For many tourists, communication with the local people is an important part of their trip. It allows them to really feel the atmosphere of the country or the city they are visiting. When talking to people around us, we make new friends, dive into the local culture, learn about the local traditions, and get more useful information than any guidebook can give us.
But sometimes, despite our sincere interest and kindness, the conversation just doesn't work out. We are sure we didn't talk about religion or politics and we know we didn't laugh about the local traditions. But we made a mistake somewhere. Today, we are going to give you the wrong advice on how to repel the local people in the most popular countries to visit.
Asking where the nearest Starbucks is. The only coffee they respect in Italy is espresso that they drink while standing, usually, in a small coffee shop.
Telling an Italian about your experiment with Italian foods. Maybe like when you added ketchup to your pasta, instead of a classic Italian tomato sauce.
Complaining about them not following the driving rules. It is completely pointless to try and explain to an Italian that driving under the speed limit and following other driving rules is important.
Refusing to kiss when you meet someone. Italians always kiss twice when they meet each other. It is just as necessary as a handshake in other countries.
Asking for gluten-free food. Or a vegan menu. Or something like that. You got it. The Greeks think that their cuisine is perfectly balanced and suitable for anyone. And they have their reasons. If you ask a Greek taverna owner about gluten-free, vegan options, that's probably the first time he's heard those words.
Talking about the economic crisis, for example, asking someone how it influenced their family. They won't be happy to remember how they lost their store or their cafe.
Laughing at the long Greek names. For example, "Papaspirodopolopoulos or whatever." Asking Greeks, "How can you even say it?!"
Asking if they like frog legs or clams. This is the most popular stereotype about France, and the French people that see a lot of tourists are really tired of these questions.
Reminding them about the Nazi occupation. The occupation of France is a huge hit on their pride and something that the French prefer not to talk about to foreign people.
Saying it was the British that invented champagne. This might be true, but it was the French that perfected the drink and made it as we know it today.
Asking how long someone has been divorced. The Japanese, especially the elderly, think that divorce is a great shame.
Talking about adoption. Adoption is a very intimate process in Japan and it is one of the topics that is not discussed outside of the family.
Boasting about your salary and asking how much someone makes. This is a very rude question in many countries, but in Japan, it is considered taboo to talk about finances.
Talking about yakuza. For us, it is something exotic, but for a regular Japanese person, they are criminals that cause a lot of trouble in society.
Coughing and sneezing without a special medical mask, and also blowing your nose in public. The Japanese are very scared of viral infections.
Tipping someone. In Japan, it is not appropriate and may offend someone.
Starting a conversation about the Royal Family. The British just don't like talking about it. They all have different reasons.
Giving a detailed answer to "How are you?". You don't even have to answer this question.
Talking about their British accent. There is no such thing as a "British accent." If you want to talk about the accent, be more specific — cockney, Scottish, northern, southern, and so on.
Calling all British people English. There are Scottish people, the Welsh, the Irish, and they don't like to be confused with the English.
Using a lot of smart words. A person that loves talking about science and someone who talks about their degrees is thought of as an arrogant and boring person.
Asking them what their grandfather did in 1941. Talking about the Nazi regime is only going to irritate or bore a German person.
Talking about all of Germany as if you are talking about Bavaria. Some tourists think that all Germans eat sausages, drink beer, and have short leather pants in their wardrobes. These are typical stereotypes about Bavaria, which is only one of the 16 regions in Germany. Other regions also have their own traditions and the inhabitants are really irritated that nobody knows anything about them.
Interrupting. You have to let Germans finish what they want to say or they will never talk to you again.
Calling someone a Hollander or calling the Netherlands, Holland. Just don't do this.
Asking about Zwarte Piet. He is a folklore character, a black assistant to Santa Claus. In the 21st century, people have very mixed feelings about Piet. Some people think it is just a tradition and others say it's racism. Anyway, it is better to not discuss this character at all, because there are a lot of protests for and against Piet.
Comparing the Netherlands to Belgium. Despite the fact that they speak almost the same language and they used to be a single country, now they are different countries and different people.
Saying that their king looks like a young Donald Trump and the Queen is not even Dutch.
Saying that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole. The Finns are very careful about the fact that Santa lives in Finland.
Speaking loudly and emotionally. Finns are very cautious with people who behave like this.
Pouring some alcohol from someone else's bottle. The Finns are a generous nationality, they are happy to share their food or something else, but not their alcohol.
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