AMERICA—ACQUAINTANCES RATHER THAN FRIENDS. In the various comments by visitors on surprising things about America, those of Brian Crouch (number 8) are, I think, particularly important. He says that there are a “lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings because of the sometimes shallow nature of American social interaction.” People that visitors meet—who they think are becoming friends— turn out to be “arms-length acquaintances”.

We are a country where people meet a lot of strangers and our manners are adapted to that. Strangers encounter, in Brian Crouch’s words, “a lot of friendliness and amicable treatment”, but Americans move around, and close friendships form slowly.

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