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In The American Home

For many Americans, the home is the center of their lives. Home improvement television shows are very popular, as are home improvement mega-centers like Lowe’s and The Home Depot. In some cultures, people keep the home entirely separate, even from close friends. In the United States, generally speaking, people enjoy showing off their homes to others, especially if they have put a lot of work, or money, into them.

If an American invites you for a home tour, even if it feels odd in your culture, the proper thing to do is to accept the invitation with enthusiasm. The homeowner may be exceptionally proud of rooms or home improvements that mean absolutely nothing to you, say a buried lawn sprinkler system, an elaborate home theater setup, or even a refurbished bathroom. A tour of a child’s room will require an appropriate compliment, as will photographs of the children themselves.

One of the areas of the home that attracts the most passion among Americans is the kitchen. Bear in mind that attention to kitchen design and equipment often has no direct relationship with the homeowner’s desire to or ability to cook. Avoid asking about the owner’s cooking skills, or enthusiasm for cooking as a pastime, unless the owner brings the subject up.


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