Five simple gestures that are the height of rudeness overseas

Some everyday gestures become so part of your routine that you almost forget you're doing them.

But as this list shows, there are some completely innocuous ones that could land you in big trouble overseas.

1. Thumbs up

Although it's a sign of goodwill in the English-speaking world, the thumbs up is seen as an incredibly rude gesture in Latin American countries like Brazil and Argentina, as well as in Iran and Afghanistan.

2. Crossing your fingers

In Vietnam, if you cross your fingers in the way you would for luck, it's actually seen as a gesture that refers to the female genitalia.

3. Leaving an upside down, empty glass in a bar

Ok, so perhaps you don't do this one very often, but in Australia this is used as a sign suggesting you want to fight other people in the bar.

4. Compliments

If you offer compliments to items on display in the homes of people in countries like Jordan or Senegal, the owner will feel obliged to offer them up as a gift. Declining the kind gesture in return would cause great offence.

5. Eye contact

In some Asian cultures it can be seen as rude or intimidating to maintain eye contact, and so some conduct conversations while looking at the ground.

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