1. Americans are way too sensitive.
Sometimes I wonder if political correctness is in your constitution. Speaking your mind to individuals is a major taboo. You can’t tell a friend straight when he’s fucked up, nobody will ever tell you that you look fat, and there’s way too much euphemism to avoid the hard truth.
To a certain extent, I can understand it — America generally does a great job of preventing people from singling out ethnic groups and toning down hate speech. But it waters down criticism far too much at the individual level. Constructive criticism is what friends are for.
I found out very quickly in my first visit that I had to bite my tongue pretty much all the time, and (more annoyingly) that nobody was ever straight with me. The one time in my entire last three months that I got the unadulterated truth from a friend was when Karol Gajda gave me some tips to improve my presentation in future after I gave a TEDx talk, while everyone else was massaging my ego. It was really useful advice, but it caught me off guard because I was used to months of…