There are few things that we need to know among which the first one is how to interact with Americas. We need to remain ethical and polite all the time. American people are mostly very sweet and calm or in other words less angry and rude than Pakistani people. So we need to know how exactly we need to respond when someone interacts with us. It’s important because we are Pakistani and doing something wrong will ultimately will affect Pakistani people image in the American society. These few things mentioned below are considered to be ethical and followed by most Americans in routine. Reading it will help you develop a particular responding manner. At some extremely populated big cities these rules might not be followed however knowing them is still better
How American’s greet each other & close the conversation:
When you meet an American he will normally greet “Hi, how are you doing” with a pleasant tone. You just need to respond “Hello, I am good/fine/great, what about you” or anything equally pleasant. They might usually says “Nice to meet you” do not stay calm or just smile, respond with “Thanks, same here” or “it’s nice meeting you too” while closing the conversation they will use any sentence like “have a nice day, bye” or “have a good one, Bubye”. They usually joke during the conversation just to be in light and funny mood.
Greet back whenever anyone greets you
You might think I have just mentioned about greeting, what’s this? Here I am asking you to greet back because of the reason that you might feel hesitation greeting some stranger passing by and saying “Hi” but you will get use to it with time pass. Usually people in United States politely greet each other by saying “Hello” or “Hi” even if they don’t know each other, we just need to say “Hello” or “Hi” in return. It’s different and pleasant as well. In Pakistan we as Muslim does not greet someone we don’t know by saying “Asalam-O-Alaikum” however we should follow it as it’s a simple blessing that we can give to another Muslim brother/sister.
Smile back when someone smiles looking at you
While interacting first time with the people in United States you will mainly observe that they do not stare at you like in Pakistan; women are specially a witness of these stares. In United States when by chance two people look at each other, they pass smile or sometimes use “Hi” with it just to be humble and unembarrassed. I have entered in United States in my traditional dress Salwar suit with Dupatta first time, still no one looked at me like I am an alien so do not worry about the dress at first place. If you meet someone smiling at you, do not look somewhere else pretending you haven’t saw him/her, instead pass a smile back to return this kindness. There is nothing wrong in that person’s mind or his / her smile is meaningless. It’s a polite and courteous practice so no harm following it. Even you can use it with other Pakistani Americans living here as most of the Pakistani’s are reluctant to share this courtesy with their fellow countrymen.
Respect for elderly & handicapped people
The most respected people in United States are those who are elderly or handicapped. Handicapped people are those who have some physical or mental disability that limits them to perform major life activities like a blind person. You will find the sign for handicapped persons everywhere mentioning their place to sit, park car or special doors for them to open automatically. Just show the same respect to them and understand the concept of showing this honor towards these people.
Never bang the door on someone’s face
If you are entering or exiting some place and there is someone behind you, you need to hold the door until the other person following you holds it for him/herself. Leaving the door assuming that the other person is responsible to grab it is consider rude as other person might get hurt due to that. You will observe it immediately when people will start holding the doors for you and you will start following it automatically as you will not want to be the only person taking this privilege. Replying it with thanks will be another plus to your kind and courteous attitude. You will also receive thanks in return of your good deed.
Do not invade in privacy of others
First keep one thing in mind, staring at someone also considered as an interruption in someone’s privacy. You must not stare anyone in any case; it does not seem nice, even if someone is not in appropriate dress or doing something indecent or inappropriate. Just leave them as they are as they can retaliate and that will not be good for you.
Even if you know someone avoid asking too many personal questions. We as Pakistani’s are too much curious about each others life however we need to hold back as it’s not a good habit and prohibited in Islam as well.
Respect churches/religion centers/Jesus (peace be upon him):
In United States population is diverse and people originally belong to different places and religion so you must learn how to respect other religion and religious institutes. People will give respect to us and our mosques, you will need to return this favor. We as a Pakistani get too emotional and easily flare up when an Islamic topic is discussed. We must always have a positive approach that if a person is asking a question his purpose is not arguing but he might want to learn about some issues in Islam. People might ask you questions about polygamy, Hijab, women in Islam etc guide them politely and ask if they have more question. If you do not have answer right away, do not guide them wrong or make something up on your own, tell them that you will get back to them with complete information. Respect every worship place as you want your mosque to be respected. Do not say anything negative to any respected person in history as Quran also gives us guidance of respecting others Gods and worship places because if you will not give respect you will receive respect for Allah in return.
Respect government offices and officers including police:
Government offices work very differently in United States, every process in every office is very simple and easy and the information is available easily with set guidelines that can be accessed online or in form of flyers from office building.
In Pakistan to get a job done from a government office is very difficult as the process is ambiguous and unknown to common people. The government staff is extremely rude and not ready to help until someone bribes them. In USA you just need to follow the rules and your job is done.
So you need to be kind to the government officers especially police and be straight forward and truthful in providing any type of information. Never offer bribe to anyone specially police as you will be put behind bars for doing so, it’s illegal and you can get strict punishment for doing so.
No need to be extremely hospitable in USA / be straight forward:
Mostly people or United States are bold and straight forward, so there is no need to be extra hospitable as we are in Pakistan like we usually make offers to people like “why don’t you come in for a cup of tea” or “can I help you”. We all know when the offer is real or unreal. However people here are straight forward, they will only ask you to come in when they really mean to otherwise even if you ask to come in they will politely tell you that “not this time” etc. similarly they will tell you when they have time and when they are busy when you ask for help. It doesn’t mean they are rude or do not want to help. It means they can help you in their free time. Pakistani’s have a habit of making excuses to avoid helping others however in United States people are straight forward, if they do not want they will not say yes.
You also need to develop the habit of splitting the bills, when dining out even if you are paying with the credit card waiter asks if you want to split bill between people sitting on the same table. It’s kind of weird for us however it’s good in a sense that nobody has to bear the burden of whole expense.
Mostly Americans are emotional:
Americans are very emotional and touchy about their country, people, and festivals etc. They make special arrangements for every occasion whether big of small and start preparing for it weeks before. There are many yearly festivals like Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Valentine, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, new year etc and you see them too excited about anything that is coming. We need to respect their feelings about any festival as we might not get excited about anything the way they does we still needs to understand that in United States there is less misery, hunger and poor people so people have plenty of time to think about holidays and spending time to prepare for any festival.