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You don't need to cross international borders to learn about alternative perspectives on life. As one Reddit discussion shows, this can be achieved by simply stepping into other people's homes.

It started a few days ago, when platform user Mango-Chocolate asked everyone, "What is the biggest cultural shock you experienced when going to someone else's house?" They immediately started receiving interesting answers, and as of today, there are over 1.2K comments, many of which illustrate that broadening your horizons isn't that hard. If you keep an open mind, of course.

From the words we use to communicate with our family members to peculiar eating habits, here's what folks noticed.

#1

This is the strangest experience I’ve ever had at someone’s home. I worked with this young Cuban gal as a waitress while I was studying in University. She mentioned that her sister needed some help with Math in her Nursing program so I offered to go over and tutor. I knew it was a multi-generational house with parents, adult children, grandparents, great-grandparents and babies. When I arrived at the house, only the sister was home. She invited me in and started unloading the refrigerator of left-overs and asked if I would like to have some of this, some of that, etc. I was genuinely not hungry but she was super persistent and made us some food anyway. She offered me a drink, but I just wanted water. She made herself a Cuban coffee and insisted I have one too.

Then my friend comes home, looks at us studying. In front of me I have snacks, water, and a coffee. She begins screaming at her sister in Spanish. I can barely make it out, but she’s mad that her sister didn’t offer me anything to drink or eat. I explained I wasn’t hungry and I had two drinks in front of me, but she was still mad at her sister. Their parents came home and they started yelling about the same thing and accusing their daughters of being bad hostesses! I felt bad, and I somehow allowed 5 drinks to served to me and so much food, I was stuffed for the rest of the day. The whole experience was a weird combination of feeling guilty or like I may have insulted them, but also feeling loved and appreciated.

When my friend introduced me to her family, she introduced me as the woman that would carry all her trays at work while she was pregnant so she didn’t have to lift them. I can’t believe she had even remembered that. I hadn’t until she brought it up. They made me like an honored guest in their home.

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#2

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock When I was a teen, I was genuinely shocked to see that other families actually loved each other and wanted to interact and say nice things to each other. I kept expecting it to turn dark, and when it didn’t I had no idea what to do and felt completely ashamed and out of place.

MTBeanerschnitzel , Elina Fairytale Report

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Sheila who?
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I both feel this in my soul and I want to gather op in. I was rarely allowed to experience the inner workings of my friends’ homes as a young person, and when I did, I felt so very uncomfortable I inevitably went mute, and was titled the “quiet one”. Took years to get my voice heard over my inner terror. I’m a loud woman now,though,lol. But when I saw my children’s friends who did this, I would grab the cat, and go sit with whoever it was, until we made friends. Cats don’t judge, and kids know.

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#3

I went to the neighbors house for breakfast one morning before the bus. We were good friends. She's Hindu, and her family is as well. It was a culture shock to see and smell the amazing food we had that morning. It wasn't the normal pancakes, eggs, and bacon for americans. I think it was potato latkas with some delicious green spread. God, I wanted to eat all of it, and her mom was so happy I loved it. Never before in my life had I had such a different breakfast for me. It was shock and awe I experienced.

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TheAmericanAmerican
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is what I want more of! We all love food so let's share more delicious recipes and less religious dogma! 😋

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#4

Did an ethnographic study on the Navajo reservation during grad school, 2011. Met a wonderful Navajo woman who welcomed me into her home. She was absolutely thrilled to show me her working toilet. She had just gotten one installed for the first time ever, in 2011. Made me realize a whole new level of poverty in the United States.

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Jessica Bertram
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Not just poverty but remoteness. Sometimes Diné families live 30 or 40 miles down a dirt track, and it's super dry in that region of New Mexico and Arizona, so water has to be driven in on trucks. A toilet is a luxury bc it uses water. Even getting electricity is a big deal.

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#5

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock As a kid, I visited some friends who had scary "yes sir/no sir" fathers who were quick to use a belt on them. None of those guys turned out well as adults, I might add. The funny thing is - *my* dad was an Army platoon sergeant, yet he was a jovial and easy-going father.

p38-lightning , Caleb Oquendo Report

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Captain Flapjack
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have the same outlook as Bob Ross. I never want to raise my voice at anyone ever again.

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#6

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock That other people's parents smiled at them, were nice to them, and seemed to enjoy having them around. I rarely experienced any of that. I thought everyone's parents were angry all the time and didn't like them much.

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#7

I didn't realize how involved other parents were. My household kids were an assesory. I had to pretend to be Christian, when my childhood blonde started to darken a bit in middle school, I dyed my hair, I couldn't get fat, I was put into hobbies etc that looked good. I couldn't get into cheerleaders so my mom started her own sec, I played Piano, the flute, was in the gifted classes, went to the private schools, had to hide my interests and music and who I was. I remember I never really knew otherwise but I was over at my friends house at...13? I wasn't allowed at others houses really but my mom had gotten into a minor fender bender so I walked home with her.. We were in the living room watching tv, and her dad came home. Immediately I got up gathered my stuff and handed the dad the remote. My friend was like that are you doing, thw dad was like oh honey I'm okay rhats really sweet but you're literally in the middle of watching your show, I can definitely wait. And it took me aback lol I was like what? Kids here have like their own wants ans desires lmao that was the first year I stopped going to church too. I honestly think I was so brain washed that I didn't even realize I/could/ do my own things or have my own thoughts lol

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Luke Branwen
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I know this reeks of eugenics, but I think it would be beneficial to everyone if people had to undergo some kind of evaluation before having children.

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#8

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock Saying a prayer before a meal. I live in eastern Germany. I had never seen a religious person before. I thought that was just like a childrens tale like santa.

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#9

People not saying "I love you" before leaving or hanging up the phone. I was always taught to say "I love you" to family before hanging up the phone or saying goodbye. You never know when your last goodbye will be so let the last thing you say to a loved one be "I love you." A tradition I continue to practice to this day. Yet I think I was the only one who did that in my friend group.

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Shark Lady
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I do this with my daughter. I knew my parents loved me but they never said it. Even if my daughter and I have an argument, the last thing I say is "I love you".

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#10

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock My friends parents would *make* them finish their meals, even if they said they were full. The meals looked *huge* to me, and my friend was overweight. It felt depressing. If I was full at home, I'd never be pressured to eat absolutely everything if I didn't want to.

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Zebwe
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

that's just damn sad. People like that shouldn't have kids

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#11

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock When my friend’s mum used salt, pepper and herbs in her cooking. It was my foodie awakening.

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Denise Melek
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If your parents didn't even use salt and pepper I'm not surprised...

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#12

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock Hung out with my college roommates family around Christmas. NO books in the house, none. This was early aughts.

She told me her parents didn't want challenging books in their house to make the kids feel stupid.

The parents were professors at our college.

She - my roommate - and her siblings were f*****g stupid.

angel_inthe_fire , Alvaro Matzumura Report

#13

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock Back in high school, I visited a friend's house and had to use the bathroom. I asked her where the toilet paper was in the bathroom and she said ''we don't really wipe our butts in this house''. Girl what?!

Silent-Bird-4474 , Vecislavas Popa Report

#14

I ran into a friend of mine from elementary school when I was in middle school and hanging out in the field that turned out to be behind her house. She invited me in to meet her grandma that was raising her. She’s black and I’m mostly white with an Asian great-grandparent. On top of her grandma’s entertainment center were all these religious figurines, and they were all black. Black angels, and black Jesus. I was 13 and had never seen anything like that, and they were beautiful. I’m not, and wasn’t then, Christian, but I could appreciate them. It’s stuck with me for over 25 years.

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Luke Branwen
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Since white people started depicting Jesus, a Middle-Eastern man, as white, I see no issue with Black Jesus.

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#15

That thing where, for dinner, everyone sits silently at the table with straight backs while the dad saunters over and plops at the head of the table, serves himself, then everyone can start eating. Liiike wtf?? Never felt comfortable visiting that friend's house again

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#16

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock I went to a friend's house when I was about 8. They were serving macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. I hate hot dogs always have. I asked politely before she made up my plate if I could only have the mac n cheese.

This lady was furious. She wouldn't let me eat, actually made me sit outside on the deck every meal I happened to be at her house after that too. That was a shock.

DesolationRuins , Mateusz Feliksik Report

#17

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock My parents are really good cooks. I would eat dinner at friends homes and be horrified.

littlemybb , Conscious Design Report

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Ms. Allison
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mom is an amazing cook. I actually had a friend whisper an apology to me when we had spaghetti at her house for dinner cause her parents used sauce from a jar and my mom’s is from scratch and just couldn’t compare.

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#18

As a 12 year old I had my first sleep over at a friends place and I was told it was my turn for a shower wtf? I didn’t know what it meant let alone what it was hahaha. We only had a bath and a big copper tub in the laundry that was used for bath water and cooking the Christmas ham when my folks could afford it.
It was my job to fill the copper tub up with water, light the fire under it to heat the water up. I had to carry buckets of water in to the bathroom. Mum had first bath, dad second, my brother third and I got the grey water. It was also my job to carry buckets of hot water in to keep the bath water warm. That shower I had was absolute heaven and it was a years before I/we got to enjoy one at home

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#19

I was at my friend Dana's house for the first time, and spent the night. I remember being so in awe of how freely she spoke to her parents. At breakfast, her mom made buckwheat pancakes, and Dana spat out, "WHAT IS THIS S**T MOM???" I was stunned into silence, mouth agape. And her mom said, "I was just trying something new..." and she sounded so hurt.

Nobody I knew would challenge their parents like that, much less curse at them. And with zero repercussions! I think my brain exploded.

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Kelly Scott
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm not at all a big fan of hitting older kids - by that time they should have learned some manners - but I have a friend who's raising a 13-year-old granddaughter. The granddaughter called my friend a b*tch once and my friend just took it. I said if I had been the one taking care of the granddaughter, cooking, cleaning, and giving her a stable home, I would have backhanded her before she got her lips shut. No one calls me a b*tch in my house.

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#20

I was raised by two women (my mother and my dad's wife) whose notion of cleanliness was such that rooms were sterile and it looked to me like the point was to make it look like no one lived in our house. By contrast, I was used to being called and feeling like I was a "messy" person because none of those things are priorities to me.

The first time I went into the house of someone who was truly messy... I'm talking leftover candles from a birthday party that happened two weeks ago still on the dining-room table messy, basement so full of junk the notion of separate rooms has been made abstract... it rearranged the way I looked at myself a little.

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#21

Growing up as a teen in Australia I had a friend who had recently moved from South Africa, and we would regularly hang at each other's houses during weekends and holidays. He lived in a very expensive mansion type house - marble foyer type arrangement etc.

One sunny day his grandma opens the door to me and across the fancy foyer someone has hung rope back and forth, and then hung up lots of large pieces of red meat with clothes pegs. The marble floor is covered with pieces of newspaper stained with the meat fluids that have dripped, and there are two giant oscillating fans blowing towards the hanging meat.

This is the day I learned what biltong is; before getting the explanation I was absolutely f*****g frozen in terror lmao.

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Phobrek
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Had to look it up... biltong, n. South African - Narrow strips of sun-dried meat.

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#22

Went over to a friend's place, and they kept all their cereal in the fridge. I thought it was a bizarre culinary choice, but I later learned it was their secret to crispy cereal. Needless to say, my breakfast routine was forever changed that day.

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#23

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock I’m an international student in the USA. I lived with my grand uncle for 6 months and one of the cultural shocks that surprise me was that he had carpeted floors in his bathrooms. And also the lack of bidets in America.

cassiemoonnana , Phillip Stewart Report

#24

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock A giant glass thing fermenting outside. They were Korean. I think it was kimchi but I was so confused as a kid.

pizzzadoggg , Antoni Shkraba Report

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#25

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock They share one towel.

Friendly-Abies-9302 , Athena Report

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Ace
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All towels were shared in our house when I grew up. Are you seriously suggesting that each member of a family should have their own dedicated towel?

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#26

I was the youngest of four kids and we had pets, our house was a mix of chaos and always a bit messy. I went to a classmate's house where everything was orderly and super sanitized and basically, I felt if I stood still too long their mother would wrap us in plastic. I was afraid to breathe in their house and on edge. I could see why all three of the kids in their household had anxiety issues.

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censorshipsucks
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

my family was like this and as a result I can't stand dogs in the house and footprints and mess because I grew up with it (dirty kitchen etc). So now I am fanatical about cleaning etc. You have to have a balance or you create monsters like me.

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#27

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock My ex's family used one cup towel as a communal napkin. No paper napkins or paper towels. No individual washable cloth napkins. One cup towel for everyone, even at large gatherings for holidays. And there was this weird peer pressure to use it whether you needed to or not. I learned to eat carefully so I wouldn't need to wipe my mouth — or I'd stash a napkin or paper towel in my pocket to use discreetly.

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#28

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock Went to a friend's house at maybe age 9 and was floored that she didn't share a bedroom with her little sister.
On top of this, she also had a double bed and a small TV in her room hooked up to a PS2.

LittleMsBlue , Max Rahubovskiy Report

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Paul Pienkowski
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I had to share with my big brother. Was shocked my girlfriend had her own room and her sister didn't sleep with her.

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#29

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock When my friends Russian grandmother chased me with a shoe and yelled at me in Russian. I didn’t know why she was angry but all my friend would say is that it had something to do with where I put my shoes when I entered the house.

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#30

30 Times People Visited Someone Else's Home And Experienced The Biggest Cultural Shock More of just weird, I went to my boss’s house. She made us take off our shoes and socks and put on brand new white socks that she kept by the door. We also had to sanitize our hands and wear latex gloves. This was way before Covid.

Nacho_Bean22 , PNW Production Report

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