Mexico: a guide to intercultural no no’s

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Language isn’t the only hurdle when it comes to visiting Mexico: Some everyday Mexican customs can feel just as foreign as Español to a U.S. traveler — and can present a potential minefield of embarrassment. Just keep in mind that etiquette in Mexico is firmly rooted in Mexicans’ pride in their country, their accomplishments, their families, their villages and towns. Respect this pride — and the following do’s and don’ts — and you’ll keep your foot firmly out of your mouth.

Prolonged direct eye contact can be seen as challenging and aggressive, especially between men. If a Mexican looks away when you are speaking, he or she is more likely being respectful than inattentive.

* Faux pas alert: If a woman holds a man’s gaze for more than a few seconds, it may be interpreted as a sexual overture.

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