We amble through the world, eat, drink, sleep and do everything we’d do in our home country, forgetting about the varied perceptions. You obviously don’t intend to offend anybody when you’re abroad. So, just to keep things straight in line, I am listing some gestures around the world which are actually unappreciated, so that you don’t end up being sorry.
What not to do in Italy: Try to talk to strangers or try to break the ice.
What to do in Italy: If you really want to talk to someone wish them Good Morning (Buongiorno) or Good Evening (buona sera). Umm.. also make sure you don’t look awkward or something while you’re at it.
Reason: It’s not that Italians are rude or something, they’re simply reserved and conversation with a stranger make them a little uneasy.
What not to do in France: Cutting off the lettuce of your salad into pieces and then having it.
What to do in France: Fold the lettuce properly and then grab it using the fork.
Reason: In France cutting lettuce is considered an insult of the chef and depicting that the salad is not made properly.
3. Dominican Republic
What not to do in Dominican Republic: Not having eye contact while talking to someone.
What to do in Dominican Republic: Look into the eyes of the person you are talking to.
Reason: As a general body language sign, if you lose eye contact with the person you are talking to signifies lost of interest.
What not to do in Mexico: Turning up with an extravagant gift to the place of someone who’s invited you.
What to do in Mexico: Rather come up with something simpler like chocolate or flowers, as a gesture of appreciation. Also if you are planning to take flowers, simply avoid marigold and red flowers as they are often associated with funerals and witchcraft.
Reason: If you carry a huge gift, people might consider it a bribe.
What not to do in Canada: Showing thumbs down.
What to do in Canada: Try your best to not use your hands much while you talk.
Reason: Because, of course, it is a disapproving gesture.
6. United Kingdom
What not to do in United Kingdom: Flashing the peace sign using your fingers.
What to do in United Kingdom: Just like in Canada, avoid the usage of hand gestures.
Reason: Often showing off the ‘peace’ sign is considered equivalent to showing middle finger.
What not to do in Jamaica: Public display of affection is a no no!
What to do in Jamaica: Be a little conservative while greeting people (even if they’re of your same gender) in public areas.
Reason: This gesture is associated with homosexuality, which is actually against the laws of Jamaica.
What not to do in Spain: Leaving your food uneaten.
What to do in Spain: Fill your platter as per your appetite.
Reason: This is often seen as you did not like the food
What not to do in China: Sticking the chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.
What to do in China: Rather place the chopsticks together beside the bowl, when you’re not using it.
Reason: This is actually a funeral ritual, in which the bowl of rice is placed next to the deceased person.
What not to do in Germany: Offering someone 12 carnation flowers.
What to do in Germany: A better option would be offering wine or chocolate. But in case you WANT to give flowers, make sure you ask the person their favorite flowers and that you’re not giving an odd number.
Reason: Carnations are used in funerals and odd numbers are considered unlucky.
(I have got a full-fledged list for this country, read on- 10 Ways to Humiliate Yourself in India)