Americans generally believe the ideal person is self-reliant. Most Americans see themselves as separate individuals, not as representatives of a family, community or other group. They dislike being dependent on other people, or having others depend on them. Some people define this trait as selfishness. Others see it as a healthy freedom from the constraints of family or social class.
How is this value manifested into behavior? In individualist cultures, such as the U.S., it is assumed that people need to be alone some of the time and prefer to take care of problems by themselves. Another expectation is that people are ready to "do business" very soon after meeting, without much time spent on preliminary conversation. Also people act competitively, are proud of their accomplishments and expect others to be proud of their own accomplishments.
Reading this makes the USA seem like a strange, exotic culture. Which I suppose it is if you weren't born and raised here. Link -via Breakfast Links