I once saw someone raised a question on Quora: Why don’t Chinese people say thank you amongst friends? Then my translator told me she couldn’t directly translate：给我一双筷子(gěi wǒ yī shuāng kuàizi) into English, because it’s too rude. She has to add “请(qǐng)”: Please give me a pair of chopsticks. So it makes me think: Do foreigners think Chinese are rude since we don’t use “谢谢(xièxie)” or “请(qǐng)” often?
When I was in America, I noticed people did use “thank you” and “please” much more often than Chinese did. For example, if a cashier gives you change, you should say “thank you”; if you ask your friend to pass you something, you should say “please”. In these situations, most Chinese won’t say “谢谢(xièxie)” or “请(qǐng)”. But I will say it’s a culture difference rather than we are rude.
In China, instead of saying “谢谢” to strangers, we probably will smile at them. We likely say “谢谢(xièxie)” when we sincerely appreciate someone. Meanwhile we prefer to use body language to strangers. I guess one reason is in Chinese culture, people are usually too shy to express oneself.
For “请(qǐng)”, it’s another story. Most Chinese people will feel “too polite” if you use “请(qǐng)” to someone you know, such as family, friends, coworkers. “请(qǐng)” makes others feel that they are not that close to you. It’s definitely good to use “请(qǐng)” to strangers such as waiter, taxi driver or your coworker on your first day.
In a word, it is a socially acceptable behavior by not using “谢谢(xièxie)” or “请(qǐng)” in China. But I won’t say you need to cut down your words. It’s always nice of you to say “谢谢(xièxie)” and “请(qǐng)”.