Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever

The United States is the land of laws and codices; always has and always will be. But on top of that, there are also unwritten rules about the American way of life that are worth knowing whether you’re planning to move there or just visit.

Recently, Reddit user Praglik made a post on the platform, saying: “Americans of Reddit, what’s something anyone visiting the US for the first time absolutely must know about or be aware of?” And locals flooded the comment section with their answers.

So we compiled them into a comprehensive list in case you plan to go there and need to brush up on your social etiquette.

24 hour Diners. According to stuff I read in Reddit, our diners are legendary.

ETA: I’m American and I eat at them a lot. I was just surprised how much visitors from other countries love our diners so much.

Revolutionary-Tree18 , Josh Hild Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever You drive five hours in the US: you’re basically still in the same place.

You drive five hours in Europe: everyone’s talking funny and the cheese is different.

KaimeiJay , Quintin Gellar Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever When we say, “How’s it going?” we don’t need a literal answer. It’s just a greeting. I went to college with a guy from Germany and this confused him quite a bit when he first got here. He thought people wanted to know about his whole day.

TDeath21 , Jess Loiterton Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever People have different personalities depending on what part of the country you’re in. In Louisiana, you have great conversations with folks at the bar. In South Carolina, I might invite you over to their house. In New York City, they’re going to ignore you. In California, they’re only interested if it benefits them.

Drew_P_Nuts , Joshua Earle Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever 1. Come to America just before Thanksgiving.

2. Casually mention to American acquaintance that you’re alone on Thanksgiving.

3. Accept immediate invite to whatever Thanksgiving gathering is being held.

Everyone has their own quirky Thanksgiving traditions and we love sharing them

Luckypenny4683 , Tima Miroshnichenko Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever Personal space. Do not get right up behind someone standing in line, if you’re lucky you’ll just make them uncomfortable, unlucky and you may find yourself in a fight.

ironblondies , Pixabay Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever Food and drink portions are HUGE. Order a Coke at a sit-down restaurant and you’ll likely get about 32+oz. And when it’s mostly gone, they’ll just bring you another one.

Mexican restaurants tend to give you 40+oz glasses of your drink.

And speaking of Mexican restaurants… They’ll bring chips and salsa until you can’t even stand up anymore. Then they’ll bring your entree.

tn_notahick , pxhere Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever If you end up in the south east be ready to be smiled at, talked to and have door open for you. That’s how they pick up anyone not from the south.

Responsible_Fan8665 , Tony Mucci Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever Food portions are huge, but anything you can’t finish can be packed up for later. You just need to ask.

FlygonsGonnaFly , pxhere Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever You can die climbing Angels Landing at Zion National Park. If you fall, you die, ain’t no one gonna be able to save you.

Deshackled , Brian Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever While walking down the street, people will randomly make eye contact and then smile. No, you don’t know them, this is just their way of being polite. They expect you to smile back and then break eye contact.

Legen–dary Report

Most Americans are quite friendly and helpful. That most of them are truly interested in hearing all about you and your country.

Ronotimy Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever Do not under any circumstances try to bribe a cop depending on where you come from that might seem odd but trust me you will get in trouble if you try.

DanHN2002 , Kindel Media Report

We have almost any biome here. Forest, snowyness, desert, beach, swamp, rainforest, plains, etc etc. it can be quite confusing.

Trick_Composer_2461 Report

As a foreigner I have to add to this thread.
If they like you, you’ll know. Americans are some of the most generous people I’ve ever met.
I’ve only been to florida and every single time people have given me more food than I paid for, their own employee discounts, invited me to their homes for dinner (also, dinner is earlier than you’re used to if your from Latin America, you won’t be eating at 8-10pm, you’ll be eating anywhere from 4pm to 7pm, no later than that), if people like you you’ll be treated as family as soon as they figure you’re not a serial killer.
I love America and you’ve been nothing but great to me. I’m grateful to have met some of the best people I know in America and to have friends there.
Also, I’ve only been to Florida and have yet to meet one of these dangerous creatures called “Florida man”, I know you’re not supposed to feed them or anything but I don’t know if they are “that” harmful or dangerous

BlackPiroc Report

This thread is actually making me love the US more. One thing I haven’t seen anyone mention, I had a girlfriend from Turkey for a while and her mother came to visit. She was so excited to see beer on the soda machine and couldn’t wait to have some. It’s root beer, it’s non alcoholic. Sorry to disappoint. Still delicious though.

LobotomistPrime Report

If you’re in the southeastern US, and you find yourself driving down Martin Luther King Boulevard late at night, you should leave.

Positive-Source8205 Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever People will just start talking to you if the line is long enough.

Water refills are always free.

The majority of cities and towns are not walkable.

You don’t need a membership to buy alcohol from Costco.

Have at, don’t die, smile at people.

Almost forgot: do not be in a Waffle House/Denny’s/iHop/Perkins after 10 pm. Especially not Waffle House.

deliriousgoomba , Enric Cruz López Report

“Southern Hospitality” is not a carte blanche invitation to act like you own the place. We’ll give directions, stop on the side or the road and change your tire, and start conversations for no reason but once you start making absurd demands of strangers you’ll hear “bless your heart” before you get punched.

SCirish843 Report

The local burger shops are better than the regional burger chains which are better than the national burger chains.

Cheezslap Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever If you visit a National Park, don’t mess with the wildlife. Buffalo (even cows) can kill you. Most rabbits carry enough parasites and viruses to make you very ill. Also, carry enough water with you — the parks don’t always have drinking water readily available at every rest stop. If water or mud is bubbling and you don’t feel heat standing next to it, DO NOT touch it. It can still burn!

blarf_banding , Craig Stevenson Report

I think it’s really funny that the CA DMV official drivers manual says, “do NOT make eye contact with another driver, this will make them MORE angry.”

oof-floof Report

Don’t just get BBQ once in one place. Go to all the places and get all the BBQ everywhere.

Brancher Report

We are friendly and will get in your face.

We know it’s not “real” <insert country here> food.

diablollama Report

The vast majority of people are way nicer than the news outlets and the internet make them to be. Chances are someone will randomly start talking to you.

Tap Water is safe to drink but tastes terrible.

Also, everything is huge. From food portions to distances between places.

flacocaradeperro Report

When you come to the us prepare for endless amounts of ice in your drink. You might not even get any drink but you will have more ice than you could ever imagine

Responsible_Fan8665 Report

Personal space. Americans do not want to be touched. We want to know every single thing about you because we find foreigners fascinating (most of us love foreigners and are simply curious), except for how your breath feels on our face. We have bubbles that must be respected. That is probably why Americans are “loud,” we just simply stay farther away from each other.

MorbidMunchkin Report

Not sure if you also have this fear but I have a few European friends and they are afraid to visit because they are worried about getting shot and racism.

You’ll be fine, trust a stranger on Reddit. Most people are normal and will be nice to you if you’re nice to them

adubsi Report

Almost everyone in America thinks your accent is charming, and thinks you’re super-fancy just for coming from Cork/Manchester/Kyoto/Lagos/Guangzho/Rio/Mexico City.

90% of native-English-speaking Americans absolutely adore hearing people speak English with an accent and with foreign syntax. English is a wildly flexible language, and we love to hear people flex it by translating their native language into English in ways that sound a little weird in English. We will 100% steal it from you because it’s vivid! Shakespeare has infected all of us, we love vivid and surprising language! We absolutely devour non-native speakers because they use English like Shakespeare and Chaucer, in vivid ways that re-illuminate the language. Do NOT be embarrassed; we all want to steal your metaphors and odd phrases and malapropisms, because you are DOING SHAKESPEARE RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF US. Like, literally offer the awkwardest phrase you’ve got in English, and a bunch of English speakers will instantly adopt it because it’s wildly vivid. They may even steal your Italian or Chinese or Portuguese word, because it says something we can’t currently say in American English.

We are also incredibly impressed that you can speak English in addition to other languages! We feel humble and slightly dumb that we can’t, and we want to make your English-speaking as painless as possible. Non-native speakers are often embarrassed at their English proficiency, but *literally everyone in America* thinks you are amazing and is hanging on your every word! Most of us don’t want to be weird and awkward and signal that you’re not a native speaker (especially after the Trump years), so we won’t mention it unless you do. But we are all sitting here ADORING your accent and freaking out that you’re so good at English.

Visit Chicago. It is by far the most American city, and it is clean, friendly, and everyone will want to hear your story and may possibly invite you to Thanksgiving dinner upon first meeting.

If you are a college student, ask your dorm-mates about Thanksgiving. Someone will invite you home with them, and be super-happy to have the opportunity to do so! We’re a hospitable people, Thanksgiving is uniquely American, and we know non-American kids in the dorms may not have somewhere to go! If you mention your dietary restrictions, they will make you vegan or halal or gluten-free Thanksgiving food (it might not be good, but they will try). They will want you to call your mother, and they may want to say hi to your mother, so she knows you’re being taken care of on Thanksgiving. Your mother might not know what Thanksgiving is! But your American roommate’s mother wants YOUR mother to know that you have a place here, so the two of them will have a very awkward conversation and both leave feeling satisfied that you are loved and cared for.

AliMcGraw Report

big country. no high speed rail. if you want to go between states, you fly, and the tickets cost hundreds of dollars extra if you don’t book months in advance.

do not bring weaponry or combat gear through TSA, they will turn you away.

plscallmeRain Report

It isn’t like the movies and TV shows, which tend to show southern California or New York City. The country is incredibly diverse in environment, political beliefs, accents, economics, etc. If you drive from one side of the country to the other, you will encounter so many differences you won’t believe it’s the same country. Sometimes you don’t even have to drive to see these differences.

If you expect Times Square but fly into North Dakota, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. If you visit the beach of Baywatch, you’ll be shocked that instead of Pamela Anderson running in slow motion you’ll see 100 overweight, middle-aged couples eating fried chicken. If you go 2 blocks off of the Las Vegas Strip, it turns into a regular city… and if you go two blocks in the wrong direction, you may fear for your life. If you think you’ll see movie stars in Hollywood, you’ll be surprised that it’s mostly a disgusting area… and you can go from a ghetto-like environment to the fanciest of fancy Beverly Hills by crossing the street.

JiuJitsuBoy2001 Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever Don’t get out of your car if you’re pulled over by the police unless directed to do so.

bboe , Kenny Eliason Report

we don’t actually care how you’re doing, even when we ask, just say “good” or “doing well, how about you”

EndorphinSpeedBot Report

Don’t be afraid to feel comfortable here. As far as anyone is concerned this is just as much Any foreigners home as ours, we have the occasional a*****e that makes snarky remarks. Don’t take it personally if u run into one because chances are he’s a d**k head no matter what color you are or culture you have. Just have fun and enjoy your stay and don’t let the media brainwash you into thinking that Americans are all just racist pricks. Most of us are pretty nice. Personally I’m from west Virginia, the south what is commonly known as the most racist portion of America. We get Muslims, Mexicans, Asians, all of the above, not a single hate crime report here for decades. I’m even dating an Austrian girl who says America is lovely. Our government just sucks man.

Party_Concentrate621 Report

If you’re travelling in the west, especially in a desert (Arizona, for example), absolutely stock your car entirely f**k-a*s full of water. If you think you have enough, fill up more. If your gas tank isn’t full, fill it up. If the sign says there aren’t any petrol stations for hundreds of miles, they aren’t f*****g with you.

Americans have died f*****g that up, and we choose to live here. You *will* die if you don’t take me seriously. Also, all that water is great, but electrolytes are also important.

PoetBakerSlut Report

DO NOT TRUST YOUR GPS IN THE DESERT. Many GPS programs list roads as existing which are actually 4-wheel drive roads, or may not exist at all. ISTR they found the remains of a German family after being missing for over 13 years in Death Valley.

banjowashisnamo Report

You’re not solving any US political issues during your visit, and you’ll just make people think you’re an annoying outsider poking their nose in stuff that’s none of their business – even if they agree with you. We prefer to talk about the positive things going on in our country.

Patriotism may seem weird to you, but it’s a thing and people take it very seriously. Be respectful.

zerbey Report

Don’t go to a dangerous urban area because you saw it on some movie or TV show that was filmed there.

SculpinIPAlcoholic Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever Public restrooms are free…usually. Though, it is common courtesy that if you use the restroom in a store or fast food place, you buy something — even if it’s something small.

wtn06 , Inti Tupac Liberman Ares Report

Americans Are Sharing 55 ‘Unspoken Rules’ That People Should Know About Before Visiting The United States For The First Time Ever Depending on where you’re going in the US, be aware of ticks and mosquitoes. They can have Lyme disease and other diseases that can easily get you really sick. And with healthcare costs in the US, you don’t want that.

toosickto , wikimedia Report

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