Q:

What are social customs?

A:

Social customs include actions and behaviors that are expected of a particular culture. Social customs may include how a person greets another, makes eye contact, dresses in public and converses in a discussion. Social customs can also dictate the type of language a person uses in social settings.

Social customs vary based on a person's background, ethnicity and cultural upbringing. For example, India's social arena puts more prominence on gender, with special preference given to males as a figure of authority and dominance. Almost all marriages are arranged in this culture, and women are expected to be more submissive in social settings. Japanese social customs often include a bow or simultaneous bow and handshake upon greeting one another, according to Nanzan University's guide to social customs. In addition, when greeting, first names are rarely used in the Japanese culture. The family name followed by "san," which translates to Ms., Mrs. or Miss, is preferred. The French culture boasts formal social etiquette, according to the Paris Culture Guide. Formality in dress, greetings before asking a question and formal table etiquette in social settings and at meals with acquaintances and friends is expected at all times and is a sign of respect for others.

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