How do I avoid offending the French, Italians, and Spaniards?

I'm going to France, Italy, and Spain in two weeks and I want to know how to avoid coming of as an ignorant American. But how do I do that?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I'm from Spain and I'm gonna tell you what to avoid doing there:
    Avoid any stereotypes. Don't go around the city in just a swimsuit. It's ok if you're around the beach area, but when you're in the heart of the city, please, don't. I know it's hot af during summer, but just because you're a tourist doesn't mean you can't act like the rest. Oh, and Spain is full of churches you should visit some of the most famous, so do not enter a church in a swimsuit. I'm not religious, but you'll most likely get kicked out.
    Talking about being a tourist, please, respect the city. Alcohol in Spain is pretty cheap so tourists usually get drunk night after night and they make a mess in the city. We love the fact you're enjoying your time here, but we hate when you leave the streets full of trash, vomit, or you're singing out loud your national anthem at 3 am (British people are usually the worst when it comes to behavior; sorry British people xD).
    Do not pressure Spanish people. We're lazy and we take our time, that's why we're known for being a laid back country, so even though you're right, don't demand the service to be faster or more efficient, cause you won't achieve anything but an angry waiter/waitress. by the way, you don't have to tip, it's appreciated, but it's not something you have to do like in America, we usually just give 1 or 2 euros and that's if the service was great, usually 10 cents will be enough.

    Topics to avoid: Patriotism. DO NOT talk about anything related to Spain's patriotism. Spain is only patriotic during soccer's world cup or Eurocup, besides this, you'll get into a political debate about fascism and blah blah blah. A Spanish person with a flag in their house, like in America, would be called a fascist. So just avoid this topic to avoid a heated discussion.
    Also avoid soccer. Soccer is religion, so if you want, just do some small talk about it, but don't get too deep into it cause again, you'll get into a heated discussion.
    If you go to Barcelona, don't call them Spanish, cause they don't identify as someone from Spain, they'll be offended since they want to gain independence.

    These are a few things, but you're still gonna offend people cause you're more "civilized" than Spanish people, I mean, you have more manners, you're more respectful, so you'll be seen as a snob most likely.

    P. S.: Save a huge load of money for food, cause the best thing in Spain is food. Try lots of different stuff, especially Paella, that's a must.

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    • Oh, I forgot to add: just because English is the number 1 language, it doesn't mean everyone knows how to speak it, so if you don't know Spanish and have to talk in English , speak slowly, and with easy words. Foreigners usually come and start talking extremely fast with their thick accent and no one understands shit, so take it slow, just like you want them to speak to you in Spanish. Most people's English is like of one of a 3 y/o so you most likely will have some trouble understanding, just learn the basic words and you'll be fine. Usually in touristic areas you won't have trouble to communicate.

What Guys Said 11

  • Just be yourself a foreigner in any country will always look a bit out of place - Both sides have to make allowances.

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  • I love all those countries! In France don't assume they speak English and try to learn some French and don't use an ugly accent. In Italy I hear they like it when you show off your English but don't expect them to understand it. They'll still only talk to you in Italian. In Spain they won't care either way just try to have fun well into the night.

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  • It's France. You're bound to be deemed as ignorant by them... If you don't speak French you're in a deep shiteee. lol.. Italy and Spain pretty cool.

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  • some people r racists... u are the one who should ignore their mean commments

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  • Italy: Say that Mona Lisa is French (they hate that)
    France: Say that Paris stinks and that the only Eiffel tower is in Las Vegas
    Spain: speak to them about their national football team in the last World Cup

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  • They'll know you are American, you'll stand out like night and day. They give us a pass for being dumb tourists.

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  • Just be yourself and be polite and you will be fine. You can't offend Spaniards or Italians easily. Don't worry about the French. The French are arrogant and rude in general they might act offended. Ignore them.

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  • haha acceptance is the first step, im proud of you

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  • Don't speak English . They don't like that.

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  • Say your Canadian

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  • Just have me with you while traveling ;)

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What Girls Said 2

  • Just be respectful. :) You are visiting their country, so you should respect their culture and enjoy the sights, sounds, flavors (as in all the delicious food and drinks!) while there. I'm American that has lived in those countries, and it was a great experience. Have fun! :)

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  • just dont say anything about stereotypes!

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