30 Giveaways That Someone Is American, As Described By Non-Americans
Traveling is one of the most enriching experiences in life. You discover different parts of the world, soak in new cultures, and gain new perspectives that help you become a well-rounded person. After all, you learn about all the similarities and differences your homeland shares with these faraway territories. But at the same time, people over there also observe that you’re far, far away from a local.
To people outside the US, Americans are a recognizable bunch. Apparently, it’s not only the accent that gives them away. Extremely extroverted? Check. Wears shoes inside? Yes, sir. Asks for refills? Spotted in plain sight! And many more similar traits, as Reddit user TheRighteous999 proved when they posted this question, "What are some things American people do that instantly tell you that they're American?"
Sure enough, the thread received an avalanche of responses with typically "American" traits that make them stick out in other countries. We’ve gone through the answers and gathered the ones that bleed blue, white, and red. So if you wish to be a more discreet traveler, scroll down and consider these giveaways for your next trip. Keep reading to also find an in-depth interview with travel blogger Megan Starr. Then let us know which of the replies you agree with most, and be sure to share your own takes in the comments!
Talks about “freedom” like it’s an exclusive American privilege and not the bare minimum for a good chunk of the world.
"I'm french, italian, spanish, portuguese and serbian"
**Born and raised in Connecticut, never left the state, only speaks english and maybe took a 23andme test**
"You're french ? I'm french too ! My great great ... great grandmother was in Paris one time when she was a toddler !"
It’s no secret that citizens of the most powerful country in the world often find themselves in the spotlight. The internet’s fascination with America, from its culture to its politics to its people, seems to be beyond control. It looks like everyone has at least a few opinions to share about the nation, and, news flash! They’re usually far from great.
In reality, not all typically American characteristics are negative. Every culture has peculiar quirks that can tell people around the world what country someone came from, even without asking. But differences between the US and other places can sometimes be so painfully obvious that they make for some amusing moments of confusion whenever pointed out.
To learn more about the subtle and not-so-subtle things American tourists do that immediately out them in other countries, we reached out to a writer and travel blogger Megan Starr who is originally from Virginia, US. She is one of the authors of a blog called Megan & Aram that’s purely dedicated to showcasing the beauty of Scandinavia, the Eastern bloc, and beyond. Living abroad for 12 years now, Megan is an avid traveler that has explored many breathtaking places around the globe and has amassed an arsenal of experiences she’s eager to share with others.
Smug and overconfident. Especially applies to White American men. I work in engineering consulting and it constantly amazes me how comfortable they are listening to the sound of their own voices and being wrong or inaccurate more than 50% of the time.
They make a huge fuss over your accent.
I was in London and some American tourists asked for directions, I told them and they were like ‘you sound so British!’ and even called his friend over to marvel at my accent. Like, dude you’re *in* England. What do you expect? The people aren’t a f*****g museum attraction
Most Americans I meet are some of the friendliest, polite people. That being said, they are unmistakably loud and over-sharey of personal details.
Also they should know that the customer is not always right, that service industry jobs are respectable occupations, and asking for ketchup is a dead giveaway.
When asked if she could reveal certain things that instantly expose Americans as tourists, she said that extreme confidence is probably the biggest one. "I can always tell an American (especially when abroad) because they walk around with confidence, they speak loudly and clearly (sometimes too much), and they are quick to say hello and be social," she told Bored Panda. "When I am abroad, this is usually how I can spot an American."
While the accent is seemingly their biggest giveaway, body language, behavioral differences, and even fashion choices also help people to recognize that a tourist is from the US. "That and the fact that they are likely wearing a t-shirt from their favorite college or sports team," Megan added.
Based on my personal experience:
“I don’t understand why no one here speaks English” - In a foreign country where actually a lot of people do speak English although not at a native level.
Also “You guys have no customer service” just because Karens in my country don’t get free food.
Introduce themselves as their ancestors nationalities lmao
Most of the responses from the community can be considered as clichés that poke fun at American citizens, and as we all know, stereotypes do tend to have a grain of truth in them. However, they may also form a rather negative view of the country for those who have never come into contact with the culture. Since Americans wear their identities proudly, they often become subject to "America vs. the rest of the world" comparisons.
When asked why some people spend so much energy frowning upon the US, Megan believes it has become trendy for some to make "hating Americans" their personality. "I feel bad to say that... but I know many people that have allowed that to become their entire personality. As an American (who has plenty of issues with her home country), I have found many American tourists to be better behaved than other nationalities," the travel blogger said. "I feel like (for the most part), our best people travel abroad."
Drive from one shop to the next even if it is 50 meter by walk
Extremely extroverted and talkative
I've lived in germany for 14 years and I've never seen strangers talk really. when I went to America everyone was so nice and talkative. it was a nice but strange experience
Honestly all the American I saw in my town were particularly cheerful and enthusiasts about things we take for granted. Like walking in a thousand years old street.
I also find them very expansive about their feelings. They don't hesitate to say: "Oh! this guy is so funny, man" in public. whereas in Europe I have the impression that we have lost the habit of communicating together in public.
Even if stripes and stars seep through your pores, the chances are that you sometimes want to be a more discreet traveler. Maybe you’re tired of feeling singled out, or perhaps you experienced unfortunate situations only because locals knew you’re a foreigner. Whatever the reason, Alyse, The Invisible Tourist, shared a few tips on how to blend in when traveling.
First, do a bit of research. The odds for you to look more like a local grow significantly if you spend time learning about the culture and etiquette. "Not only will this demonstrate to locals that you respect their heritage, but they’ll also be super appreciative of your efforts," she wrote. Also, learning a few basic phrases in their language can help you find a way out of troubling situations. Then, avoid proudly displaying your camera or selfie stick out in public, as they’ll immediately blow your cover. "Unless you’re a professional photographer, do you really need a flashy camera permanently draped around your neck that makes you look like a tourist?" Alyse asked. Well, that's for you to decide.
Maybe woosh, but...
If you hold your fork on the left, and cut with the knife in the right, then you would usually keep the fork on the left to eat with.
Very American to cut with the right, then swap the fork to the right to eat that bit, then swap again to cut with the right. Rinse and repeat.
Equating freedom with being able to buy a product or being able to do something really meaningless
Asking for refills, ice, or iced tea has outed me more times than I'd care to admit.
However, Megan mentioned that trying your best to blend in may take away some joy from your journey. "I think that if you're headed to visit the Colosseum, for example, you are likely not going to give off the vibe that you're a local! I think it is good to remain chilled out and respectful, but I don't see the point in trying to 'blend' in. I have made several friends on the road from simply being a foreigner. But, I am also the first person to throw headphones on and wander about trying to discover the streets on my own terms,” she said.
"Do you speak English? DOOO! YOOOU! SPEEEAK! ENNNNGLISH!"
BEING LOUD. And I don’t mean intentionally. They can be just talking in a restaurant or a train and it’s the only conversation that can be heard from everywhere.
If you want to be a great tourist when traveling around the globe, Megan shared one tip that could help you reach your goal. "Asking questions in a non-invasive and judgmental manner," she told us. "You can make friends this way and also learn a lot about culture."
"I also think it is about respecting where you are. If you are in a conservative country as a female, cover up. Simple as that. You may not agree with it, but being respectful goes a long way. Also... don't break stuff. And don't photograph places you shouldn't or fly drones in no-flying zones," the travel blogger concluded.
Ask about common American chains that are uncommon/nonexistent in other countries. Also assuming that international chains serve the same thing in every country; McDonald’s, for example, has different menu items in, say, China. Assuming the food is prepared the exact same, too—I remember ordering chicken nuggets as a kid in Germany and being shocked they tasted so different. Probably because they were made with real chicken.
They start talking to you/always trying to make conversation.
I was at the car wash one time and this guy sat beside me and asked if the truck was mine. I said no politely and hoped he’ll stop talking to me as English is not my first language.
Lo and behold few minutes later he was telling me the story about 9/11 as he was one of the first responders and how he developed an illness because of the said job.
Americans are really interesting people. They really know how to keep a conversation going. I couldn’t do that, Europeans wouldn’t do that, i think lol.
I asked for a refill of coke on vacation at a restaurant in Australia. They said I’ve got to be American and had a good laugh.
If they’re a 35+ year old man wearing a large T shirt, khaki cargo shorts, and white sneakers with socks that go halfway up their calves
Saying "hey how are you/how is it going" without expecting an actual answer. An when you answer and ask how they are, it usually baffles them!
It's 10 degrees and you're wearing an oversized sweatshirt with the name of your college, shorts and flip flops.
Wear a baseball cap at an indoor restaurant.
Signed, an American who (ONCE!) wore a baseball cap at an indoor restaurant.
We get a lot of American tourists here, why do you all wear the exact same clothes? Ireland t shirt, shorts, socks with sandals or those awful trainers, sunglasses and baseball caps
Loud, the way they dress, being overly polite, ask what I do for a living in the first 5 mins of conversation, etc