Immigrants Are Sharing The US Norms They Found Difficult To Get Used To And Some Of Them Are Pretty Unexpected

Immigrants Are Sharing The US Norms They Found Difficult To Get Used To And Some Of Them Are Pretty Unexpected

Updated 5 minutes ago. Posted 13 minutes ago

“I never realized how essential bidets were until I arrived in the US.”

On Wednesday, Reddit user TrustMe_ImDaHolyGhst asked the question, “Non-Americans who moved to the US, what are some social customs that have been the hardest for you to get used to?”


Here are just some of the things that might seem totally normal to people from the US, but can take some getting used to for those who aren’t:


First, “According to my parents, it was people giving them a thumbs up. In their country of origin, a thumbs up is basically the equivalent of the middle finger in the US.”



“Saying, ‘Hi, how are you?’ to strangers — and then nobody actually answering the question.”



“Pounds. Ounces. Feet. Miles. I could never get the hang of it.”



“My friend’s Russian dad got pulled over by the police, so he got out and started walking toward them — because that’s the norm where he’s from. He quickly learned that you’re supposed to stay in the car.”



“Younger people calling adults by just their first name. I’m from the Caribbean, so can’t help but refer to people as Mr. or Ms. — even if I’m familiar with them.”



“Keeping my shoes on when walking into someone’s home. I feel like a barbarian!”

— fidelkastro

Andreypopov / Getty Images


“Tipping culture is so alien to me as an Australian. I always over-tipped because I was never sure — some people would react like I’d made their day for what I thought wasn’t a big tip. Coincidentally, I forgot to tip a bartender once and I was made to feel like the worst person ever.”



“My wife is an immigrant and she doesn’t get potluck dinners. Inviting people over to your house for a meal and then telling them to bring the food isn’t culturally acceptable in her background.”

— Paddington3773


“I never realized how essential bidets were to my life, my hygiene, and my comfort until I arrived in the US and I realized that they have nowhere to wash their ass here. Of course, there is the shower — but a bidet is a thousand times better.”



“The work culture! You get so few vacation days and most people didn’t use them all for fear of what it looks like. In the UK, if we don’t use all our days, HR will normally ask us if everything is okay.”



“Americans love pets like their own families. Kissing dogs on the mouth, sharing bowls with dogs, and so on.”


Peskymonkey / Getty Images


“The alcohol laws. In the UK, you can drink in private from a very young age (as long as you have parental consent) and have some alcohol in a restaurant with a meal. In America, I tried to hand a pint to my dad from a bar and the barman started shouting at me to put it down because I wasn’t 21.”



“For me, the weirdest thing is hugging people. In Europe, we kiss on the cheek — but most of the times it’s really kissing the air. I can’t get used to people squeezing me and feeling their warm body against mine.”



“Calling their country America.”



Finally, “So much selection — every product comes in so many different versions! I didn’t even know half these things existed.”


Xcarrot_007 / Getty Images

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

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