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35 Things That Are Only Offensive in the U.S.

Offering an 18-Year-Old a Drink

The drinking age here is strictly 21. Serving anyone under 21 will get the location slapped with a fine and shut down. Younger Americans are pretty psyched to visit other countries because they can drink. All hail Bacchus, the God of Wine!

Leaving Kids in Strollers Outside Stores

Leave your kids outside a store or restaurant in America and see what happens, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. In Scandinavian countries, this is apparently totally chill—pardon the pun. The cool air apparently helps babies sleep? Guess it’s hard to fuss when you’re freezing.

Talk in the Imperative Form

Other languages don’t beat around the bush. Instead of saying “I would like a coffee,” they say something like, “give me a coffee.” Say that to your barista and see what happens in America. Bring a big tip.

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Saying Certain Words

Curse words are pretty chill in other countries, especially England and Australia (of course, Australia). Even in France, it’s perfectly fine to say the word “merde” in public. We’ll let you Google that one.

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Not Leaving a Tip

If you really want to be offensive in America, don’t leave a tip. In other countries, you’ll get a pretty funny look. Sometimes, the person may even get offensive if you leave a tip, so it’s a good idea to look up customs before going to a restaurant in another country. 

Letting Kids Play Sans Clothes in Fountains

Whoa, hey. Put a shirt and shorts on your little one! People wouldn't think that elsewhere in the world. Other countries aren’t so obsessed with all that because people generally don’t care. For some reason, it isn’t the same in America.

Not Smiling at Others

Unless you live in New York, it’s pretty dang rude not to smile at someone when you make eye contact. In other countries, it doesn’t matter. They got places to go and people to see—probably people not to smile at.

Discussing Salary

Some businesses in America actually bar you from discussing your salary with your coworkers, so it’s an offensive, fire-able thing. In other countries, it’s totally fine to talk about. We’re open to the idea.

Eating Certain Foods

American cuisine can be questionable—looking at you, chitterlings. Still, some foods are considered downright offensive. Ever heard of balut? Crack open a half-formed baby chicken, and you’re sure to have someone yelling at you. 

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Commenting on Weight

When you go overseas, don’t get offended when someone comments on your weight. It’s just what happens. One Reddit user claimed a skipper in Fiji said, “you two fat ones come and sit at the front, one on each side.” Dear lord—that would end in a lawsuit in America. 

Hiring Someone Based on Looks

South Korea has a super competitive job market and looks are important; so much so, the majority of people attach a headshot with their application. Hiring someone based on looks in America? Uh, that’s called discrimination, my friend. 

Standing Too Close to Another Person

Personal space? What’s that? Okay, okay. America isn’t the only country that has a problem with it, but our personal space bubbles are pretty big. Stand too close to someone in America, and you’re asking for something bad to happen.

Topless Women

So apparently, it’s perfectly normal for women in other countries to go topless?  Just wow. You'd probably get a ticket in America...or end up in jail.

Staying at the Restaurant Post-Meal

Going to eat a meal with a friend is cool and all but vacate the table when you’re done (in America). This has to deal with tipping. More tables equals more tips for the wait staff. If you want to have a two-hour conversation after a meal, go to a coffee shop. 

Birthday Person Paying for Their Food

In America, it’s ridiculous to expect the birthday person to pay for their own food. In other countries? Yeah, they’re paying for it all. Why? They invited everyone, so why should everyone else have to pay?

Waving or Snapping at Waiter

Snapping, waving, or yelling for a waiter in America is offensive. Somehow, you’re supposed to telepathically let them know you need their assistance. In France? Call “GARCON!” and your waiter will be right over.

Slurping at the Dinner Table

Don’t put your elbows on the table and don’t slurp—or at least, don’t do this in America. In Japan and some other countries, slurping is considered a great compliment. Your food is so good, I can’t get it in my mouth fast enough.

Sitting Through the National Anthem

This one isn’t just the United States either, but a lot of countries don’t really care about the national anthem. Heck, in England, people neither know the words nor care about their anthem. Here, you gotta stand and put your hand on your heart. ‘MURICA! 

Putting Money on Counter When Paying

This one is a double-edged sword. In America, you can’t put money on the counter when you’re paying at a cash register. In other countries, it doesn’t matter. Then, in some places, it’s offensive to hand the money to the person. Putting money on the counter will just piss the cashier off in America.

Kissing on the Cheek

Yeah, no. Don’t put your mouth on my face and spread your germs everywhere. I don’t care if it’s affectionate in other countries. Let’s not do that here, okay?

Speaking Another Language

This one isn’t like a 100% thing, but it’s common enough to mention. A lot of people get bombarded and yelled at because they’re just speaking their native tongue. The funny thing is, America doesn’t even have a national language, so people can speak whatever. 

Clothes-less People and Curse Words on TV

If you see someone on American TV sans-clothes and saying curse words on TV, you’re probably watching HBO or Starz or something. Our regular channels don’t have that kind of stuff. Heck, networks have been known to get thousands of letters because of a little wardrobe malfunction during a live event.

Using Metric

We’re in America, so use ambiguous measuring systems! We don’t use liters, kilometers, or anything of the sort. How big is it? "Well, it’s about two football fields wide." Um, okay?

Sitting in the Front While in a Cab

Some cabbies get pretty mad when you sit in the front seat. It’s just weird. Plus, it puts them in danger. It’s just easier for everyone if you sit in the back seat. In other countries, it’s rude not to sit in the front seat.  

Offensive Nicknames

In other countries, it’s totally fine to give people nicknames based on their appearance or ethnicity. Doing that here would probably get you knocked in the face or yelled at for half an hour.

Going at it in Public

Intense snogging in public is fine in other countries. Sure, a lot of people do it in America, but it’s pretty taboo. It’s so bad that someone can call the police on you, and you could actually get arrested for it.

Red Light Districts

Not every place has a red light district but hiring a “lady of the night” is perfectly legal in other countries. In America, the idea of having such a thing is offensive (and illegal). People will literally avoid these neighborhoods. 


Sometimes eyes wander, alright? It isn’t because your face is particularly interesting, but people still get offended by staring. In some places, like Germany, it’s whatever. People stare when they’re waiting for the train to get to the next stop.

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Sharing Cultural Things

A growing number of people are offended when someone “takes” another person’s culture. In other countries, it’s just seen as sharing. Some cultures are even happy to see other person embracing their culture.

Public Baby Feeding

In America, you don’t whip it out and feed your baby. There are special stations in the bathroom for such things, and not going into one will get you chastised. Elsewhere, it’s fine because a baby gotta eat when a baby gotta eat.

Not Glorifying the Military

It’s great to have people defending your country, and those people deserve respect. But some other countries don’t glorify the military as we do in America. Basically, you have to thank anyone in uniform for their service. Elsewhere? Not so much.

Having Multiple Wives

Even mentioning breaking monogamy to your spouse will end up with divorce proceedings. Actually, going through with it is illegal in America. We’re not sure what would happen, but it probably wouldn’t be good. 

Disrespecting the National Flag

You don’t disrespect the American flag. It doesn’t matter who you are. For some people, wearing the American flag as a piece of clothing is even offensive. Other places aren't so respectful toward their flag. 

“Friendly” Banter

In England, you can call your buds literally whatever you want. We’re talking things that would absolutely cross the line in America. You just don’t call someone a nonce here.

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Not Replying Back

We’re pretty sure everyone thinks this is weird, but in America, we constantly reply back to someone. Not replying is just rude and offensive, and it's almost like everyone wants the final word. In other countries? The conversation is over when the topic is discussed.