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.

#1

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Healthcare that bankrupts you

chhurry , Olga Guryanova Report

ZeroHargreaves057
Community Member
1 month ago

Mhm! Exactly!

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#2

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Paying more than the price you see on a price tag in a shop due to taxes. WTF just put how much it costs!

gibsterminator , Akshay Chauhan Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, that also bothered me as well

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#3

Cashiers being forced to stand... give them a chair you masochists

andy_james_78 Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

This weirds me out every time

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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.

#4

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Politicians mentioning religion when campaigning

awbayley97 , wikipedia Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

Religion should have no room in politics anywhere. (But for positive values such as grace of charity.)

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#5

New mothers going back to work almost immediately after giving birth, because they don’t have paid maternity leave

MultipleDinosaurs Report

I I
Community Member
1 month ago

that's just SAD , very , very SAD

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#6

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK An $800, four-block ambulance ride.

jeff_the_nurse , REEET JANK Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

Anything about the so-called American health system is a mystery to the rest of the world.

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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.

#7

That whole thing where American kids pledge their allegiance to the flag. That is completely weird and scarily totalitarian to us Brits.

Naugrith Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

Not only to Brits!

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#8

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK 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.

CuriousAboutLife0 , Alex Kotliarskyi Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

What an awful soulless place. And I'm guessing the only reason they give them what looks like expensive chairs is so they don't get sued for workplace injury.

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#9

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Greeters in supermarkets. Just feels fake.

smokingthegateway , Kristina Paparo Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

Are greeters real? I thought the Simpson's was exaggerating. I guess in a country so massive, you gta find a way to stand out? Still seems weird tho

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“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.

#10

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Driving everywhere.

In the UK it's perfectly normal to have your kid walk to school and walking to the shops to do your shopping.

X0AN , why kei Report

Something
Community Member
1 month ago

This varies in the US too. In most cities it's normal not to have a car, but not in places where most people don't live within walking distance to anything.

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#11

Offering full-time employees anything less than 28 days of paid holidays per year - it's not only socially unacceptable - it's illegal!

RandGenUserName Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

not in the US.....

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#12

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

NCC-2000-A Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago

Americans love a good discount too.

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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.”

#13

Labelling the winner of a sports tournament that only your country plays as ‘World Champions’

Calling Football ‘Soccer’

DM1994 Report

Paul Davis
Community Member
1 month ago

We're not the only ones doing that. No one seems to blink at the audacity of the Miss Universe beauty contest, where Earth seems to win every time.

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#14

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK A rubber in England is not the same as a rubber in the US.

Butwaip , Annie Spratt Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

In the UK, a durex is (or used to be) a condom. In Australia, it's sticky tape. Best not to get them confused.

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#15

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Gaps in bathroom stalls

8xxx5 , ttarasiuk Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Again, horrifying everywhere in the world

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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).

#16

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Making tea in a microwave.

fantsukissa , MoneyBlogNewz Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

This is horrifying for the rest of the world not just the UK!!

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#17

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.

cn45 Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

I would have been too!

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#18

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

CMDR_omnicognate Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Respect the queue! This should be everywhere!

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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.

#19

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK 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???

Ok-Cryptographer8906 , Chris Yang Report

Linus Nilsson
Community Member
1 month ago

On the tube, there's absolutely no reason to "hold the door". The next one will be in in a few minutes, and you will just be a little late. By holding, everyone on the train will be late, and there is actually a possibility that it travels down the line, delaying several trains.

Pedro
Community Member
1 month ago

Exactly. Respect for others.

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Amy Smith
Community Member
1 month ago

This is a major no no in the UK. Lots of tutting on the tube if you do this.

Chewie Baron
Community Member
1 month ago

Ah, tutting. If that was an Olympic sport, Team GB would win go.d every time!!

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Yo
Community Member
1 month ago

Hehe, was that in reference to GOT?

I I
Community Member
1 month ago

HOLDOR

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Saint Thomas
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, you should have waited. It's inconsiderate for all the people as this can cause delays. It can also be dangerous. In Belgium you can be fined if you do that.

Felicor Bongolan
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, because holding the door means the train does not leave on time, which means it will arrive late for the next stop - which has repercussions for other people. The tubes is almost always on time because people generally wait for a few minutes for the next one instead of delaying it.

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
1 month ago

There'll be another one in, like, two minutes. Calm down.

Sinkvenice
Community Member
1 month ago

So f**k everyone else, as long as you're not delayed right? That sounds very American to me!

JennyLaRue
Community Member
1 month ago

Asking people to hold the door is only ok if the next tube is more than a couple of minutes away, or it's the last train of the night.

Everett Huband
Community Member
1 month ago

I agree. In america the wait for trains is much longer, so that is why people tend to hold doors more often. I have had to wait 45 minutes for a train before, just because i barely missed the one I was trying to make.

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Marcellus the Third
Community Member
1 month ago

Your partner is right.

Dario Li Causi
Community Member
1 month ago

There is litterely a train every 1/2 minutes

King Joffrey
Community Member
1 month ago

What she didn't realise was that the whole carriage was going "what a prat" after they got in... This is a big no on the tube and trains in general in the UK. There are even posters all over London telling you not to hold the door for people.

DogMom
Community Member
1 month ago

Hodor

Lisa Buneo
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, I'd be shouting too lol. I was at an event where half the seats were empty in England, I suggested we move down and I was met with the look of horror. Those seats stayed empty - it was the London Olympics.

Not A Panda
Community Member
1 month ago

Of course your partner is mortified. You just held up an entire train of people just because you can't manage your time properly. But eh, as long as you get yours eh....

InfectedVoice
Community Member
1 month ago

If I was on that train, I wouldn't hold the door sorry, that's not always a done thing.

Easily Excitable Panda
Community Member
1 month ago

I've never done that on a train, but I've done it when racing to an elevator. Maybe I should rethink that (if I ever go into another public building again...)

Allan Breum
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes. Yes you were. Because you probably just made Every Other Person on that train late.

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes. You never ever do that. I don't do that in Toronto, or DC, or wherever I am in the US that has a subway I need. You miss your train, you miss your train, too bad, the end. Yes, you wait for the next one. .... I am US-born and US-bred, and I would never yell "HOLD THE DOOR!".... I'd probably cuss that I had to wait, but hey, I ran late, the train didn't run early!

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
1 month ago

My mother had a free travel who was EPIC in rance. I was visiting her near Bordeaux and was going back home via Paris (600km) with my dog and my suitcase. She wanted to help me with my bags so she entered the train and i was like "leave the train or you will be stuck". We heard the sound and the door closed. My mother was mortified, she asked the staff "what is the next stop?" "Paris Madam", "no, i mean the next stop?" "Paris Madam". On top of it she was parked in a quick drop off zone, she was mortified. Luckily an officer on vacation was near us, felt for her and called the local police to put a note on her car to avoid fees and the train staff gave her 2 free tickets to go back to Bordeaux. She was really lucky. But she spend the day in trains instead of a boat picnic, her picnic was heating in the car. I would like to have metro and trains that can stop here.

Nat Hedley
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh no, your poor mother! It's lovely how people rallied round to help her though.

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A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

What about a lift? Is it proper for someone in the UK to be running toward the lift and shout to those already inside to hold the door?

Nat Hedley
Community Member
1 month ago

Some already in the lift may find it mildly annoying, but not nearly as big a deal as holding up an entire, scheduled train. Personally, I wouldn't mind holding a lift if you were polite.

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Guido Pisano
Community Member
1 month ago

Also in italy if the train is leaving you let it go... But there is no such a hurry because are usually late :P

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

Well, I can give credit for that to the Americans: holding the door is really annoying for those already in the wagon

Everett Huband
Community Member
1 month ago

But is an act of kindness for the person needing to board the train.

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M Kate McCulloch
Community Member
1 month ago

Has he never explained?

Martha Higgins
Community Member
1 month ago

Good for you, glad you made the train.

W Bruce Jaworski
Community Member
1 month ago

?? no problem. Is it a "If you don't eat your meat you cannot have your pudding" thing? Serfs

Nic Dudley
Community Member
1 month ago

I would assume it is called being responsible for your actions or lack of actions instead o being entitled to everything waiting for you which is common in the US.

Sarah Grape
Community Member
1 month ago

wait why are they too polite to yell at strangers there

Fixin'Ta
Community Member
1 month ago

It sounds like these folks should have known about the next train being there in a few, etc. But if you were a tourist, a visitor, new to England/London from America, weren't used to travel by train/Tube (you know, we all have cars outside of the big cities), and the person really did think not catching the train would make them very late, AND they didn't think a 30-second wait was a big deal (not realizing how it could affect things down the line) ... maybe give them some grace? Maybe understand that not everyone else in the entire world knows how trains in London work? It would be one thing if the person made the train wait for 5 or 10 minutes, but literally one minute would make that much difference? (And maybe it would ... I lived in London for one semester in uni, and took the Tube to classes every day, and for all the other non-neighborhood things we did, but I don't remember this unwritten rule; maybe we never had to know about it.)

Not A Panda
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes 1 minute makes that much difference on tightly scheduled tracks!!

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Jarrod Nichols
Community Member
1 month ago

Another one most Americans would not have any problem with. If I saw you coming, I'd hold the door for you.

Id row
Community Member
1 month ago

I don't see the issue with that. We do it with elevators, too, in case any Brits need to prepare themselves for that shocker.

𝕁𝕖𝕟𝕟𝕪𝔹𝕖𝕖
Community Member
1 month ago

.....?

Tamika Love
Community Member
1 month ago

I know trains are different per locations. It that were in Atlanta you’d have to wait anywhere between 7-45. They don’t care about where you have to be. Not knowingly the times in a strange place I’d have anxiety missing one.

Sinkvenice
Community Member
1 month ago

There are electronic signs on every single platform saying how long it is till the next train and the train after that arrives. It's usually 1 minute and VERY rarely longer than 3 minutes.

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Susie Main
Community Member
1 month ago

Love this one. British reticence versus American practicality, personified.

backatya
Community Member
1 month ago

So sensitive the Brits are

Hugo A-niro
Community Member
1 month ago

I say you were right .your buddy gains nothing by staying a quiet

Jim Day
Community Member
1 month ago

What is a train?

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#20

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Asking new neighbors, "Have you found a church yet?"

boganvegan , Cosmic Timetraveler Report

JuJu
Community Member
1 month ago

That would be weird.

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#21

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Huge portion sizes. Kids meal in U.S is like a adult meal in U.K.

Revolutionary_Ad5901 , Ashley Green Report

Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

"supersize me"

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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.

#22

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.

armosnacht Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

What's particularly wrong with day drinking? I mean, night won't reduce your drunkenness

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#23

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!

Toxic_Orange_DM Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago

This happens in the UK too. I am a woman and I traveled by train with a suitcase too heavy for me to lift and always some lovely man immediately assisted me with getting on and off.

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#24

Spray on cheese

Stew32 Report

Felicor Bongolan
Community Member
1 month ago

That's horrifying!

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#25

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Addressing a stranger as ‘Sir’

UnsaddledZigadenus , Wikipedia Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 month ago

To me, this sounds like a good style. How would you address a stranger in the UK?

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#26

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK Responding to work emails while on leave/vacation.

rekharai Report

N G
Community Member
1 month ago

I fear this one may be culturally appropriated - I'm in the UK and have worked for people who have done this, and been "encouraged" to do this myself. I have offered once (but that was because it was a big, serious project, and my time off was looking after the MIL's house for two days and I was BORED!)

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#27

Socially-Acceptable-Us-Horrifying-UK high fructose corn syrup

itssteveninnit Report

Gillbella
Community Member
1 month ago

Vile stuff

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#28

Chanting the acronym of your country at any given opportunity.

NeonDave Report

Downunderdude
Community Member
1 month ago

Aussie, aussie, aussie, oi oi oi.

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#29

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.

pinksoetko Report

Linus Nilsson
Community Member
1 month ago

While talking about american cinemas, why don't they have seat reservation? In Sweden, we book in advance, choosing our seats by how many we are, where the screen is and availability.

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#30

Refuse a drink to a grown-ass taxpaying 20 year old

Chapelirl Report

Alma Mater
Community Member
1 month ago

driving alone at 16 but having to wait till you're 21 to drink a beer ??? doesn't make sense

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Note: this post originally had 55 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.