Knowing good manners in the USA

You may have some vague knowledge of U.S. history or the name of the American president. Do you know the manners of the country? In our daily life, we do not necessarily know all the rules of use, this is even more true when we go abroad. We are not aware of the habits and customs that vary from one country to another. Each region of the US has its own set of manners, whether you are traveling to Florida, Arizona, Colorado, the Dakotas or Alaska, manners may differ. This guide gives you a general overview of etiquette in the USA. You are about to make your first trip and land on American soil with your ESTA and you want to adopt an irreproachable American behavior, here are all our recommendations.

The American way of life in the street

One can easily compare American manners to those of Europeans. However, there are some cultural differences. You may be surprised to learn that most Americans are very friendly and will say hello to you at the corner of a street. As you walk around, you may be smiled at or complimented politely. Don’t get me wrong, these are not compliments to start a conversation, but rather a mark of politeness and courtesy.

Forget the kiss right away, Americans are not really fond of it. Instead, prefer a hug, more commonly called a Hug in the US. If you’re not thrilled with the idea, a pat on the back will do as a greeting. Doubling up in a queue is a method that should be avoided at all costs, do not cause this blunder, because Americans hate this behavior.

If you feel like sneezing, don’t sneeze into your hands like you usually do. You must sneeze into your elbow.

Good manners at work in the USA

The best way to integrate quickly is to appear open. Employees in the U.S. generally greet each other with a handshake. There is no risk for you to hesitate between being polite and polite with a colleague or your boss, because there is no difference in English.

In the American society, going out with colleagues is a habit, the outfits to adopt vary according to the occasion. On your invitation you will often find the Dress Code specified. If the Dress Code is Casual, you can afford to dress more simply, while of course ensuring that your outfit is clean.

How to behave during a dinner in the United States?

The time has come for you to visit your new acquaintances or to have dinner with them in a restaurant.

In the United States of America, when you are invited to someone’s home, the best thing to do is to arrive on time. We have taken the habit of arriving about fifteen minutes after the agreed time in order to let the host get ready quietly, this mark of European politeness is a mark of rudeness in the USA.

When dining out, don’t take the lead by sitting at a table, especially wait for a waiter to assign you a seat. At the end of your meal, if you haven’t finished your plate, you can ask for a doggy bag.

An American waiter does not necessarily have a fixed salary, some live exclusively on tips, that’s why it is important to think about this gesture at the end of your meal. Generally, the amount is 15% of the price of the bill.

Last advice before departure

If you are a smoker, it is very bad manners to smoke in a public place, you may even be fined by the police.

Being drunk in the street in public is also something we advise you to avoid. Similarly, if you buy a bottle of alcohol and go out on the street, it should be wrapped.

You’re ready to make a good impression in the U.S., armed with your knowledge of politeness. A trip to the United States is an unforgettable and enriching experience; whether you go to study or work in the United States, you will learn a great deal about American culture. The American dream is yours in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon or North Carolina.

We hope to have enlightened you on good manners in the United States. If you need more information about the ESTA application or tips on visiting the United States, please see our ESTA FAQ.