How to Be Polite in 15 Different Countries

Keep your knees and shoulders covered in Morocco

Djellaba, A moroccan dress for islam manThe Atlas of Photos/Shutterstock

Modesty isn't just seen as a religious issue but is also a sign of respect and politeness in Morocco, according to Frommer's. Both genders are generally expected to wear clothing that covers the shoulders and goes to below the knees. "Running shorts, sleeveless shirts, and beachwear are only worn when playing sports or at the beach, and if worn at other times are almost tantamount to wearing only your underwear," they write.

Never give knives as a gift in China

Excellent set of Japanese chef's knives from Damascus steel. View from aboveAndy Gin/Shutterstock

Gift giving is an important ritual in China, even among new acquaintances, but when you're picking out a present be sure to avoid any cutting implements, Tsai says. "Never give knives, scissors, or any other cutting equipment as gifts because they signal the end of your relationship," she says.

Patience is a virtue in Mexico

watchAnton Papulov/Shutterstock

Things move at a much slower pace in Mexico than they do in the United States, according to Fodor's. The good news is that there's no stigma attached to being late, so feel free to take your time. If you are frustrated by others' slowness though you'd best keep it to yourself. The traditional punctuality and straightforwardness of Americans, Canadians, and Europeans are often perceived as curt and aggressive, Fodor's says. "Mexicans are extremely polite, so losing your temper over delays or complaining loudly will get you branded as rude and make people less inclined to help you," they explain. Check out these other secrets your body language may be revealing about you.

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