When you think of etiquette, the first thing that may spring to mind is your grandmother directing you to sit up straight and keep your elbows off of the dinner table. (No? Just me?) But across the globe, different cultures experience day to day life in a variety of ways that vary greatly from how you or I may do things. Some of these etiquette rules from around the world that America needs might seem strange at first when compared to the traditional American way of doing things, but following them might just make our own culture a little more harmonious.
Imagine a life where we took our time eating meals, didn't grab produce in the supermarket with grubby germ-ridden hands, and also didn't bat an eye at someone who is running a little late. I mean, I'm sure moms everywhere can relate to the need for a bit of grace when we scramble to get kids ready and out the door in order to arrive at our destination on time.
Even though not all of these etiquette rules will catch on here in the states, taking the time to learn the customs of other cultures and see the value in their way of doing things can't hurt. Read on to see which of these etiquette rules from around the world you can start practicing today.
1. Don't Rush Through Meals — France
While this might be easier said than done when you're a busy parent, taking your time to enjoy a good meal in its entirety sounds just heavenly. In French culture, savoring every bite is customary and slower eating can aid in digestion and prevent overeating as well, according to Art of the Home. So take a nod from the good people of France the next time you sit down to eat and enjoy each and every bite of your food to its entirety — you deserve it!
2. Keep Your Hands Off Of Produce — Europe
It's pretty gross when you think about how we shop for produce here in America. I am totally guilty of picking up apple after apple in the supermarket and getting my germs on apples that I may or may not purchase depending on whether or not they have any bad spots. According to a report by The Spruce, it is considered bad form to handle produce in European marketplaces. While I'm sure you're thoroughly washing your fruits and vegetables after purchasing them, adopting this practice could help prevent the spread of germs to the foods you consume.
3. Pick Up The Tab — Ghana
When you invite a friend out for lunch or coffee, it is a welcomed sign of appreciation for their acceptance of the invite in Ghana to pay the bill for you both. According to a report by Wise Bread, not picking up the tab after inviting friends out in Ghana could cost you the friendship. While this may not be financially feasible in every situation, paying for your friend's drinks if they agree to meet you after work seems like a very friendly thing to do and a way to spread kindness that may be reciprocated in the future.
4. Slurp Away — Japan
In Japanese culture, it is considered a sign of appreciation of the delicious food you have been served to slurp soup or noodles, according to Global Citizen. Eating quietly can be quite difficult when trying to contain your delight for yummy treats, so take a cue from Japanese culture and quit trying to keep quiet when enjoying your food. This one is also quite helpful for encouraging kids to eat their food. If they're resisting a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup, go ahead and let them know that you're doing things the Japanese way and slurping is encouraged.
5. Be OK With Tardiness — Venezuela
As a person who hates to be late, this one is hard to swallow, but the laid back people of Venezuela don't have a problem with people who run late. According to eDiplomat, it is typical for Venezuelans to be forgiving of those who perpetually run late and think nothing of showing up to 10-20 minutes late for an event. The busy mom in me thinks that adopting this type of nonchalance when it comes to arrival times for school and work would save my sanity.
6. Never Refuse A Gift — Zimbabwe
This is one etiquette rule I'm struggling to teach my kids. I've most definitely had the experience of a child opening a Christmas gift from a relative only to toss it aside and declare they don't like it. Shameful, I know. In Zimbabwe, it is customary for anyone receiving a gift to accept the gift without refusal, according to Cloud 9 Living. Another great concept that people outside of Zimbabwe should also adopt is showing appreciation for gifts through clapping, jumping, or dancing. This nonverbal thanksgiving sounds like way too much fun and might even convince my kids not to be so ungrateful when they get clothes for Christmas.
7. Don't Face Away From Someone — Russia
According to Reader's Digest, Russian etiquette dictates that it is considered rude to turn your back to someone when you are trying to squeeze by. Think about walking down the row at a ball game or concert trying to find your seat. If you were in Russia, it would be rude to do this facing away from the people who are already seated. They end up with your rear end in their face and I'm pretty sure nobody wants that. Instead, turn toward them so they don't get a face full of your rear end and you can politely say "excuse me" face to face.