18 Surefire Ways to Get on an American’s Bad Side

Americans are known for being proud of their country, so you should never insult it to their faces. However, there are also many other irks you should be aware of. Here are 18 surefire ways to get on an American’s bad side that you’ll want to avoid.

Refusing to Make Small Talk

Image Credit: Christopher Willans/Shutterstock

Small talk is a big part of everyday American culture. MIT advises not to be startled by strangers starting conversations with you in the US because it’s how Americans establish connections and build friendships. Refusing to make small talk is rude and will hurt an American’s feelings.

Declining to Tip

Image credit: Shutterstock

Tipping culture is essential in the American hospitality industry, so declining to tip will offend both servers and American customers nearby. Though it’s not customary to tip in many countries, in the US, it’s essential for servers to make a living wage and show respect for American etiquette.

Starting Political Debates

Image credit: WeAre/Shutterstock

US politics are a global talking point, but you’ll instantly get on an American’s bad side by attempting to start a debate with them. Many Americans no longer discuss politics in public anymore due to arguments and tension, so it’s not a good idea to make them a conversation topic.

Walking Slowly

Image credit: Shutterstock

Americans are quick walkers, so getting stuck behind people walking too slowly annoys them. It’s also customary to walk on the right side of the sidewalk and keep moving, so if you’re going to stop, step out of the way, and don’t block incoming foot traffic by walking in a long line.

Stereotyping all Americans

Image credit: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock

Stereotyping is always ignorant, but it happens a lot to Americans. Even if you’re trying to make a joke, don’t repeat nasty stereotypes about Americans, such as them being violent, overweight, or entitled, unless you want to get on our bad side!

Complaining About Their Food

Image credit: Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock

It’s discourteous to complain about the food if you’re not native to a country, so don’t try this if you’re in the US. Americans take pride in cooking and serving meals, so don’t insult their hospitality. It’s an incorrect assumption that Americans have no food culture, which makes complaining even more disrespectful.

Criticizing Their Culture

Image credit: Shutterstock

Americans are incredibly proud of the US, so criticizing their culture is a surefire way to get on their bad side. According to Statista, 85% of Americans consider themselves very patriotic, and they prioritize honor, bravery, and loyalty. They take insults about their culture personally and will almost certainly argue with you.

Comparing Soccer and Football

Sport_Fitness Culture
Image credit: Shutterstock

What Americans call ‘soccer,’ Europeans call ‘football,’ but Americans get prickly when you try to compare the two or criticize them for having a different name for the sport. It is an unnecessary comparison, and Americans might take it as a slight against a sport they’re very proud and protective of.

Cutting Them in Line

Image credit: Eric Glenn/Shutterstock

Cutting in line is rude to whoever you do it to, but Americans will instantly consider you an enemy if you do it to them. It’s a breach of everyday etiquette and will annoy everyone waiting behind you. Americans consider it common courtesy to wait your turn patiently.

Getting in Their Personal Space

Image credit: Shutterstock

Americans are very defensive of their personal space, so avoid standing too close unless you want them to get irritated with you. Keep a respectful distance in queues, at events, and in other crowded areas. Nobody wants to feel uncomfortable, and Americans will appreciate you giving them space.

Disregarding Road Rules

Image credit: ako photography/Shutterstock

The US is full of busy people living busy lives, so good road etiquette is integral to keeping things moving. Always pass on the left, observe speed limits, don’t park on sidewalks, and avoid cutting people off. Disregarding these rules will quickly irritate every American driving around you.

Making Insensitive Comments

Image credit: fizkes/Shutterstock

Sometimes, it’s difficult to gauge if a comment is insensitive, so when in doubt, don’t say it. Avoid commenting insensitively about tragic events in American history, current scandals or issues, and American society generally. Americans aren’t afraid to let you know when you’ve crossed a line and won’t tolerate insensitivity.

Talking About Guns

Image credit: melvin abanto jr/Shutterstock

Guns are deeply ingrained in American culture. In fact, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that four-in-ten US adults live in a household with a gun. But despite how commonplace they are, talking to Americans about guns is risky due to global criticism of gun culture. You may upset or offend them.

Smoking Everywhere

Image credit: Shutterstock

There are many American smokers, but compared to other countries, the US has much stricter views on the habit. Smoking inside bars, restaurants, and public transportation is prohibited, and plenty of establishments don’t even allow it outside. If you’re smoking everywhere, expect some displeased looks from Americans.

Touching Them

Image credit: Shutterstock

It’s common sense not to touch anyone without their consent, but Americans especially dislike it. Despite their fondness for small talk with strangers, they don’t like people touching them, so keep your hands to yourself. American women, in particular, worry about strangers touching them, so avoid ever doing it.

Assuming All States Are the Same

Image credit: Shutterstock

The US is a diverse country made up of 50 states, so don’t assume they’re all the same. For example, the southern states follow more traditional conservative values than the more northern states. You’ll quickly bristle an American by making blanket assumptions about their country.

Criticizing Their Holidays

Image credit: Lucky Business/Shutterstock

Americans love celebrating, so criticizing their national holidays will quickly upset them. The US is famous for its massive Independence Day and Thanksgiving celebrations, so they won’t appreciate you diminishing their excitement. Holidays are a huge part of American patriotism, and many people are fiercely protective of them.

Comparing Your Countries

Image credit: Shutterstock

Finally, a surefire way to get on an American’s bad side is to compare your country in an attempt to showcase the US unfavorably. Project Syndicate reports that American exceptionalism, which defines the US as a global force for good, is still thriving. So, your ill-informed comparison isn’t welcome here!

More From Planning To Organize

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

18 Common Behaviors That Will Make People Lose Respect for You

18 Pets You’re Forbidden to Keep in the U.S.

17 Things You Should Never Eat for Breakfast