37 things Americans do that confuse the rest of the world


There’s the American way … and then there’s everybody else.

Drink Coffee On the Go

Starbucks may be on every block around the globe, but that doesn’t mean people in other countries drink it the same way we do. Most international coffee customs are more about the communal ritual of sharing a cup in a coffee shop with friends, while Americans opt for the less eco-friendly alternative — an extra-large paper and plastic to-go cup.

Asking for a doggy bag at the end of the meal
is just as gauche as asking for ketchup. It might seem terrible to let food go to waste, but many European eateries turn their nose up at the idea of taking food to go — in their view, it’s a health hazard that could potentially lead to food poisoning. Despite the local attitude, France attempted to cut down on food waste by making it illegal for restaurants to deny doggy bags if they’re requested.

Give a Thumbs Up

There’s even an emoji for it, but the affirming gesture of giving of a thumbs up is not universal. It is actually akin to raising your middle finger in places like Australia, Greece, and the Middle East. It’s probably best to just use your words — especially in business transactions.

Hold Baby Showers

We’ve got major baby fever in the U.S., from the initial pregnancy announcement until the birth. To us, baby showers seem commonplace, but they’re not really a tradition in other parts of the world. Some even consider it bad luck to celebrate a baby before they’re born. And while we’re on the subject of celebrating …

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