Living in America – Dos and Don’ts

Traveling abroad for the first time? Visiting America for the first time? Don’t know what to expect? Continue reading.
Keep in mind that all nations are different and things are different for different cultures. Getting used to life in a new culture isn’t easy. One thing to remember is that you should ALWAYS follow the laws of the land and accept the rules and standards by which the citizens live (despite how you may feel!). Culture Shock is not a myth. So, accept it and get ready.

Most of the content here is common sense, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

General Social Etiquette:

  • Don’t be a douche.
  • Smile and say “Hello” if you make eye contact with someone.
  • “Thank you” and “Sorry” should be part of your vocabulary.
  • Queues ALWAYS work in a First-In-First-Out order. No exceptions even if you’re in a hurry or think your time is important. No pushing. No shoving.
  • Be considerate of others. Keep your voice down when talking on a cell phone. No one is interested in your personal business. More on cell phone etiquette.
  • Be courteous, respectful and kind. No matter how many times a driver cuts you off, do not gesticulate in their general direction in an offensive manner.
  • Respect personal space. Don’t ask probing personal questions like how much do you earn, why did you break up.
  • “What’s up” is a synonym for “How you doing”. Don’t start narrating your life story when some “whaddups” you. 😉
  • Learn the meaning of ‘clean up after yourself’. Then practice till you master it. Especially outdoors (think coffee shops, libraries, grocery stores, malls, your room!).

General Driving Etiquette:
The percentage of motorists who really understand the basic tenets of driving vary from road to road. Those drivers who don’t, roll as they see fit. This is wrong, and it’s also quite frustrating to the other motorists that understand the rules of the road. Living by a few basic rules of roadway etiquette can make all the difference between safe, courteous driving — and driving everyone else on the road crazy. Unless you want to be a Masshole. Yup, I live in Boston.

  • One of my biggest pet peeves. Use turn signals. You will definitely avoid a lot of near collisions if you follow this one advice.
  • Don’t multi-task behind the wheel. Don’t. It might not be against the law in your state, but seriously, don’t. Please don’t. Your main focus should be on the road in front of you – not the radio, cell phone, GPS, or that hot dame (alright, a quick glance is OK). If you need to make an important call, text, check your email, watch youtube, or even read a map (jeez, you still use a map?), pull over and do it by the road side.
  • You can’t and shouldn’t change lanes whenever you feel like. Nothing annoys people more than someone cutting them off. Planning in advance and knowing where you’re going doesn’t really hurt.
  • It is OK to drive according to the posted speed limit. I didn’t say exceed. Use the pedal on the right to reach the posted speed limit. Weather and road conditions permitting. Driving too slow can be dangerous, at least on highways.
  • Hogging the left lane is a vile offense.
  • Pedestrians get right of way at crosswalks. And no, they don’t enjoy spending time in the middle of the road dodging cars. Please don’t honk at pedestrians unless you’re competing for the douche-of-the-year award.
  • Learn how to merge on the highway.
  • Learn how to park. Parking within the confines of a single parking space is the goal. Then, learn how to parallel park.
  • Don’t share your music. Unless you are really desperate for attention. Make sure your music stays inside your car.

To Be Updated …

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5 Responses to Living in America – Dos and Don’ts

  1. Madhu says:

    Nice article shreyas… im immigrating to the US in a month, came across your site. I guess i will have to go with the flow and experience things firsthand… do you suggest a book that can prep for eg. i found an expression ‘to go” which implies parceling(indianism) or carrying out of the resturant. i work for an MNC but find it very difficult to follow american accents and how quickly they joke and laugh.

  2. Anusha says:

    Good Information Shreyas. I recently moved to US and these tips helps. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Salau olalekan says:

    This is really good, you help the foreigners to understand America, you make me see the through picture of the dos amd don’ts cheers keep it up.

  4. Jess says:

    People need to learn the dont talk loudly on your phone rule .. AGAIN i go into a store and all i hear is someone talking about how they slept with this guy last night and this other guy the night before .. But the article was helpful

  5. kelly says:

    also when your in america don’t drink too much at a social gatherings. Unless your body is immune to ALCOHOL then once you get drunk it wont be pretty and its considered messy and vey rancorous.

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