I saw this come across a mailing list I’m on, and I asked the author (Bill Yerazunis) if I could re-post. The topic came up with someone who would be sharing space with a dozen or so North Americans shortly, and wanted to know what was socially acceptable behaviour…
10 rules for living with North Americans
- if it’s not yours, don’t eat it or drink it.
- Shower every day. Whether you need it or not. Use soap. And your own towel. same v. toothbrushing. And underwear.
- clean clothes every day is not *required*, but doesn’t hurt. Don’t go more than two days on a shirt or three days on pants.
- Politics are not off limits. One of America’s most precious rights is the right to diss the government. The president in particular is fair game.
- replace the toilet paper.
- Stay out of rooms whose owners are not there.
- If you leave a mess, do not be surprised to find the mess placed on
your bed. This is the ONE exception to Rule #6.
- Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.
- leaving an offering of sweets (especially chocolate) will never get you in trouble. Put a note on it like “Free! Eat!” to assure that Rule #1 will not be assumed.
- Don’t assume ANYTHING about a North American. They are definitely the MOST VARIED population on the planet. Everybody’s family is from “somewhere else” (including the Native Americans; they’re actually from Siberia). So, if you’re worried, ask honestly. Honesty is almost as prized a right as dissing the government. Conversely, don’t be offended if honesty is returned, even if the truth is not pleasant.