Being British, my major life obsession is, of course, being polite and well-mannered. Sorry!

To this end, I’ve humbly created a graphic for my new book Knowledge is Beautiful (UK & UK) about manners.

It’s a quick-look up chart of key social courtesies & faux pas across different cultures. I call it “The Etiquettrix”.

It’s very general. Just a snapshot really. Obviously it can be a sensitive subject in some cultures, so I’d like to get it right. But I’m hitting a bit of wall with my research.

So, may I ask for your help? Could you address any of the orange blocks in the draft graphic above? Or spot any errors? Would that be okay? So sorry to inconvenience you.

All help warmly received. Either comment below or email informationisbeautiful [AT] gmail. You can also Twitter hash-tag with #etrix. Or comment on our Facebook page.

Thank you very much for your very kind help and attention,

yours sincerely,

David McCandless
March 2014


here’s a list of the specific information I need
Click on the graphic above for more detail.

» USA – permissible dinner table conversation topics – politics? religion? business? money?
» Canada – permissible lateness to a social engagement in minutes?
» Brazil – customer always right or wrong?
» Brazil – what is bill paying etiquette in a restaurant?
» Brazil – most abhorred cultural qualities? (i.e. rowdiness, violating a queue etc)
» China – who does one greet first in a social setting? (eldest, host etc)
» China – is it OK to decline a second portion of food?
» China – is it okay to talk politics or religion at the dinner table?
» Japan – is religion a permissible topic of conversation at dinner?
» Japan – permissible to refuse a second portion of food?
» Japan – customer always right or wrong?
» India – permissible to refuse a second portion of food?
» India – is burping okay?
» India – what is bill paying etiquette in a restaurant?
» Thailand – is it okay to bring wine to a social gathering / meal?
» Thailand – okay to decline food / 2nd portions?
» Thailand – okay to make yum-yum noises and / or burp?
» Thailand – are compliments about food expected?
» Thailand – customer always right or wrong or neither?
» Singapore – what is the correct way to introduce someone in a semi-formal setting?
» Singapore – any beginning-of-meal rituals?
» Singapore – appreciative noises during meal times okay?
» Singapore – toasting drinks okay?
» Singapore – food compliments okay?
» Singapore – customer always right?
» Singapore – bill paying etiquette in restaurants?

» Arab states – correct way to introduce someone is a semi-formal setting? (first names etc)
» Arab states – what are appropriate gifts for a host or hostess?
» Arab states – beginning-of-meal ritual?
» Arab states – talking during the meal okay?
» Arab states – burping?
» Arab states – two fingered hand gesture considered obscene?
» Arab states – any areas of another’s body should not be touched?
» Arab states – bartering okay? expected?
» Arab states – customer always…?
» Arab states – what’s bill-paying etiquette in restaurants?

» UK – is there a starting-the-meal ritual?
» UK – what’s the average expected tip for a taxi driver?
» France – okay to decline food? And a second portion?
» France – yum-yum noises acceptable?
» France – rude to point?
» France – adored / abhored cultural qualities?
» Germany – decline 2nd portion of food?
» Germany – yum-yum noises?
» Germany, Italy – okay to point?
» France, Germany, Italy, Sweden – typical tip for taxi driver?
» Italy, Sweden, Finland – decline food?
» Sweden – typical beginning-of-meal ritual? Any other notes?
» Sweden, Finland, Israel, Russia – yum yum noises?
» Russia – decline 2nd portion of food?
» Sweden, Italy, Finland, Russia, Germany - is the two fingered peace-sign offensive?
» France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Israel – customer always right?

specific Israeli questions
: Is it polite to introduce one person first, i.e. elder, or female etc.
: How do you introduce someone – with their title, first name or surname?

DINING
Is is Okay to…
- Decline food
- Leave food on your plate
- Decline drinks
- Talk business during meals
- Talk Religion during meals?
- Talk Politics during meals?
- Make yum-yum noises
- Toasting?
- Are there any cutlery no-no’s?
- Is there an end of meal signal
- Any Absolute meal no-no’s?

Is it Okay to…
- Chat to strangers
- Chat to women
- Barter

- The Customer is always…?
- Are there any body parts it is especially rude to touch


Know the answer to any of these? Please either comment below or email informationisbeautiful [AT] gmail. You can also Twitter hash-tag with #etrix. Or comment on our Facebook page.

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