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Home > Blog > International Relations
Out of Our Minds
Monday, May 23, 2005 9:46 AM
International Relations
Anita Sharpe on Life

On a flight last week from New York to Atlanta, a Korean psychiatrist (in the U.S. for just the second time in his life) asked me why Americans always say 'excuse me' or 'I'm sorry' when we accidentally brush against someone. 'In Korea, it's OK to touch people,' he said.

Americans just have different ideas of what is rude, I explained to him, noting a plane full of people yelling into their cell phones (we were parked on the runway during a four-hour delay.) Here, touching people is considered bad manners while inflicting our personal business on others at elevated decibels is perfectly fine.

1 comment

Cecily Light - 5/24/2005 7:47:25 AM
Maybe I am one of the few Americans who are offended when forced to listen to the personal business of others. Many cell phone users are completely rude and oblivious to their surroundings and the people in them. One day, while waiting for my car to be fixed, a man in the waiting room had spread out his complete office over several chairs. After finishing a phone call, he actually apologized for his actions. I was completely surprised, and very thankful, that he recognized this intrusion into my own personal life. I don't consider use of cell phones in a public, close space acceptable. I think it is rude, arrogant and inconsiderate. And, I don't mind if someone accidentally touches me in the course of daily life.


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