American Culture

Do's and Don'ts

Do’s
  • It is okay to be open and proud about your success in America as Americans like to focus on accomplishments and other positive things. This can sometimes make Australians bashful or uncomfortable, but it is simply a way to encourage one another and is also a part of sharing your life with others.
  • If giving advice or criticism, be sure to emphasise one’s good points before and after doing so.
  • If looking to help someone, try to do so in a way that gives them the opportunity to help themselves. Charity that is done indirectly or circuitously can imply that the person is a burden on others.

Do not’s
  • Avoid mentioning divisive topics such as gun control, the death penalty, abortion, civil rights, etc. These conversations have rarely reached a resolve in the public sphere of debate and can quickly become heated discussion. Similarly, talking about religion can also be sensitive if you do not know everyone’s stance on faith. Some Australians can underestimate the place faith has in people’s private lives.
  • According to a recent Gallup poll, 9 out of 10 Americans are proud of their country. Therefore, do not make fun of the United States. Many Americans would consider themselves patriots, so mocking their country would very likely offend them.
  • Never make racial slurs. Race relations in America are taken extremely seriously. See ‘Considerations’ on what is appropriate.
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