go. You arrive in Tokyo at 9 a.m. go to your lunch meeting and step into the restaurant. The group of people you’re with whisper with each other during the entire meeting, giving you dirty looks. The meeting concludes and you never hear from them again. Why? After all, you were fluffy, unassuming and inoffensive. Or so you thought. Here are a few simple things that are considered rude or offensive around the world.
Don’t share too much in England
Although the British are too proper to admit it, not paying for a round is quite an annoyance. Although, on the other side of pond, in ‘Merica, everyone pays for their own drinks, in the U.K. you’ll have to belly up to the bar and buy your drinking-mates their libation of choice, when it’s your turn.
Being way too open is also socially frowned upon so avoid anything that has to do with personal finances, health or relationships. If you have a travel or business companion with you remember to introduce them, as it is also considered very rude not to introduce people you know to each other that haven’t been previously acquainted.
Stop staring in the U.S. of A
Staring or looking at something or someone that catches your attention for an extended period of time is considered rude. There is even a phrase that goes: “Take a picture it’ll last longer” that is not an invitation to take a picture, but more likely and invitation to f-off.
If you happen to be at a meeting with food, make sure you don’t make tons of noise while eating and keep your mouth shut. Although this is valid in most western cultures, noisy table partners are considered very rude in the U.S.
People from the United States highly cherish their personal space. This distance for professional, business and social interaction is between 0.6m and 1.2m (2-4 feet roughly). Do not go all Southern European and kiss both cheeks of an American because you might get slapped, punched or arrested for sexual harassment.
Be a barefoot contessa in Tokyo
No shoes. Anywhere. Ok, just outside. The Japanese do not allow the use of outside footwear inside their homes and will provide slippers for guest in homes, restaurants, hotels. Some location even have ‘bathroom’ slippers for you to wear when you are using the restroom.
Get a quick bite to eat, while on the move. Western food is optimized for fleet-footed consumption, but in Japan it is socially frowned upon to eat while on the move. This is due to the Japanese high respect of food and the process of eating. So sit your pasty Western butt down even if it is just to scarf down (an equally delicious and mobile) candy bar.
See also: 9 Words or Phrases Millennials Should Avoid Using in the Workplace
Are there any other cultural relevant faux pas that you can think of that might, offend in foreign countries? Let us know in the comment section below!