Where It Is Offensive: Korea, Thailand, China, Europe and Middle East.
What Is Offensive: Personal space alters when you move around the world. In Mediterranean countries, if you hold back from any making physical contact with someone like touching his/her hand while talking to them or you do not express greetings upon meeting him with kisses or a warm hug, you will be considered cold. On the other hand, backslapping anyone who is neither your family member nor a good friend in Korea, you will make them bad. In Thailand, the head is regarded as a sacred part of body, so never even pat a kid on his head.
Then What To Do: See what local people are doing and follow accordingly. In Eastern countries, touching and showing affection publicly is not acceptable. In countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, males and females are prohibited from having interaction.
Etiquette While Using Your Hands
Where It Is Offensive: Many societies still value it better to eat according to traditional methods – their hands. In such cases, meal is often served communally that’s why it becomes necessary to wash your hands before start eating and remember your right hand is for eating and left one to perform all other jobs. If you eat with your left hand, then you should also expect your fellow diners to be embarrassed. If taking your share from a communal bowl, keep yourself stick to a portion that is on your side. Don’t be greedy with it and never plunge your hands into its center.
Then What To Do: Left-handed? You have to try to be an ambidextrous there because even kids who are left-handed in these societies are taught to use their right-hand while eating. If you cannot do this then at least tell your fellow diners before beginning.
Keeping The Clothes On
Where It Is Offensive: All Scandinavian countries and Turkey.
What Is Offensive: Having on bathing costumes, shorts & tee-shirts, under things, or any other type of dressing into a sauna, hammam, or any other spot of physical purification. In many societies, a steam room and sauna is regarded a spot of pureness and rumination, where everything belonging to our outside world, including our clothes, must be left outside. In many Scandinavian countries it is normal for whole families to take steam bath together in the nude.
Then What To Do: Sitting on a folded towel is always fine. If you are too modest to appear naked then get undressed but wrap yourself in a towel.
Getting Off Leis
Where It Is Offensive: Hawaii.
What Is Offensive: Refusing or instantly removing leis.
Then What To Do: Leis in the Sandwich Islands are not merely beautiful floral necklaces that you receive as you check into your resort or come on at a luau. Lies are many centuries old cultural sign of welcome, friendly relationship, and admiration. Don’t ever refuse lies – it is thought to be highly disrespectful – or whip it off in front of presenter. If you are allergic to the flowers, tell them, but go to put it in any honorable place, suppose better to put it in the center of any table, or on any statue. Remember that closed leis must be worn not dangling from your neck with half draped down your neck and the other half down your back. It should always be over your shoulder.
Having Eye To Eye Contact…. Or Not
Where It Is Offensive: Korea, Japan and Germany.
What Is Offensive: In America, not making direct eye to eye contact can project you as a rude, indifferent, or weak whereas be cautious how long you hold someone’s gaze in rest of countries. There are some Asian cultures where prolonged eye contact can make its people bad, therefore never be upset if you are negotiating a deal with a person who don’t want to look you straightly into your eyes. If drinking with your friends in a German beer hall, you should meet your eyes with theirs; otherwise, a German superstitious notion will say you are both in for 7 years of bad luck in the bedroom.
Then What To Do: Refrain from constant staring and adopt the conduct of a person hosting you – certainly. Look those German people straight on.
Boozing Alcohol the Wrong Way
Where It Is Offensive: Latin America, France, Korea and Russia.
What Is Offensive: Every society has its own traditions; especially when it comes to drinking etiquettes. Failing to drink a vodka slug in one draft in Russia and your host won’t be moved. Refilling your own beer glass in France and not offering others on your table – this way you made a gaucherie. In Korea, only women use to pour men’s drinks – not other women’s – and if anybody wants to refill, he should drain his glass. While in Latin America, don’t ever pour with your left hand – that is considered to be bad luck.
Then What To Do: Until you are culturally fluent, then let your friends to pour.
Blowing The Nose
Where It Is Offensive: Japan, China, Saudi Arabia and France.
What Is Offensive: Many cultures consider it highly offensive to blow your nose publicly – particularly while sitting on the table. The Japanese and Chinese people also get disgusted by the name of a hanky As Mark McCrum writes in his work “Going Dutch in Beijing”, the Japanese term hanakuso unpleasantly means nose waste.
Then What To Do: If you are traveling through Eastern and Asian countries, you should not bring your hankies with you; keep disposable tissues instead. In France and in Eastern countries too, if you are having supper and need to clean your nasal passages, then have an excuse and go to the wash room. Worst case condition: Do a greater effort to steer yourself away from your table. Let’s hope you do not have a common cold.
Taking Off The Shoes….Or Not
Where It Is Offensive: Hawaii, the South Pacific, Korea, China and Thailand.
What Is Offensive: Remove your shoes at the door of a London dinner party as the hostess will consider you uncultured, similarly never take off your shoes when entering any home in Asia, Hawaii or the Pacific Islands otherwise you will be seen as disrespectful. Not just for that the shoe removal effectively keeps sand and dust out of the house but it is also an indication of leaving the outside world outside.
Then What To Do: If there is a row of shoes outside the door, start unfastening your shoelaces, otherwise keep them.
Talking During Dining
Where It Is Offensive: Africa, Japan, Thailand, China and Finland.
What Is Offensive: In many civilized countries, such as China, Japan, and few African countries, the food is the thing, therefore never start discussing about your day’s activities or experiences when everybody is poking into dinner. You will possibly find silence, not because the people are unmannered, but because mealtimes are only for eating. Also keep away from conversations at places the people think holy or ruminative like churches in Europe, temples in Thailand or sauna in Finland.
Then What To Do: Keep quiet!
Where It Is Offensive: All over the world, especially Hawaii, Russia, France and Italy.
What Is Offensive: Claxon on Molokai or unable to pay a fine to a policeman a fine, a.k.a. bride, on-the-scene when you are held for rushing in Russia, and you will lay everything on the line from scorn to prison time. Keep in mind, too, that your hand gestures can have different meanings in rest of regions – a simple “thumbs-up” will make sense of as an “up yours” in regions of the Mideast.
Then What To Do: While driving in any foreign country, make sure you own an international driving license; never, ever get involved in road rage with others; and keep your both hands on the driving wheel.