Surprisingly, American cultural taboos are rarely directly tied to religion or tradition, unlike those in other countries. Rather, taboos in America are typically associated with social mores and public etiquette, such wolf whistling or discussing politics or business over dinner. Furthermore, while some taboo behaviors are unique to the US (such not leaving a tip at a restaurant), many others are universal, indicating that similar actions and behaviors are frowned upon and considered socially improper in many other countries.

Top 11 Taboos in the US You Should Avoid
Top 11 Taboos In The US You Should Avoid

Top 11 Taboos In The US You Should Avoid

1. Never Consume Alcohol in Public

Certain states in the United States forbid the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public areas like parks and sidewalks. This is to limit drunkenness in public and to stop people from driving while intoxicated.

Therefore, if you prefer to drink alcohol in these types of public areas rather than at bars or restaurants, it will reflect poorly on you and, if it's against the law in that state, you might even end up in jail!

2. Don't Make Fun Of The Nation

The majority of Americans identify as patriots and are proud of their nation.

Therefore, it's crucial to keep any unfavorable thoughts about the nation to yourself, especially if they could be seen as ridiculing.

If you were to make fun of the United States of America, you would probably insult Americans.

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3. Not leaving a tip

American society has included tipping since the Great Depression. In the US, it is now customary to tip servers 20% in restaurants. Additionally, you ought to tip hair stylists, baristas, and taxi drivers. There is no negotiating the American tradition of tipping. Everyone gives a large tip. Even 15% tipping Canadians may find this shocking if they are from a country like Australia where tipping is not customary. When you enter the United States, you really need to start tipping more.

4. Making Phone Calls During Dinner

Top 11 Taboos in the US You Should Avoid

Tablets and cell phones are another frequent source of conflict in American households. Much like in most other nations, using your phone excessively has become problematic.

Several households have clear policies against cell phone use during mealtime. Some also forbid using electronics after a particular hour of the night.

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5. Cigarette Smoking in Public

Top 11 Taboos in the US You Should Avoid

While smoking rates are still high in several European nations, such as Greece, it is gradually declining in the US. This is mostly attributable to greater awareness about the long-term health effects of smoking.

The CDC estimates that 14.0 percent of Americans smoke. This is less than it was fifteen years ago—20.9%.

Social acceptance of smoking has decreased along with its prevalence. You'll discover that, in contrast to fifty years ago, smoking is now strictly prohibited in dining places and public locations.

In a similar vein, you can receive strange looks if you light up at work. If you smoke, make sure you go somewhere peaceful to avoid bothering other people with your smoke.

6. Steer clear of eye contact

While maintaining eye contact is frowned upon and even disrespectful in certain cultures, it is welcomed in American culture.

Keeping your eyes open will demonstrate that you are paying attention, actively listening, and not getting sidetracked.

There are a few minor exclusions. Making one glance at someone in a flirty scenario could be problematic. If you're flirting with someone who doesn't reciprocate, making eye contact, smiling, and making flirtatious jokes could land you in hot water.

7. Wait to Eat Until Your Host Is Present

It could be considered impolite to begin eating before the host takes a seat if you're a guest in their home.

But it differs from house to house. While some hosts offer the food to everyone and then feed themselves last, others will urge you to start eating as soon as possible.

It helps to simply wait to eat until everyone is seated and ready to eat in order to be safe.

Slurping, chewing loudly, blowing your nose at the table, eating with your mouth open, and burping are all regarded as rude dining behaviors.

8. Avoid Making Sexist or Racist Jokes

Jokes concerning gender and ethnicity are getting less and less acceptable in today's world.

Race relations are taken very seriously and equality is cherished more and more in America as a result of the recent cultural revolution. As a result, remarks that might offend women or people of color are generally frowned upon.

It's gotten to the point where certain comedic venues are banning jokes of this nature that could offend people. That being said, politically inappropriate jokes are still welcome at most cities' comedy clubs.

9. Burping In Public

People who can't manage to control their body functions are particularly disliked by Americans!

One might probably expect a sidelong gaze in response to a burp (and of course farts). Not only does that sound awful, but most of us will be turned off by the possibility of a foul stench following.

If you feel like you need to get some air out, make sure to excuse yourself to the bathroom as it's especially unpleasant if you do this at the dinner table!

10. Recessing in Public

It's not hygienic to spit in public. Disease and germs can be transmitted by it.

However, it's simply just uncomfortable to enter and observe other people's bodily fluids!

Spitting in public is probably not going to get you into any trouble, but it might not be appreciated. People may look at you strangely or may just think you're a really disgusting person. If you must spit, locate a peaceful area and do so into the ground or grass rather than the pavement.

11. Talking About Gun Culture

The gun rights movement is another contentious political issue that you should stay away from while you are a guest at someone's home. Even if the sensationalist media frequently discusses it, chances are good that the people around the dinner table will think considerably differently than you do.

Thus, visitors should always stay away from this subject.

Furthermore, foreign visitors—who typically originate from nations with far stricter gun laws—would find it quite offensive if their opinions were imposed on them.


You will encounter a great range of experiences when you go to a new nation. Many will be helpful, but some may come out as unclear. It's crucial to become familiar with the taboos in your new nation in order to avoid any potential misunderstandings or well-intentioned mistakes. The concepts of rudeness, inappropriate behavior, and social taboo can change based on a number of factors, including age, geography, and cultural or religious origins.

Taboos are words or actions that are frowned upon in society. For instance, avoiding eye contact is considered respectful in some nations. It is regarded as impolite or a sign that the other person is lying in the United States.

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