What’s normal for you and me might not be normal for someone we know who lives abroad. Or their neighbor. One of the harsh truths of life is that reality isn’t always as objective as we might think it is.

In a viral thread, Redditors shared the best examples of what’s completely normal for people from their country and absolutely weird for foreigners. We’ve compiled some of the best answers that we hope will make you smile and laugh.

Scroll down and upvote your favorite things that are normal for some people, but are unusual for the rest of the world. If you enjoyed this list, why not share it with your friends? And be sure to let everyone know in the comments if you’ve got any of your own stories about what’s normal for your country, but that you realize to be strange when you go abroad.

#1

Going bankrupt from medical debt. (USA)

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nanashi
Community Member
1 year ago

this is probably why Medical tourism to my country is a thing, I suppose.

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#2

Everyone rags on the US for using imperial, but can we talk for a second about how weird we are here in the UK for using both inconsistently?

You buy a pint of milk or beer, but a litre of coke and 25ml of whiskey

People know how many miles to the gallon their cars get, but you buy fuel at pence per litre.

You watch the weather forecast and the temperature is in Celsius but the wind speed is in miles per hour

Most people can tell you their weight in kilograms, and their height in feet, and if they can't give you kilograms they can probably give you stone instead, which is even older than pounds, which nobody uses as a unit of measurement, probably because of the confusion between lbs and £...

It's a glorious mess.

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Katchen
Community Member
1 year ago

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Thank you! Every time I see someone from the UK get down on the US for the imperial system my first thought is “what about stone as a measure of weight?”

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#3

upset? have a cup of tea

happy? cup of tea

bored? cup of tea

literally any feeling? cup of tea

edit: yes, I’m from the UK, tea is our answer to all of life’s problems.

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 year ago

Its where Sheldon got it from XD

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Reddit user Ojlol2’s thread on the ‘Ask Reddit’ subreddit got more than 63,000 upvotes in a day, as well as over 48,000 comments. Wow, now that’s a lot of people wanting to share their experience about how normality can differ from nation to nation.

From bizarre actions to eyebrow-raising phrases, there will always be things that seem out of place, as long as different countries, cultures, and ethnicities exist. And it’s a wonderful thing because a shift in your perspective can lead to more creativity and a more objective understanding of yourself.

#4

Unsuccessfully helping your dad look for one of his missing thongs and then watching him squeeze into one of your mum's so he can go out into the back yard and get the laundry. I'm told the rest of you (incorrectly) call them flip flops. (Australia)

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Lady Laura
Community Member
1 year ago

I was picturing the dad squeezing into tiny thong underwear. Quite the mental image!

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#5

Eating with our hands.

In 1969 (the same year the man landed on the moon), Miss Gloria Diaz coveted the Philippines' first Miss Universe Crown. During the preliminary Q&A, she was asked "Is it true that you Filipinos use your hand when you eat?" To which she replied "Why? Do you use your feet?" and went her way to winning the crown. (Phillipines)

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nanashi
Community Member
1 year ago

HAH I would definitely use that response in the future!

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#6

Tax not included in advertised price (USA)

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 year ago

How annoying. If hate to have to use the American tax system, with that plus paying your tax in a lump and having to keep receipts. Here we do PAYE (pay as you earn), it normally ends in a refund of a few hundred at the end of the year, but no stress

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The United States of America is one of the most powerful countries on Planet Earth, but it doesn’t mean that everything its citizens do is the norm across the world. Some things are minor differences. While some take you aback, make you stop, and keep you awake at night thinking about the cosmos, Multiverse theory, and humankind as a whole.

#7

Bears on motorcycles driving on roads, drinking vodka and playing balalaikas.

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Hahaha! Gotcha. What I said was untrue. Russia doesn't have roads.

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Katchen
Community Member
1 year ago

Ha!

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#8

Putting broken glass bottles on the walls around your house so burglars cant jump it and rob you. I moved to Canada and they don't even have walls around the houses! (Brazil)

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Guido Pisano
Community Member
1 year ago

It is not so common but you can find also in italy

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#9

Having a reality tv star as president (USA)

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Emerald Joanna
Community Member
1 year ago

Or an actor as president? Or a non-American actor as governor? Americans must think that people in the public eye are automatically qualified to run things...

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For example, one thing that is really odd is how Americans write today’s date by starting with the month, then writing down the day, and ending with the year. Most countries in the world start with the day or end with it. While we’re on the subject, how is it that the US still uses the Imperial System? It seems like the American War of Independence didn’t get rid of all of Britain’s influence over the colonies.

#10

In my high school (US) we had a group of australian students come to live a day in the life of an american high school. They all thought it was so bizarre and cult-ish that every morning we had to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag with our hands over our hearts. I couldn't agree more that it is, indeed, bizarre and cult-ish.

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Katchen
Community Member
1 year ago

Agreed. It’s creepy af.

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#11

Direct democracy in Switzerland. It often baffles me when I read what the government can pull off in other countries without ever involving the population. Like...yea, you get to elect representatives but it often seems to me that those people then elect someone who elects someone who elects someone...is it really still democracy if you're about five steps removed from the actual decisions? (Switzerland)

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah, I wish more countries had Direct Democracy

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#12

Men holding hands in public as a display of friendship is normal in Afghanistan but super weird in the west.

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Barry.B.Benson
Community Member
1 year ago

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not weird just gay BUT all you have to do is say no homo and she'll be right

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Constantly tipping everyone, no matter how well they did their jobs, also causes a lot of people to shrug and give Americans peculiar looks. Japan’s a real wonderland in that regard: there’s almost no tipping.

#13

In my country you bike everywhere. Cars aren't used much. For longer distances you mostly use train and public transport. Also being 6 foot is normal (The Netherlands)

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engineer_nope.avi
Community Member
1 year ago

That's being Dutch for ya

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#14

I have two to share since I'm half and I get to see those every year. Dead. We celebrate dead and we have parades about dead. We laugh about dead. Dead is our friend. In Mexico we treat dead with love and fun.

Also in Japan we celebrate kanamara Matsuri. Wich is basically a parade about fertility with dicks everywhere. Small dicks. Giant dicks. Dicks as food.

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

This means during Kanamara Matsuri you can tell someone to go eat a dick without sounding suspicious.

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#15

Small talk in Poland actually is quite sincere. If someone asks you what's up, you tell them exactly that it's s**tty etc.

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Uwe Theiss
Community Member
1 year ago

That's what I love at my polish friends. And one of the best things at the polish/german weeding I attended. It was just honest.

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#16

Being left off of maps (New Zealand)

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 year ago

Lol we are so bitter. Download Stephen Colberts solution, a cut out and stick on new Zealand:D

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#17

Whole restaurants cheering when a plate or glass is smashed (UK). Once was in a Canadian bar/restaurant on holiday and a waiter dropped a tray of glasses, the local looked horrified when i was out of my seat screaming “wheyyyyyy”

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
1 year ago

Aussies will do this at gatherings/house parties but only after a few drinks

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#18

Leaving your baby alone outside for their nap, even if it rains or snows. (Norway)

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MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
1 year ago

Lithuanian there, was sleeping in balcony straight out of hospital (born at the end of November), this is also very common in Estonia

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#19

Being middle-class with a property having a 6' wall, electric fencing linked to an alarm, automated gate and garage doors (with security clamps over the gate motor to prevent theft of the motor), security gates over every door, burglar bars, and a house alarm system with infra-red sensors linked to armed response with a reaction time of under 3-4 minutes. (South Africa)

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 year ago

Omg that's really scary. Most houses here have purely decorative fences, and nearly always there is a pane of glass near every entry point *sigh*

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#20

We have no sun here. Around this time of year everyone start asking each other "You been taking vitamin D?". It doesn't matter if you're talking about feeling sad, dealing with the flu, or missing limbs... you been taking vitamin D bro? (Canada)

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TheBlackPanda
Community Member
1 year ago

"You been taking vitamin D eh?”

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#21

To get money back when you bring empty plastic bottles to the supermarket. In Germany its called Pfand. Each bottles makes 25 cents.

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Johnnee
Community Member
1 year ago

Same thing in Sweden (pant)

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#22

On Valentine's day, men don't give any gifts. Only women give gifts, they only give it to men, it's always chocolate, and they get it for all the men in their lives, including coworkers. Then there is a day on the 14th of March where the men reciprocate. The gifts are only from men to women this time, and are chocolate or jewelry or nice clothes, and the amount spent is directly related to the amount of chocolate received. (Japan)

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Cat on a bike
Community Member
1 year ago

That is actually brilliant!

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#23

Eating most of the organs of an animal, I had some people look at me in disgust when I told them how tasty the brain and the heart of an animal are (Romania)

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Guido Pisano
Community Member
1 year ago

#sameInItaly

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#24

I think tips are a thing in other countries, but in America you have to tip almost everywhere you eat or you get hardly judged by everyone. And if the tip isn’t big enough, they judge you too. It’s so dumb.

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Jo Choto
Community Member
1 year ago

I used to think it was dumb until I discovered that restaurant workers in the USA get paid as little as $2 an hour and depend on tips to make a living wage. It's a disgusting policy that shouldn't be legal, but until that changes, it's important to tip in the USA.

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#25

People are always shocked at in my country: 1) our “public” restroom stalls are constructed in such a way that you can pretty much see what a person is doing in there thanks to a constant crack between the door and its frame... 2) I say “public” in quotes because most of our so-called public restrooms are in private businesses who don’t let our surprisingly very large number of homeless use and since there is no actual fully public restroom to use, said homeless often piss and sometimes even s**t in our streets. Oh- and we have a higher percentage of our population in jail than literally every single nation on earth. (USA)

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TheBlackPanda
Community Member
1 year ago

The dark side of USA

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#26

Strangers sitting totally naked skin to skin in a steamy room heated to +80 to +100C... and us having competitions on who can last the longest in there. (Finland)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

Some 50 years ago this was unthinkable in Austria but today it's common for strangers to sit naked in a sauna, except for the skin-to-skin part. Even the slightest touching is totally inappropriate.

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#27

In my friend's country, Easter is when gangs of boys roam the countryside, pouring water over girls and beating them (gently) with sticks. The girls then have to thank them for it. I thought that was pretty weird. (Slovakia)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
1 year ago

As soon as the girls beat back (not so gently) this tradition might stop.

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#28

Queuing politely (UK)

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Katchen
Community Member
1 year ago

When I lived in Germany I would wait for my turn behind another customer being served by a cashier, only to have someone else walk right in front of me to be served like I wasn’t even there. Drove me nuts.

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#29

Putting cable ties, branches, fake eyes etc on helmets, buckets and hats in spring time to scare away the birds. Magpies are vicious bastards (Australia)

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
1 year ago

I'm 30+ and I've never been swooped. In fact I used to take refuge from the school bullies underneath the magpie trees because the birds would swoop the bullies but not me.

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#30

Calling a Traffic Light a Robot (South Africa)

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Shawn
Community Member
1 year ago

Lol I learned that from a Die Antwoord music video

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