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Etiquette and Behavior

Introductions. If you meet someone you know on the street while you are with someone else they do not know, it is polite (and customary) to introduce the people to each other.

Foreign Languages. If you are with a group of mainly English-speaking people and the conversation is going on in English, it is not polite to speak in your own or another foreign language for more than a few sentences.

Taboo Topics. The use of swear words, obscenities, or ethnic vulgarisms is best avoided in conversation, even if you hear someone else using this kind of language. Also, avoid telling off-color or sexually explicit stories or jokes. This kind of language may be effective with some Americans, but can be deeply offensive and off-putting to others. The habitual use of obscenities, in or out of context, is never a good idea. You may indeed hear it, but do not repeat it.

If you are in a movie theater or at a concert or play, it is never polite to talk during the performance, even in a whisper. You will hear others doing it, of course.

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