Unspoken rules in American culture

“I went to college with a guy from Germany and it confused him a bit when he first came here.”

Every country has its own set of ~unspoken rules~ that only the people who live there really know. I came across this Reddit thread where u/Praglik asked: “Reddit Americans, what does someone visiting the United States for the first time absolutely need to know or be aware of?” and I nodded at many responses.

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So whether you’re considering visiting the United States for the first time or just want to get to know the culture better, read on for some of the very honest answers.


“Do not get out of your car if you are stopped by the police unless asked to do so.”

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“Tax is added to shelf prices at checkout.”



“You can’t drive across the country in 12 hours.”

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“Never accept anything from someone on the street. The CD is not free.”

u/Portland to Vt


“Our 24-hour dining is legendary.”

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“You drive five hours in the United States, you are always in the same place. You drive five hours in Europe, everyone talks funny and the cheese is different.”



“When we ask, ‘How are you?’ we don’t need a literal answer. It’s just a greeting. I went to college with a guy from Germany and it confused him a bit when he came here. He thought the people wanted to know his whole day.



“Food portions are huge, but anything you can’t finish can be packed for later. Just ask.”


“ATMs may charge you additional fees to withdraw money. Find out which ATMs you need to withdraw with your card.”



“Personal space. Don’t get right behind someone in line. If you’re lucky, you’ll just make them uncomfortable. Unlucky, and you might end up in a fight.”

u / ironblondies


“Public restrooms are free…usually. However, it’s a courtesy that if you use a store or fast food restroom, you’re buying something, even if it’s something small.”

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“Walking down the street, people make random eye contact and then smile. No, you don’t know them, it’s just their way of being polite. They expect you to smile back , then break eye contact.”



“If you visit a national park, don’t play with wildlife. Buffalo (even cows) can kill you. Most rabbits carry enough parasites and viruses to make you very sick. Don’t always have water Drinking water close at hand at every resting place. If water or mud is bubbling up and you don’t feel heat around it, DON’T TOUCH IT. It can still burn!”

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“People have different personalities depending on what part of the country you’re in. In Louisiana, you have great conversations with people at the bar. In South Carolina, I might invite you over to their house. In New York, they’ I’ll ignore you. In California, they’re only interested if it benefits them.



“Always get health insurance unless you want to go bankrupt. American health care is incredibly expensive.”



“98% of the areas you go to, you’ll need a car. The 2% you won’t go to are NYC, Boston, Chicago and DC.”

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“Depending on where you go in the United States, watch out for ticks and mosquitoes. They can have Lyme disease and other illnesses that can easily make you very sick. And with health care costs in United States, you don’t want that.”

you/too sick

Are there any other rules people should be aware of before visiting the United States that are not on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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