The world is a big place filled with a lot of people from different walks of life. Culture clash is inevitable, and most people think their common traditions or practices are perfectly fine when in fact they could be pretty offensive to others. There are times you might find yourself in a situation outside of your cultural comfort zone, doing something you think is perfectly fine, but in reality you are violating a strict cultural taboo or committing a gross insult to someone raised in a different culture than yours. To prevent such situations, here is a list of the top 10 customs that some countries consider rude.
It is taboo not to tip in some cultures. In fact, people sue each other over “tip skipping”. When you go to a restaurant with a friend, you often find yourself wanting to know how much the other is tipping so you don’t look bad yourself. It’s the opposite in Europe, where a tip is not expected at all, and restaurant staff are perfectly happy if you just leave your change on the table, if anything at all. In countries like Japan, tipping in restaurants is actually considered rude because a server does not need additional incentive to perform his/her job to their maximum ability.
Whistling is a cherished activity in many cultures. People whistle while they work, when they hear their favorite song on the radio, or when they are in a happy mood. However, according to Haitian Creole language blogger Mandaly Claude Louis-Charles, whistling is rude for children and young people because “In Haiti, kids are ‘supposed to be’ seen, not heard.” It is also believed rude when children sit cross-legged or looking an older person straight in the eye. It’s a respect thing.