Everyday Life, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

Life in the USA is a complete guide to American life for immigrants and Americans. All materials on this site Copyright © Elliot Essman 2014. All rights reserved.    Home    Back     Next

Life in the USA
Everyday Life in America

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Full Chapter Outline:
Etiquette and Behavior
---Being on Time
---Formal and Informal Events
---Bringing Gifts
---Bringing Refreshments and Food
---Card and Game Parties
---Entertaining Outside
---Showers and Weddings
---Being a Good Guest
---When You Entertain
---Table Manners
---Making Conversation
---Accepting Compliments
---In the American Home
---Cellular Telephones

Women's Language: A Sexist Double Bind

Sexual Harassment

Immigrants and Attitudes

Understanding the Typical Teenage Boy

Reading Groups

Uptalk, Speaking of a Cautionary Tale

Interpersonal Relationships
---Getting Serious
---Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Grooming and Personal Hygiene
---Shaving: Men
---Shaving: Women
---Hair Care
---Tooth and Mouth Care
---Fragrances and Perfumes


Popular American Sports
---Auto Racing
---Skiing and Snowboarding
---Ice Skating

Tailgating Parties


Health and Fitness
---Fitness and Exercise

Outdoor Activities
---Salt Water Fishing

Food, Diet and Nutrition

Marijuana Viewpoints

Alcohol and Attitudes

Personal Safety and Crime
---Crimes Against Women
---Pickpockets and Purse Snatchers
---Street Crime
---Self Defense
---Confidence Games
---Professional Beggars
---Drug Abuse
---If You Are Accused

Poker: An American Tradition


Every country has different everyday ways and cultural mores. To get to know American life, it pays to know certain mannerisms and habits most native-born Americans share.

Greetings. Americans shake hands firmly with each other when first introduced, or when they meet again, but rarely when they part (a more European custom). Social kissing, as a greeting, accompanied by a light body hug, is also sometimes acceptable between men and women who know each other well and among women. American men rarely embrace each other or kiss on both cheeks.

Distance and Eye Contact. When two Americans are standing and talking to each other they stay at least 16 inches away from each other, farther away than is customary in many other cultures. An American may feel threatened if you come too close, even if such a distance is perfectly ordinary in your own culture. Touching is not recommended, but making full, unambiguous eye contact at the first meeting stage is essential. Americans tend to warm up to people who smile, especially when the smile is accompanied by full eye contact.

Getting to the Point. When asking an American for something, especially when dealing with sales help in stores and markets, extensive preliminary pleasantries are not required as in some other countries. A brief “excuse me” is usually sufficient to get the person's attention, say, when asking for directions. Americans may feel threatened and become suspicious if a stranger begins with a general “hello, how are you?” sequence and does not get to the point of the encounter directly. Americans do exchange pleasantries among people they already know, but even then they are likely to get to the point relatively quickly.

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