What’s totally acceptable and completely normal in one country might get you some funny looks elsewhere. Or, in other words, welcome to Planet Earth where there are loads of different countries and cultures that are bound to blow your mind when you travel.
This time, we’re looking at the differences between the United States and the United Kingdom. Even though both countries have a ‘special relationship’ (not to mention a rocky initial history together), far from everything is the same there. Hopping ‘over the pond’ means traveling a large distance both physically and culturally, too. Like you'd expect when going to any new country when you fly abroad.
Redditor TownImmediate9060 went on r/AskReddit and wanted to find out what’s socially acceptable in the US but would be horrifying in the UK. The thread went viral and the responses made us seriously realize the extent of the differences between the two allies. Check out some of the best answers below and remember to upvote your fave ones, dear Pandas.
Healthcare that bankrupts you
Paying more than the price you see on a price tag in a shop due to taxes. WTF just put how much it costs!
Cashiers being forced to stand... give them a chair you masochists
Britain continues to use soft power to spread its influence abroad. Its cultural impact is off the charts. Just consider how influential the Harry Potter books, musicians like Ed Sheeran, and football entities like the Premier League really are.
They’re known and respected globally. As such, the UK’s able to draw in plenty of tourists (global pandemic notwithstanding because it’s hit everyone badly) and students from abroad because it remains at the forefront of people’s minds.
New mothers going back to work almost immediately after giving birth, because they don’t have paid maternity leave
However, research shows that the confusion and uncertainty around the long-term effects that Brexit, the UK’s exit from the European Union, will have slightly dampened the country’s influence abroad.
Meanwhile, the British Council found that it’s actually culture, not politics, that deepens the ties between the UK and the US. And it’s culture that’s going to play a vital role in the future of both nations as well.
That whole thing where American kids pledge their allegiance to the flag. That is completely weird and scarily totalitarian to us Brits.
Overworking. It's rewarded and encouraged in the U.S., but during my time in the U.K. my colleagues were horrified by the long hours and lack of holidays that was the norm in the U.S.
“Culture and history were the two top rated factors contributing to the UK’s attractiveness among American respondents, with 43% identifying ‘cultural and historic attractions’ as a major draw and 42% identifying ‘history,’” the British Council explains what it discovered in its research.
In the UK it's perfectly normal to have your kid walk to school and walking to the shops to do your shopping.
Offering full-time employees anything less than 28 days of paid holidays per year - it's not only socially unacceptable - it's illegal!
Bragging about how expensive something was.
In the US "this is a $100 shirt" ...smug face
In the UK "can you believe I got this whole suit for £25!" ...smug face
Despite some of the more superficial cultural differences between the US and the UK, both nations appear to care about pretty much the same issues.
“The research showed a high degree of shared concern about global issues among young people in both countries with poverty, extremism/terrorism, and climate change as the top factors chosen by young people in both the US and UK,” the British Council found. “The research suggests the relationship between the two countries is at root a cultural as much as a political phenomenon, and viewed in those terms it is indeed special.”
Labelling the winner of a sports tournament that only your country plays as ‘World Champions’
Calling Football ‘Soccer’
A rubber in England is not the same as a rubber in the US.
Ironically, the actual term ‘special relationship’ sees very little use in the US, primarily being a British way of categorizing the tight bonds between the two nations. However, this doesn’t change the fact that both countries are very much skipping along arm-in-arm, primarily admiring each other’s cultural output (leaving politics a secondary concern).
When my Brit friends were visiting, they were horrified when the waiter took their credit card to swipe back at the terminal. This made them REALLY uncomfortable.
Cutting lines for things, I’ve seen some people when going to Disney world trying to cut lines for random reasons. Queueing in the uk is like our national sport
Redditor TownImmediate9060’s thread about the differences between the US and the UK was a roaring success. It got more than 67.7k upvotes in just over a week. What’s more, the thread got over 51k comments which just goes to show that the OP hit the nail on the head and chose a niche topic that plenty of folks were interested in.
The thread also got over 300 awards, proving that TownImmediate9060’s fellow Reddit users really appreciated them asking the question in the first place.
My (British) partner & I (American) were in London, running late to meet our friends. Just as we get to the tube station, I see our train has just pulled in; we haul ass across platform and I yell, “HOLD THE DOOR.” Someone does, we make the train, I don’t see a problem. My partner, by contrast, is mortified. This was 4-5 years ago & he is still mortified. Apparently we were meant to just...let the train leave? Without us?? & wait for the next one???
Huge portion sizes. Kids meal in U.S is like a adult meal in U.K.
What’s your opinion about the relationship between the US and the UK, dear Readers? What, in your opinion, makes this relationship between the two special? What do you think are the main cultural differences between Americans and Brits? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. We’d absolutely love to get your take on this, especially if you’re currently living in the US or the UK.
I was in Japan once and there was a vending machine selling beer outside my hotel room.
So, being British, I bought a can and went to the elevator where I shared an excruciating couple of minutes with two American business men. They were horrified at my early day drinking, and I at their willingness to express this.
As a Brit in the US, this is a fun one!
Pharmaceutical adverts on the TV are still weird af to me
The length and frequency of commercial breaks in general on TV is shocking
Low hanging fruit, but anything relating to child beauty pageants just makes me feel physically sick
Here's a nice one: taking 20+ minutes to help a complete stranger who is struggling with something. The amount of times a total stranger has stopped to assist me or someone I know? Y'all really make my heart melt!
Chanting the acronym of your country at any given opportunity.
I don’t know how common it actually is there, but going fucking wild at the cinema during a hugely popular film like Avengers: Endgame or a Star Wars film. There’s a bunch of videos on YouTube of the audience reactions to various big franchise films and I don’t know how anybody lasts more than a few minutes in that room.
When I saw The Force Awakens, like two people half-heartedly cheered when the title screen came up and then someone immediately told them to shut up.