Most cultures have an intricate set of rules governing general social behavior, But they are not what they used to be like in England in days of Queen Victoria, when gentlemenwore hats just so they could take it off when meeting ladies and inexperienced diners almost starved to death from fear of exhibit inadequate manners. Good manners invented by the upper class in interestof a smooth social intercourse became a repressive code which put people in place. On the other side, Americans created what is known as bad manners, this was strongly supported by Canadians andAustralians, who really don’t care about etiquette.
In some of England’s colonies we can see the influence of correct behavior held by their mothercountry, like in India we can see this in the formalityof posture and flowery speech which retain Victorian overtones. New Zealanders and South Africans appear very polite to English people, who since WW2 have adopted easy-going American social attitudes.Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians are located as one of the most informal societies in the early twenty-first century, where as Japanese lead the standards in politeness. In Europe we can findFrench as probably the most formal of European societies.
The problem when observing manners is not the degree of formality or informality, but to know what the manners are in certain regions.
-Gift GivingWesterns on the long run tend to indulge in this practice without the risk of being considered churlish or stingy. When treating with Asians, when reciprocating don’t try to “outgift”, this willresult as escalating expenses on their behalf. More important is the thought behind the gift.
-When in Rome, do as the Romans do
In some countries and environments you have to use your own judgmentas to how far are you expected to “go native”. Taking off one’s shoes in Japanese homes comes easily, but Japanese apologize regularly for almost everything, and can be self-depreciating in front of...