Polite Manners in the United States

Polite Manners in the United States

August 29, 2023 By Experience Abroad

Knowing polite manners in the United States is very important, especially for J-1 applicants. Americans may have a different set of social etiquette than what you have in your country, so it’s best to be informed about these.

With that, here are some polite manners that you can incorporate into your day-to-day conversations and socialization during your stay in the US.

  • Eye Contact

Body language can tell many things about a person. The way you move your hands or, in this case, the way you look at other people, sends non-verbal messages about you. 

Maintaining direct eye contact during conversations shows politeness because it sends the message that you are being genuine and truthful about your conversation. Without eye contact, others might think that you are hiding something from them.

  • Greetings & Partings

Whenever you meet someone new, the most polite thing to do is to shake hands when you meet and part ways. You can also introduce yourself, and if you have someone with you, introduce them as well. Your greetings could be as simple as, “Nice to meet you!” or, “See you next time!”

  • Cover your mouth when you burp or cough

Proper table etiquette is very important, especially when dining with newly met people and acquaintances. They find it impolite when you burp, eat with an open mouth, or lick your fingers. 

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to burp or cough, it is polite to say, “Excuse me” right after.

  • Answering a Call

When you need to answer a call while hanging out with other people, show courtesy by excusing yourself from the group. It is best to answer calls privately so as to not interrupt the group and for you to understand the caller properly.

  • Hold the door open for other people

As simple as holding the door open for other people, you are showing courtesy and politeness to the people entering or exiting after you. The gesture shows that you want to make the lives of other people a little better.

When other people will hold the door for you, make sure to show gratitude and say thank you.

  • Bar and Nightlife Etiquette

Bartenders find it fulfilling when customers tip them, so make sure to provide tips when ordering from a bar. It shows that you appreciate their service and you are also satisfied with your drink. Usually, people tip around one to two dollars for each drink.

You can also leave your credit card with the bartender so that you can order multiple rounds of drinks for the night. You’ll pay for everything once you are ready to leave.

  • Smile & Laugh

Last, but not least, don’t forget to smile and laugh with other people. Showing that you are happily enjoying the company of other people makes them feel happy as well. 

Your happiness helps them see whether they have been courteous and pleasant towards you.

By following these polite manners in the United States, you can form meaningful relationships and conversations with your co-interns, co-trainees, and those living in the US.

Although we always encourage you to share and maintain important parts of your culture, learning the how-to’s of social etiquette in their country shows your appreciation and respect towards their culture and traditions.

Just like how the famous phrase goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”


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