A while ago I posted a Guide to Chilean Courtesy. Here you have Part 2.
1. Cover your mouth when you yawn. This is similar to how we cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze in the US. Although I think the concern here is not so much about the spreading of germs as the ugly way your mouth looks when it’s wide open. I’m especially bad at this one and people often cover my mouth for me.
2. When you bring special food home, like chocolate, cookies or soda, be prepared to share with everyone in the house. Isabel mentioned this one in the comments of my last post and it’s dead on. I also think that Lydia has mentioned this before too. Once I figured out that this was the norm here, I’ve never really had a problem with it. After all, it’s way healthier to share a chocolate bar with 4 people than eat the whole thing yourself. But I totally understand that now, as I’m trying to support myself, buying a chocolate bar is a luxury that I might want to savor and not share with everyone.
3. Standing up is awkward. People get uncomfortable here when you are standing while everyone else is sitting. This also happened in El Salvador, and they even had a saying, “Sientete o vas a dejar de crecer.” (Sit down or you’ll stop growing). Chileans are quick to say “Sit down!” even if there isn’t a chair. This happened to me tonight when I went over to say hi to the family. They told me to sit down more than once even though there wasn’t an extra chair. I told them I was fine and insisted they didn’t go look for a chair. Everyone stared at me like I had two heads.
4. While eating, keep your hands above the table. This doesn’t mean putting your elbows on the table, which is considered rude just as it is in the U.S., but rather resting your forearms on the table.
Any more suggestions?