Australians have a different set of etiquette rules compared to the rest of the world.
But have you ever wondered what’s not socially acceptable in the land Down Under? Well according to an English woman, there are certain behaviours deemed rude.
University lecturer Jennifer Donovan, who has lived in Australia for 49 years, shared a very detailed list on what is considered ‘bad manners’.
The English woman said people who brag about their ‘status’ or ‘wealth’ topped the bad manners list (stock image)
Jennifer Donovan, who has lived in Australia for 49 years, shared a very detailed list on what she considers as ‘bad manners’
Boasting about wealth
In a lengthy post on platform Quora, the 60-year-old woman – who moved from the UK to Australia at the age of 11 – said people who brag about their ‘status’ or ‘wealth’ topped the bad manners list.
‘We call it skiting and it is definitely frowned upon,’ Jennifer said.
‘It immediately brands you as a tall poppy and there’s only one thing to do with them here – chop ’em off at the knees.
‘Now I don’t always agree with the tall poppy syndrome, it makes it difficult for genuinely talented people, but when it comes to braggarts, then yes, I’m with the Aussie masses who find that obnoxious.’
Talking too loud in public
Jennifer said people who talk too loud in a public place is another Australian ‘gaffe’.
‘I’m afraid our American friends are often guilty of this one. If people start glaring at you, tone it down,’ she said.
She said the only time it’s acceptable to speak loudly is when you’re at a pub.
Getting a free dinner
Jennifer said if someone is ‘shouting’ you dinner, also known as ‘buying you a free meal’, it’s considered a ‘very bad manner’ to order the most expensive item from the menu.
‘And triply so if you do that for every course and then don’t eat it all. Trust me, that will be your last invitation from that person and word will get around that you are a miserable cheapskate,’ she said.
‘Don’t necessarily pick the cheapest either – or you are implying the host can’t afford to do what they have promised – pick a middle of the road meal from the menu.’
Jennifer said another thing to avoid is speaking with a ‘fake Aussie accent’ (file image)
Using phone while walking
Jennifer said many people tend to get distracted by their phone when walking.
Please don’t stop dead in a thoroughfare to yack on your phone,’ she said.
‘Even though most Aussies won’t say much, you will get poisonous stares. It’s sadly becoming more common.
‘But wandering around in a world of your own because you are listening to music or podcast – or texting on your phone is still not good manners. And it’s dangerous to other pedestrians as well as you.’
Jennifer said Australians like their personal space so if there’s a room full of empty seats, avoid sitting next to them.
‘Perhaps because our population is relatively sparse, we do like our personal space. Please don’t crowd us or touch us even accidentally if you can avoid it,’ she said.
‘On a bus or train, seats are typically in pairs. If there are completely empty seats then don’t sit next to someone.
‘Similarly, unless you have ticketed seats at a cinema or theatre (i.e your ticket stipulates a row and seat number), then don’t sit right next to strangers, leave a seat or two.’
Leaving a tip
Surprisingly, Jennifer said tipping can ‘actually seem bad-mannered to the people you are with if you suddenly flash out your wallet and start leaving tips’.
‘Tipping is not generally done in Australia. [But] if you feel you really have to, in some restaurants you can discreetly add a tip to the bill – some bills have a space for this -but really, it’s not needed, and it is not expected.’
Fake Aussie accents
‘Please, no fake Aussie accents and “G’day mate!”,’ Jennifer said.
‘That is really grating to us. Just say “hello” or “hi”. Please avoid “what’s up?” or some of us may give you a long list of our woes! That is not a greeting here. Also, no ‘shrimps’ on the barbie – they are prawns. PRAWNS!’
Jennifer said people who talk too loud in public is another Australian ‘gaffe’ (stock image)
Don’t skip the queue
Jennifer said you should ‘never push into or otherwise try to jump a queue’.
‘OK, maybe it’s not instant death as it might be in the UK, but we are still pretty strict about our queue rules. Just ask if this is the end of the line,’ she said.
‘At the bar, if you know someone was there before you, but the bartender asks you for your order, it’s polite to say ‘they were here first’.
‘Same applies in a shop, or if you are queuing for a check out. If however, you only have a few items, helpful people might indicate you can go before them – typically they have a full trolley.
‘The polite thing to do then is to thank them and accept it graciously – it’s not the time for an argument.’
‘Be respiratory aware – use a disposable tissue for coughing and sneezing, or into your inner elbow if you’ve got nothing else available,’ she said.
‘Australians do not spit in public, and please go to the toilet if you need to release urine.’
Always clean up after yourself
‘Littering is not only illegal, it is an affront. Please don’t do it,’ Jennifer said.
‘If you are eating in a fast food restaurant or food hall, clean up after yourself and put your rubbish in the bins provided. If there’s recycling, please put the right stuff in the right bin. You might get scolded by someone if you are seen not doing this.
‘Try not to drop stuff like popcorn in a cinema if you are not prepared to clean it up when you go. Definitely, no cigarette butts to be thrown on the ground or tossed out of car windows.’
Jennifer said it’s ‘rude’ to be late to a professional appointment such as medical or hair or ‘even worse to not turn up without cancellation’ (stock image)
‘Feel free to eat all your meal here – you don’t have to leave some to be polite. But excess slurping through a straw or scraping your plate is bad manners in public,’ she said.
‘Two people sharing food from one plate is acceptable except in fine dining situations. For desserts, for example, some restaurants will supply two spoons if you indicate you want to share.’
Jennifer said it was considered ‘rude’ if you take over someone else’s seat just moments after they’ve left to go to the bathroom.
‘It’s rude to immediately sidle into their seat even if you do want to talk to the person they were sitting next to,’ she said.
‘Or if you do sidle over, keep an eye out and move back when you see them approaching the table again – don’t wait till they are at the table looking confused.’
If you’re dining at an Asian restaurant, Jennifer said there are forks and spoons available if you can’t use chopsticks.
‘But if you can’t use chopsticks and prefer fork and spoon, just ask. Don’t use [chopsticks] if you can’t use them efficiently, then you are making a fool of yourself,’ she said.
Jennifer said it’s ‘rude’ to be late to a professional appointment such as medical or hair or ‘even worse to not turn up without cancellation’.
‘Many services, including medical and hairdressers for example, will charge a partial fee for this, and repeated “sins” are likely to get you off the list for appointments,’ she said.
‘However, if visiting friends at their place, it’s polite to be a few minutes – say up to 10 minutes late, giving them a chance to be ready.
‘Being more than 30 minutes late is likely to get people worrying, and is especially rude when you have been invited for a meal.’