Cars and guns. Flags and freedom. Fast-food and air-conditioning. That’s what the United States is all about—or at least the stereotypical version of America, according to the internet. No matter how hard people try, it looks like there are some stereotypes that Americans just can’t shake.

Whether because of pop culture or anecdotal experiences with tourists, some foreigners have a very clear-cut picture in their minds of what American everyday life is like. Even though it actually varies so much. And redditor Pfl2020 wanted to find out what exactly non-Americans think that Americans can’t live without.

Check out some of the most interesting responses to their thread and remember to give the ones that you relate to a big ol’ upvote as you scroll down. We’d also love to hear your opinions on what you associate Americans with, dear Pandas. And if you’re from the US, share your thoughts and feelings about these stereotypes in the comments.

For instance, I personally associate Americans with extremely warm and friendly people, delicious homecooked meals, great education, excellent four square skills on the playground, flags, and… powdered donuts (yum!). I’m pretty sure there are unfriendly Americans out there, but I’ve yet to meet one in person. (They could be a myth conjured up by jealous Canadians.)

#1

The belief that they’re more free than the rest of the world.

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Definitely NOT. Every country has there issues but for a western country the US has some serious big issues that aren't as prevalent in other western countries.

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#2

The believe that America is the greatest of all democracies while it is just another empire on its way down...

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Helen Haley
Community Member
2 months ago

This one is mostly laid at the feet of fox 'news'.

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#3

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Medical debt

victorianfolly , Tyler Report

wandile dludlu
Community Member
2 months ago

I don't have medical insurance in my country, but that is because I can go to a government hospital and pay the equivalent of $3 for 2 nights admittance for treatment of food poisoning

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It’s best to think of cultural stereotypes as incredibly rough guidelines that sometimes help us navigate life, but you should never think that they’re completely accurate representations of reality. Life’s too complex and deep to be summed up in a couple of throwaway phrases.

Not all Americans are overweight, own a gun, only speak English, and tip their waiters all the time. But does the country have a problem with obesity? Yes, it does. According to the CIA, 36.2 percent of all Americans were considered to be obese in 2016. And the US ranked twelfth in the world by obesity. But it would be unfair to ignore that in such a vast country there are plenty of fitness enthusiasts and healthy eaters out there, too.

#4

A sense of superiority and a denial of the truth of their own history.

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IlovemydogShilo
Community Member
2 months ago

I am English and I am ashamed of MY country's sense of superiority and a denial of the truth of their own history. Especially concerning the slave trade and the way they treated the Irish during the Irish famine.

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#5

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Fast food. I remember watching a piece about how fast food is sometimes the cheapest option for poor families. They literally can't afford to eat healthily.

RyzenRaider , Calgary Reviews Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

It's like that in many countries. In Aus it is cheaper to buy the bad, processed, high in sugar and high in salt food than it is to buy healthy foods like fruit, veg and meat.

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#6

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Flags. You really care about showing off flags. Pro tip: Any place with lots of flags has a national identity crisis.

gullman , Best Picko Report

Marcellus the Third
Community Member
2 months ago

You're thinking of Canada, right?

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Some stereotypes are nearly perfectly true, however. Like how much Americans love cars. They're not the only ones, though. The US really does have a car obsession and ranks fourth on Planet Earth by the number of motor vehicles per capita, but it falls right behind—you’ll never believe it—New Zealand. That’s right, our loveable Kiwis own more cars, on average, than Americans do. Who needs eagles when our hobbit protagonists could have headed to Mordor in a Volvo?

Plenty of Americans really can’t live without cars because they rely on them for their day-to-day lives. Those who argue against this would point to the fact that, in 2019, Americans also took a whopping 9.9 billion trips on public transportation. Which sounds very impressive...

...Until you realize that there were 328.2 million people living in the US that year and that they'd each end up using public transportation just over 30 times each, on average. All year. So there's some truth to the stereotype about loving cars after all. But it's not the entire story. Nor the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not by far.

#7

The goddamn Imperial System of Units.
I don't even live in the US but a lot of content on the internet is American and it annoys me when I need to multiply miles by 1.6 to get kilometers.

TarunVader_10 Report

Dominika Juillet
Community Member
2 months ago

omg yes, this is terrible. I've been here over five years and I still can't get used to it. :"My god, the temperature is over 100? are we FRYING TO DEATH??"

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#8

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without A car. In European countries, it’s pretty common that you can get anywhere by public transport, but I haven’t heard about any properly functioning public transportation besides New York’s subway.

avadakabitch , llee_wu Report

IlovemydogShilo
Community Member
2 months ago

Do they still have Greyhound busses?

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#9

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Bumper stickers informing others of their opinions.

AmJusAskin , Michael Pereckas Report

Candace Fitzpatrick
Community Member
2 months ago

And on t-shirts. If I wear a t-shirt with a graphic on it, it’s a band name or beer merch (because I get those free from work lol)

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#10

High Self confidence. Good thing in most people. Bad thing in flat earthers and antivaxxers

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Truth Monster
Community Member
2 months ago

It's not like there aren't other people who have crazy views. Like I think its in Ghana where albino people are being kidnapped to be chopped up for spells because somehow they are magical.

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#11

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Material consumption. This is true in most places but from my observation it seems to go to another level in America. Everyone spends so much time discussing the latest thing they bought and how great it is.

TauCeti2050 , greychr Report

elia 84631
Community Member
2 months ago

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#12

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Insurance. If they get sick without it, they're [screwed]. Meanwhile, if I have an health issue in Europe, I'll get free assistance in case of emergency and pay a small fee (usually between 30€ and 70€) for a routine visit.

Zek_ , looseid Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
2 months ago

You're screwed even if you get sick with it.

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#13

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without A house. Even if you can't afford it. No flat — a house. Big house with two living rooms: one for family, one for ????

Iseult-benoit , daryl_mitchell Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Maybe I am just privileged coz I could never live in a unit or apartment. I don't need 2 living rooms though. Just an extra room to clean lol.

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#14

Mentioning someones race/culture/sex etc. constantly

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SkullCrusherXxX
Community Member
2 months ago

Yeah, that is too much a big deal in the USA. Always in the news and stuff.

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#15

Overly-fat-saturated and sugary foods.

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elia 84631
Community Member
2 months ago

How much sugar and fat have in American Europen and even Asian foods?

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#16

War? Jk but I read somewhere in all layout history you’ve only had 17 years when you weren’t at war with someone or the other

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David K
Community Member
2 months ago

Some say that the USA is a culture of war rooted within a widespread ethos that uses military force in pursuit of self-interests. The truth is however that the USA has been continuously at war since the earliest days of its existence as a nation and the political, economic, cultural, and moral costs and consequences of war have reduced the USA's moral authority, political stability, and economic viability. Way out? I don´t know the right answer. Perhaps the USA must establish itself as a “culture of peace” by pursuing a new set of cultural ethoses.

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#17

News telling them who to be angry and outraged with this week.

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J. F.
Community Member
2 months ago

Not different to Germany, while not as aggressive as the US media some are very one sided

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#18

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Air-conditioning. That's usually the first complaint that American migrants have in Germany.

HabseligkeitDerLiebe , Sagar Verma Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

I could never live in a house without air con or fans, although that's because of our climate.

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#19

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Guns, walmart, and deep friers

Hachater , Mike Mozart Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Walmart seems like an interesting place and deep fryers are useful to cook certain things in. Guns is the one I have a problem with.

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#20

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Soda pop. Spent some time in the southwest. Everyone had these enormous refillable beverage containers they would refill with soft drinks multiple times a day. While I agree it is important to stay hydrated, the jugs i saw held 1.75 quarts, and that much fountain drink could contain more than 200 grams of sugar.

LOUDCO-HD , Mike Mozart Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
2 months ago

Caffeine. It is the only reason any of us are awake. We don't take vacations, and our sleep patterns suck. Ergo, caffeine obsession.

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#21

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Garburators, garbage disposal. Every time an American was house hunting on House Hunters International, the Americans always wanted a garburator and would be disappointed if the kitchens didn't have one.

Queef_Quaff , Chris Winters Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

Just curious but does any other country use garbage disposals or is it just a US thing?

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#22

Fahrenheit... it’s such nonsense. Celsius is where it’s at!

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Martha Meyer
Community Member
2 months ago

I think both of these systems are equally arbitrary. That's why scientists use Kelvin.

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#23

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without A credit card. Not sure why people use it over there, possibly because of their weird credit system that seems to be so essential to their lives, or because of their even weirder mindset of liking to spend money they don't have. Probably both.

Joe-misidd , Håkan Dahlström Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

I don't think this is an American thing, people use credit cards widely across the world.

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#24

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Ice. What's the deal with ice machines and them being such a big deal in any TV show or movie set in a hotel or motel?

halfshoe , Mike Mozart Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
2 months ago

These people must live somewhere with a cool climate coz we have ice machines all over the place from petrol stations, supermarkets and bottle-o's etc

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#25

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Paper plates. Used in your own home? That’s quite bizarre to me.

Notaelephant , Donald West Report

IlovemydogShilo
Community Member
2 months ago

Saves on the washing list I suppose.

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#26

Military.

h2man Report

Helen Haley
Community Member
2 months ago

Our oligarchs are control freaks who like playing chess with the world.

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#27

Loans or debts of some sort, especially in their younger years. And i think Americans literally can't live without insurance.

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Truth Monster
Community Member
2 months ago

You can live without it....you just won't live long

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#28

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Red solo cups, they are such an American thing

IIIHenryIII , hannabreezy Report

Hooked
Community Member
2 months ago

Why are they called "solo cups" ?

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#29

Things-Americans-Cant-Live-Without Cheddar cheese, and jumbo everything

-butter-toast- , Joakim Jardenberg Report

IlovemydogShilo
Community Member
2 months ago

Cheddar cheese is a big deal in the UK too. After all it comes from the town of Cheddar in Somerset, England.

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#30

Automatic transmissions.

iBendUover Report

Kirsten Kerkhof
Community Member
2 months ago

I drive a car with manual transmission (I'm in Europe), but I have no problem with automatic transmissions. They just make driving easier and more inclusive. Similarly, IMO there are no brownie points for being able to drive a manual. It's just a car. Drive what works best for you.

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Note: this post originally had 46 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.