The title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, but I'm really not sure what to think about American faux pas that sink business deals and offend foreigners.

Globalization has made cross-border business deals more common than ever. But, every day, deals are jeopardized or lost when foreign associates are offended by Americans unaware of other countries' customs, culture or manners, etiquette experts say.

Based on the various mis-steps listed in the article, the main confusion seems to stem from America's flat social structure and culture of directness.

"Americans are way too informal in their dealings with their counterparts abroad, and they end up perceived as uncouth and even obnoxious," says P.M. Forni, a professor of Italian literature and civility at Johns Hopkins University. "Innocence, stupidity or arrogance make them behave in Cyprus the way they would in Cleveland." ...

"Americans often do not realize how dismaying their directness can be for people from different cultures," says David Solomons, chief executive of London-based CultureSmart Consulting. The company has a guidebook series for travelers, and it consults for corporations.

There are times when etiquette and protocol can be beautiful, unifying forces (at a wedding, for instance), but they become burdensome when enforced in day-to-day life. America the melting-pot has vastly reduced the suite of social rules that our immigrants brought with them, generally for the sake of efficiency. As American culture spreads, so will this phenomenon.

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