21 Faux Pas According To Europeans That I, An American, Did Not Know

·4 min read

Earlier this week, I stumbled on Reddit threads started by u/italiansexstallion and u/huazzy that asked Europeans, "What’s a BIG NO-NO in your country?" and "What's a 'faux-pas' in your country that the rest of us might not be aware of?" As someone who is always nervous they're going to say or do the wrong thing, I thought the responses were very interesting.

1."Asking about someone's well-being just for small talk is rude. When you ask how people feel, be willing to listen."

ABC

u/tschiep_voegelchen (Germany)

2."Do not advocate serving Belgian beer in beer glasses that weren't specifically designed for them."

Glasses of Belgian beer on a table

u/GraafBerengeur (Belgium)

Max Shen / Getty Images

3."Never get off a bus without thanking the driver is a big one here that has gotten me the occasional odd look when outside of Ireland."

The front of a bus

u/caighdean (Ireland)

Monty Rakusen / Getty Images/Image Source

4."Not saying hello to the shopkeeper or the other clients in small shops. This is particularly true in smaller cities. I've seen many tourists forget to do this, and they usually end up receiving poor customer service."

Disney

u/Heure_parme (France)

5."Always, always get your round in. People are not buying you drinks for free; they expect one back."

People at a bar

u/funglegunk (Ireland)

Peter Cade / Getty Images

6."Putting sauce on your schnitzel is considered a hate crime in Austria."

A plate of schnitzel

u/marrohr (Austria)

Christoph Hetzmannseder / Getty Images

7."[Don't] say Holland is the same as the Netherlands."

A map of the Netherlands

u/bossie-boi (The Netherlands)

Peterhermesfurian / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."If you bump into someone, there's a good chance they will apologise. You do not accept this; you apologise back. Everyone knows it's your fault, but you will probably both apologise. This does not mean the other person believes they are at fault."

Columbia

u/specofdust (United Kingdom)

9."Never, ever call anyone from Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland 'English.'"

A map of the British Isles

u/cobbler91 (United Kingdom)

Pawel.gaul / Getty Images

10."[Don't] go into someone’s house with your outdoor footwear on."

Shoes by a door

u/regalsniper (Sweden)

Fabian Gehweiler / Getty Images

11."Funny how this works in some places. In Portugal, taking your shoes off in someone else's home would be weird as fuck. There's obviously exceptions, like if the host is close family or a very close friend and you've asked permission, but to take the shoes off out of the blue when entering would be seen as disrespectful."

A child unlacing a person's shoe

u/odajoana (Portugal)

Momo Productions / Getty Images

12."Violating personal space, like sitting next to someone in the bus if there are empty seat rows, or being closer than, like, 2 meters to someone at a bus stop without a reason."

An empty bus

u/toby_forrester (Finland)

Lerou Fong / Getty Images/EyeEm

13."Not a huge no, but please don't call people Mr./Ms. [Last Name] unless they're old enough to have experienced the Napoleonic wars. Practically everyone in Denmark is on a first-name basis, up to and including the prime minister. Different rules for the Queen, but if you chance upon the Crown Prince in an informal setting, he prefers the informal tone, too."

NBC

u/scriptthat (Denmark)

14."Never ever bring someone an even number of flowers (it is reserved for the dead)."

A bouquet of tulips

u/cdanisor (Romania)

Nevena Zlateva / Getty Images

15."Off-road driving is illegal, and people have been fined and made to fix what they ruined. The landscape is delicate, and there's been a lot of work in the last few decades to grow the areas that are full of sand. When Icelandic people talk about off-road driving, it's not off-road driving; we follow paths that should be visible to just about anyone."

A view of a sunset over mountains, a body of water, and a road with a car on it

u/carolinemanihot (Iceland)

Ratnakorn Piyasirisorost / Getty Images

16."Go to everyone’s funeral. If a friend’s distant aunt twice removed dies, you turn up."

A person wearing black and holding flowers

u/r3nmack (Ireland)

Runstudio / Getty Images

17."Some people are very sensitive about the idea of Poland being 'EASTERN' Europe. So 'central' it is."

A map of Poland

u/wereroo (Poland)

Pawel.gaul / Getty Images

18."Most countries: Do not mistake us for a different nationality; do not mention bad parts of our history. Italians: DO NOT PUT THE WRONG STUFF ON TOP OF OUR FOOD."

Spaghetti with a fork through it

u/al_o0 (Italy)

Aristotoo / Getty Images

19."[Don't] attempt to get served at a pub before someone who was at the bar before you."

People at a bar

u/anaptyso (United Kingdom)

John Rensten / Getty Images

20."If it's your birthday, you bring cake to work. When it's someone else's birthday, they will bring the cake."

20th Century Studios

u/scriptthat (Denmark)

21.Finally, "My British coworkers get annoyed that I pour the boiling water first and then throw in the teabag. I honestly feel like it makes no difference, but they say it does."

A person putting a tea bag in water

u/huazzy (Switzerland)

Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.