Social in America
American society is much more informal than that of many other countries. The American mixture of pride in achievement along with lack of importance placed on personal dignity is sometimes difficult for a foreigner to understand. An example of this way may be that although Americans like to talk about their accomplishments, it is their custom to show certain modesty in reply to compliments. When someone praises an American upon his achievement or upon his personal appearances, which is a very polite thing to do in America, the American turns it aside. If someone says, “Congratulations upon being elected president of the club,” an American is expected to reply, “Well, I hope I can do a good job,” or something of the sort. Or if someone says, “That’s a pretty blue necktie you are wearing,” an American is likely to say, “I’m glad you like it,” or “Thank you. My wife gave it to me for my birthday.” The response to a compliment seldom gives the idea, “I, too, think I’m pretty good.” Likewise, there are fewer social conventions that show social differences in America. Students do not rise when a teacher enters the room. One does not always address a person by his title, such as “Professor” or “Doctor.” The respectful “sir” is not always used in the northern and western part of the country. Clothing in America, as in every place in the world, to a certain degree reflects a person’s social position and income, yet no person is restricted to a certain uniform or manner of dress because of his occupation or class in society. In many companies employees are allowed to wear casual slacks or jeans on Friday because of the coming weekend, though on other days of the week they are expected to wear formal office clothes when a tie is a must. Women in offices usually wear skirts, blouses and stockings. Yet in spite of all the informality, America is not completely without customs that show consciousness of social distinction. For example, one is likely to use...
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