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Should you say sorry if you bump into strangers? Will that sound dramatic in Korea?

AskCategory: Living in KoreaShould you say sorry if you bump into strangers? Will that sound dramatic in Korea?
katy asked 8 months ago

I know in the past you’ve said in Korea if you bump into someone or they do to you saying excuse me/sorry isn’t a big thing there like it is in the US. If you do as a reaction will you be seen as dramatic or over reacting to the situation? Or if you do nothing would it be seen as rude? I wouldn’t want to offend anyone so I thought I’d ask.

1 Answers
J Staff answered 8 months ago

Saying sorry or excuse me isn’t a big thing but considered polite when you do. Most people are too busy to walk away or stare at their phone to do so.


If you are coming from America, there’s a high chance that you will feel very uncomfortable at times, especially riding subway. In general, Korea and America have just such a different concept of personal space and boundaries. Although this varies by person, too.


I was born and raised in Korea, have lived in the States, I feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable when I ride subway in Korea LOL. People just don’t really care if their bags/belongings or themselves are very close to another person. Standing right behind another person in a line, which is normal in Korea, is also another thing I find very weird after living in the states. Mostly, because Seoul and other big cities have such high population density and it feels normal for the people who live there.

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