Common ways to offend a Hawaiian

Hawaii is a truly beautiful place to visit and even to live there permanently. It has everything one could hope for. However, there are many common ways to offend a Hawaiian, which you should try to avoid it. If you plan to go to Hawaii any time soon, here is what you should not say to Hawaiian locals.

Do your research

Before coming to any country, it is always wise to do research about your destination. The same thing applies when coming to Hawaii. Hawaii is the fiftieth state of the United States and the most recent one. So, if you need a visa for the United States, it means you will also need one to enter this island country. The state is entirely composed of hundreds of islands, better known as Hawaiian archipelago. The eight main islands are:

  • Niʻihau, Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu, Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Kahoʻolawe
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi or the Big Island

The official language is English, so you will have no problems to communicate with locals.

Locals are not your tour guides

When you visit Hawaii, it is only natural to be curious. You will probably want to go to places that only locals know in order to discover hidden natural gems. However, if you go around asking people to show you those places, you can come off as being rude. This is one of the ways to offend a Hawaiian. They have their own jobs and families, hectic life and schedules. Relocating to Hawaii is not only about surfing all day long and enjoying the beach life. They have to work hard so they can pay their bills and other expenses.

Ways to offend a Hawaiian – ask about modern gadgets

Even though Hawaii has hundreds of islands, that does not mean they are behind the rest of the world. Of course, they will have electricity or the Internet. You will be able to post beautiful pictures on all of your social media. After all, you might even end up moving to Maui or to any other place in Hawaii. Then, this question will irritate you as well.

Do not use “but you live in Hawaii”

Hawaii is like a paradise on the Earth, but people there also have problems like the rest of the world. When someone wants to open their soul to you, do not say “but you live in Hawaii’. This is definitely of one the ways to offend a Hawaiian. It would be the same for you if you were to live here. However, if you do actually plan to move here, then you should find good local movers Hawaii to help you with your relocation.

Common ways to offend a Hawaiian – believe they go to the beach all the time

There are many beautiful beaches in Hawaii. However, there are not that close to everyone nor people have to time to go there often. As it was already mentioned, Hawaiians have their jobs as well. After they come home, many do not have the energy or will to go to the beach. Staying home with their family sounds better than some popular activities in Hawaii.

 a small house surrounded by surfboards
Hawaiians do not spend their days at the beach

Correct their pronunciation

You are not local. Therefore, you have no right to tell them how to pronounce Hawaiian words. For this reason, it would be better if you show that you are willing to learn their way of speaking especially if you want to live here.

Be casual

One of the ways to offend a Hawaiian is to dress up too formally, especially when you go to the beach. Hawaiians are quite relaxed about their clothes. They even celebrate Christmas in Hawaii wearing the aloha shirts. So, leave your fancy home behind, and enjoy your vacation in shorts and an aloha shirt.

ways to offend a Hawaiian - by not wearing an aloha shirt
Get a couple of Aloha shirts

Ways to offend a Hawaiian – taking their slippers

This will make them extremely angry. Do not ever take away their flip-flops. If you want to be respectful, get a pair of your own, and do not touch theirs. They are very serious about their slippers.


Tagging jaywalkers is a favorite past time for Hawaiian cops. For this reason, do not get caught walking or driving between the changing lights. The police will not care about your excuses and you will pay around 70 dollars for the fee.

Ways to offend a Hawaiian – littering

Since Hawaii has such amazing nature, many locals want to preserve it the way it is. For this reason, do not be an ignorant and rude tourist. Collect your garbage and throw it away but not in the ocean. This is not only about offending Hawaiians, but also about keeping the planet Earth clean.

a picture of a beach
Keep the beaches clean

Do not assume everyone from Hawaii is Hawaiian

This could be said for all the United States. Not everyone there is American,  nor everyone from Hawaii is Hawaiian. There are many minorities living in Hawaii, especially there are many Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Italians, Germans, and French people. So be careful and do not assume their nationalities.

Try to explain the true meaning of “cold”

As you might know, Hawaii has a warm tropical climate. Their definition of cold and yours might differ extremely. For this reason, do not go around saying their cold weather is nothing compared to yours. It will offend them.

Do not say that you do not like Hawaii

Lastly, when you go to Hawaii, do not say that you do not like it. No one likes to hear how you dislike their country. Hawaii is not for everyone. That is completely fine since people have different taste. However, be respectful and do not make such comments in the presence of locals.

Common ways to offend a Hawaiian

As you can say, there are many ways to offend a Hawaiian. However, if you are showing respect, they will reciprocate. Do not forget to enjoy your time in Hawaii.