American know how to live
Are you going to the United States thanks to your ESTA, and you are about to meet your host family or worse your new mother-in-law? Do not stress, this guide is made for you and will allow you to prepare your trip to the USA! Because we do not all have the good manners of Madame de Rothschild, our experts have thought of you! They help you make a successful entry into American society.
Americans are polite and cheerful by nature. So don’t be surprised if strangers approach you to greet you, to ask you how you are doing or to compliment you on the outfit you are wearing. These are just pure expressions of politeness! So beware of misunderstandings, they don’t necessarily want to engage in more conversation with you!
Important notion: the kiss!
We appreciate it a lot in England but it is not used in the United States, it is the “hug” which is required! The hug consists of a frank hug between you and your interlocutor. If you are feeling really comfortable, you can even afford to give it a pat on the back! Be careful, however, not to stick your bust against that of the speaker, under penalty of disconcerting him! Respect his living space, keep a distance of a good twenty centimeters and everything will be fine.
Another widespread practice in the United States is to help your neighbor! You see an old lady carrying groceries that are twice her weight, a child stumbles right in front of you. Don’t wait and come to their aid! In the USA, we spontaneously provide help to the most vulnerable people. Show bravery.
Another custom is that it is considered rude to walk past someone to “steal” their place. Whether you are at the cash desk or in the queue for taxis, be patient, your turn will eventually come!
Make a good impression at work
Your first day of work has finally arrived, and you want to be adopted as quickly as possible by your colleagues and superiors? Show yourself open, smiling and polite!
In the workplace, the custom is to send a frank handshake to employees. Another good point for you, in English no distinction between familiarity and address. The “you” is always used, so you won’t be making a mistake here.
When you go out with your team, most often the “dress code”, ie the outfit to wear for the occasion, will be mentioned. When it says “casual”, stick to a clean, casual outfit. If it is a professional meal, the costume is de rigueur for the men, as well as the tailor for the women. On the other hand, if the invitation specifies “black tie”, the time has come to put on your finest clothes: tuxedo for men and cocktail dresses for women… of course!
Adopt the right attitude at a dinner party
You have been in the United States for a few days now, you are doing your best to adapt as best you can; It’s time for the first invitations!
In America, unlike France, the quarter of an hour of politeness does not apply. This French custom aimed at giving the lady of the house time to finish her beauty treatment or the succulent dishes intended for you, could be understood in the United States as rudeness. Just arrive on time or a little early.
If dinner is planned at the restaurant, wait for a waiter to assign you a seat. Once the meal is finished, you can ask to take away the leftovers, what is called in the USA the famous “doggy bag”. No one will look at you outraged and that’s good news!
Regarding the bill, be sure to leave a “tip” of an amount equivalent to about 15% of the bill. Keep in mind that in the United States, it is common for servers to be paid entirely with tips. So do not ignore this practice which is systematically applied by Americans.
Are you ready to conquer the hearts of Americans? Here are our latest recommendations:
- you should refrain from smoking in or near public places. This bad habit is frowned upon in the United States, just as you can be fined by law enforcement officials.
- we avoid drinking alcohol more than we should in public. Again, this conduct is seen as totally inappropriate.
- Finally, we prove to Americans that we know how to behave in society because French charm and elegance are what we own!