It's always interesting to travel around the world and experience different cultures and traditions that may differ from what you believe to be the "norm". And even though most of the time these cultural differences spark nothing more but a delightful surprise, there are some characteristics that are difficult for people to wrap their heads around.

Have you ever thought that there are things that only your country does but seems that everybody else doesn't really understand it at all? Well, according to this askredit thread, those living in America definitely have this problem. After getting asked "What is something you didn't realize was typical American stereotype until you went abroad?", people flooded the post with an endless list of customs that only in America are considered to be normal. From garbage disposals and free public bathrooms to extreme portion sizes, there are some strictly American things.

Scroll down to read these answers and funny stereotypes, and don't forget to share your delightful cultural differences in the comments!

#1

The prices abroad don't add tax after the fact. You pay what the price shows. No need to figure the tax. Dumb that we do that here.

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Ryo Bakura
Community Member
1 year ago

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Not the only dumb thing you do. The Simpsons should have ended 20 years ago! What's wrong with you people?

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#2

Being "friendly" to an extent. I checked in at a hostel and walked into the lounge area where people from all over the world were just chilling. I kinda introduced myself to the whole room, and someone goes, "you're from the states, yeah?" And I'm like, "yeah howd you know?" They said, "only an American will walk into a room of strangers and introduce themselves to everybody."

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...
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1 year ago

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Sucks that people only want to be friendly if they're from America.

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#3

When I went to Australia I found out very quickly that no one down there "roots" for a team - they "go for" a team. So when I said I root for the Red Sox I got a lot of weird looks

(Rooting means fucking in Australian)

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

I never say I root for a team, but then again I'm not really into sports

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#4

Sugar. When I visited Japan, even some of their sweetest desserts pale in comparison to how much sugar is in American food.

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Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
1 year ago

That is why we are a nation of fat lazy diabetics.

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#5

How fat we are. Like, I know we are when compared to the rest of the world. But it made me realize what I think is fat in the US, is grossly obese in Europe. And what's not-fit, but not-fat in the US, is fat is Europe.

There are some hamhogs over there but my god, returning home was an eye opener.

At least we don't smoke as much, I guess.

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

Smoking is an appetite suppressant...just saying.

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#6

The stereotype about us being loud is true. I never thought of myself as being loud until I went abroad and would hang up the phone after speaking in what I thought was appropriate volume to find everyone around me was staring at me, and realized how much more quiet they were lol whoops

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Luca Giordano
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

hahaha...yup...

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#7

Measuring walking/driving distance in blocks.



It's the unit of measure I use most frequently when giving directions - the restaurant is 3 blocks away, go south one block and then two blocks west, I live six blocks from the grocery store...



It wasn't until I studied abroad in England and got a complete blank look when I asked someone how many blocks away the library was that I realized using "block" as a measurement only makes sense in cities that were largely pre-planned and built on grid system. AKA: not many places outside the US.

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Eunice Probert
Community Member
1 year ago

You have to remember that many town in Europe are actually quite ancient, far older than the USA.

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#8

Red plastic cups for parties. So much so that people outside US use them as an accessory to American themed parties.

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KarmaQueen
Community Member
1 year ago

They seem to be every where now.

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#9

Ok, so, this one is probably pretty obvious, and looking back on it it’s really embarrassing. My family took a European vacation when I was 17. For some reason, we decided to get KFC in the UK. (Because ‘Murica.)

My friend who came with us went with me to order and pick up our order. We ordered a family size bucket of chicken, and they asked us what kinds of side dishes we wanted. We said “Biscuits.” And the employees looked at us with the strangest look.

UK KFC: “You want . . . biscuits with your chicken?” Me: “Yes. Biscuits.” UK KFC: “We don’t sell those.” Me: “What do you mean you don’t sell biscuits. What are your sides?” UK KFC: “Chips?” Me: “You mean French fries? Ok fine. That’ll do.”

I was worldly enough to know that “chips” meant “French fries”, but “biscuits” in the UK are cookies. My fat ass tried to order fried chicken and cookies. I am positive someone over in the UK is still telling this story at parties as an example of how disgusting Americans are.

Also on this same trip my father asked why our waitress kept saying “cheese”, when she was saying “cheers”. We really left a good impression across the pond.

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Crouching_Penn_Hidden_Teller@yahoo.com
Community Member
1 year ago

the closest you get in the UK to an American biscuit is a scone but I don't know if Kentucky fried chicken in the UK sells scones, I didn't go to the Colonel when I was there.

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#10

Small avocados.

Went to puerto rico. Was like, ‘yo ill have like 6 of those stuffed avocados’. Buddy was like, ‘yo gringo, i think you underestimate the size of our avocados here. Just have one and ill being you more if you want after’.

I had half of one. It was like a football.

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Nini Meow
Community Member
1 year ago

We don't have avocados 😅

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#11

Here in the States, pregnancy announcements/reveals/baby showers are mainstream but it's generally a BIG no-no to bring it up in Kenya. My mom found out the hard way. Essentially, asking someone when the baby is due is the equivalent of asking the person "when did you and your husband fuck?" which is considered EXTREMELY rude. The lady my mom asked was gracious about it but said "If we were not such good friends I would have slapped you!"

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Crouching_Penn_Hidden_Teller@yahoo.com
Community Member
1 year ago

A guy from Pakistan I had just met asked me why I wasn't married. I told him in the US that's a rude question. His immediate response was to ask me again!

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#12

Garbage disposals in sinks.

When I moved to the UK, my flatmates asked how in movies people would stick their hands in the sink drain and it be ripped apart. I told them about garbage disposals and they were very weirded out.

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

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I think a garbage disposal is an essential item in a kitchen. I'd rather throw away scraps down the disposal instead of the trash. It helps with the smell and prevention of flies.

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#13

Having your drink constantly refilled at restaurants. I just wanna drink a ton of water alright?

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Jo Smith
Community Member
1 year ago

I don't understand. Are you complaing that they give you water? Or complaining that they give you something else but you want water?

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#14

Buying stuff and the cashier putting your items in a plastic or paper bag. Went to Germany, and found it strange they don't bag your items. Everyone just brings their own bag or dumps their stuff in a back pack.

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Crouching_Penn_Hidden_Teller@yahoo.com
Community Member
1 year ago

I live in northern California and a lot of people here do that.

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#15

Root beer is apparently disgusting and an offense to most of the worlds palate.

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Panda Bae
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah I could not live like that. My diet is 87% root beer.

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#16

I moved to England from Texas about six years ago. One of the major things that I noticed was that smiling and being friendly towards strangers was considered bizarre. This is a bit true in any metropolitan area, but especially in the UK. In Texas I was used to smiling at people, asking for directions if I needed them, and being friendly towards strangers. I learned very quickly that smiling at someone on the tube, or asking someone for directions on the street immediately makes someone think you’re trying to scam/rob them or you’re crazy.

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Crouching_Penn_Hidden_Teller@yahoo.com
Community Member
1 year ago

what happens if you need directions?

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#17

Ranch flavor Doritos in the Netherlands are called "Cool American" flavor.

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Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
1 year ago

Hahaha.. the only time 'muricans are cool overseas.

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#18

Keeping AC on 100% of the time in the summer.

Visited Madrid for about a month to see the exchange student we housed, and found that they typically only turn on AC at Night to sleep or when it reaches a damned 105 deg F.

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Daric Apai (Darquestar1)
Community Member
1 year ago

I am American and I do the same, well okay I turn it on at 90.

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#19

Massively wide roads/lanes. The whole of Ireland made me feel claustrophobic, but when I got back home the roads felt like way too much wasted space.

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KarmaQueen
Community Member
1 year ago

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I do not know if I would like to drive on a road that does not allow for movement of the car.

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#20

Going out to a restaurant. In America, you are seated ASAP, and then they bring you drinks, appetizers, entree, desert and then check as quick as they possibly can (if it's good service) for a total time of 45 minutes to an hour and a halfish. Staying past this time is seen as a bit rude. In Europe, going out to eat seemed to be more of an event that you slowly enjoyed for a longer period of time. First, they you bring you drinks and an appetizer for the first hour. Then the second hour is the entree and desert. Then it's more drinks for another half hour or so. I don't know if it's because we were American but it seemed like the wait staff everywhere we went was annoyed that we were rushing them, when we just thought it was bad service and didn't understand the routine.

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...
Community Member
1 year ago

Who has 5 hours to spend at a restaurant?

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#21

Road trips...at least just jumping in the car and driving a few hours without giving it much thought. I live in a large western state and it seems at least every other weekend my family and I were in the car traveling for a few hours to see some site, go into Mexico or another state.

I have relatives in Switzerland and they were going to drive us to the Frankfurt airport and I was blown away how big of a deal it was to them. My uncle had the car inspected, shopped around for gas, and printed off travel and weather reports. All for a trip my dad would have said "hey lets do this this weekend, in the car kids!"

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Kate Local
Community Member
1 year ago

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no - your relatives were just weird. you think noone else in the world visit other towns, states, countries & places? in europe you can literally drive 5 hours and go through 2 other countries. its awesome.

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#22

Having plenty of *FREE* bathrooms around for the public to use.

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Crouching_Penn_Hidden_Teller@yahoo.com
Community Member
1 year ago

A lot of public places in the US will not let people use the bathrooms.

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#23

I doubt this is restricted to America in any way, but when I studied abroad in the UK, the lack of public drinking laws was a bit of a culture shock. Being able to walk outside with a bottle of beer was very freeing

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

Have you been to Las Vegas?

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#24

I was struck by the extent to which nobody talks to strangers in northern Europe ... Even in big cities in the US, people will talk to each other sometimes in line, on the subway, etc. Not deep conversations, but it isn't weird to make casual conversation.

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C Bragg
Community Member
1 year ago

Maybe I was born in the wrong country, I hate small talk and I don't smile at strangers.

Bored Fox
Community Member
1 year ago

Move to Finland. Here people only talk to the people they know. And often also then it is OK to not speak anything if you don't want to.

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Adriana-Ioana Stanciu
Community Member
1 year ago

I think we europeans find americans kind of fake when they smile at everybody and anything.

Marcia Horn
Community Member
1 year ago

I’m American and I smile a lot. I’m genuinely happy, why is that hard to believe?

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Nordlys
Community Member
1 year ago

This is my favorite thing about living in northern Europe. I don't have to make small talk with strangers. I get to be left alone to read my book, or listen to my music and have my peaceful downtime without anyone accusing me of being unfriendly or anti social or not a people person for not wanting to interract.

Enuya
Community Member
1 year ago

Yes! There are many things in my country which I don't like but what I love is that I do not feel obliged to talk to other people.

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Daria Z
Community Member
1 year ago

Same in Russia. It's ok if you ask a stranger for directions or help, but a 'casual conversation' is likely to make people annoyed.

N S
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

shallow meaningless small talk, who needs that shit? mind your own business and get on with it.

felixreychman
Community Member
1 year ago

Only complete loonies make small talk to strangers in Scandinavia. Literally. Only people with severe psychological issues...

Andreas Wærholm
Community Member
1 year ago

Or drunk people

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Noez 🇸🇪
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah don't fkn talk to me.

Petra Schaap
Community Member
1 year ago

I love this about the US

MomaBear
Community Member
1 year ago

I chat to people in question/trains/supermarkets It’s not that unisual. Some towns in uk have more arse holes than others though maybe? 😆😆

Calypso poet
Community Member
1 year ago

My husband and I are both people persons and my mom thinks we’re crazy because almost everywhere we go we end up in a conversation with a stranger. We meet so many interesting people. Even if we never see them again it’s nice to speak to people from all walks of life. Grocery shopping is like a social trip for us. Maybe it’s because we laugh a lot so people feel comfortable around us.

DP von Icecream
Community Member
1 year ago

Mostly the same for Dutch people (especially in the larger cities) people like to mind their own business.

Christie Wilson
Community Member
1 year ago

How is smiling at someone minding their business? It's not like they are asking deeply personal questions. Sounds like a sad and lonely place to live.

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Victoria Rey Piuma
Community Member
1 year ago

Yes but we like deep conversations or at least save our inane commentary for friends and neighbours andacquaintances

David Jeu
Community Member
1 year ago

That's something i like with Americans, They like to chat. North or south amercians actually.

Derek Giroulle
Community Member
1 year ago

fins norwegians the scottish isles and england have this behaviour, they will observe you, (especially when you look like a(n american) tourist, they'll look violated when you speak to them , or smile at them... but when you get to know them they are friendly under that cold shell... in the rest of europe things are much more relaxed especially in cities ... the countryside is another matter but thats mainly a language matter people will talk to you in english , farmers often don't speak foreign languages

Francis Maxwell
Community Member
1 year ago

Try Scotland ! We talk to each other, as do most rural dwellers in the UK ! It's just the cityfolk that don't !!

Ian Bodey
Community Member
1 year ago

You haven’t been to Liverpool have you, we even talk to americans......lol

HoffLensMetalHedLovesAnimalsUK
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah small talk is for when you have a collective annoyance, like you are all waiting for a bus and its late or something or a drunk is being a idiot on the street and you all laugh and call him names together. Small talk is not really an everyday thing for us, we keep ourselves to ourselves unless for a good reason.

Abbi Rouse
Community Member
1 year ago

I hate that! I'm happy to talk to anyone and everyone. Often I'll have to make the first move, but usually people will join in once they realise you're just being friendly. Only in London have I found some people look at you like dirt if you attempt to make small talk. Such a shame.

david k
Community Member
1 year ago

Come to Yorkshire...everybody will talk to you

Tara B
Community Member
1 year ago

I need to move out of the US then cause I hate small talk and smiling when not needed.

Corinne Hooker
Community Member
1 year ago

I really missed that when I lived in Paris. It felt so lonely. There was a waiter at my favorite café who would chat with me, but that was really only because he was fascinated by Americans 😂

Michelle Cipriano
Community Member
1 year ago

I had a British tour guide in the UK who told us he could always tell a group of Americans by our “white, shark smiles.” I told him this was just another reason why we rebelled.

Ann Abdelzaher
Community Member
1 year ago

It's funny I am a small talk and smiles person ...but I just realized I don't do that when over seas unless I know I am talking with fellow Americans.

Debbie
Community Member
1 year ago

i guess it's also HOW you talk, I chat with lots of strangers and they seem happy to participate

Terry Jackson
Community Member
1 year ago

While in Sweden, I stepped off the curb of a small street and then stepped back as a car approached. My Swedish friend reassured me that I was safe, because I was in the crosswalk. In America, I would make eye contact with the driver before I walk into a crosswalk.

StinkyMonkey
Community Member
1 year ago

It really depends on where you go. In Amsterdam people will look at you strangely if you smile at them, but in a smaller place like Gouda or Deventer people will chat to you randomly. I think it's fairly similar in the US, when I was in NY the people were so extremely rude. You just can't really generalise.

Jilltdcatlady
Community Member
1 year ago

Odd how that happened when large cities(and certain rural areas as Va., N.C., S,C.) were populated by European immigrants. I mean, somewhere along the way, the " keep to oneself " mantra turned into "everyone is my neighbor".

Estefani Licea Madrigal
Community Member
1 year ago

Ugh I hate small talk in the US is too much that it feels like people are fake

Cindy Harrison
Community Member
1 year ago

#2, 18 and 21 are exactly the same thing 🤦‍♀️

A.Armos
Community Member
1 year ago

It IS weird to talk to strangers. In the UK they used to have ads on the side of buses (probably aimed at children) saying "Don't talk to strangers!"

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#25

How large grocery stores are here. My wife is not american and we lived in China and were in HK all the time... they had large international stores that were great and she didnt really grasp the size of american grocery stores till our first week in the USA and there's 150 feet of cereals on one aisle

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TwiceRice23
Community Member
1 year ago

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I mean, it's China. Of course the stores aren't going to have the selection we do. That's communism for you.

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#26

S’mores. I was in New Zealand having a bonfire on the beach and someone went and grabbed a bag of marshmallows and then everyone just ate them??! By themselves?! And someone from Sweden asked me if s’mores were a real thing or only on tv. I was flabbergasted.

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

I hope you introduce it to them and changed their lives.

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#27

My British friend makes fun of me for how much cheese I use in my cooking.

Doesn't stop her from inhaling my potato casseroles, but there you go.

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KarmaQueen
Community Member
1 year ago

My husband would be in heaven. He always says "the more cheese the better."

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#28

I am not American but visit the U.S alot and I tell you,almost all Americans has this habit of giving the 'half smile look' to anyone,that is not just normal anywhere else

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

It's that or go out of the way to avoid eye contact which to me is weird

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#29

24 hour stores.

It's weird not being able to buy random sh*t at 4am...

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Christina Sersif
Community Member
1 year ago

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They don't have them there or they do? They need to be more specific on their post. There's plenty of 24 hour stores in the US

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#30

At a buffet in Germany, I had to pay for ketchup

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Veronica Vatter
Community Member
1 year ago

Did you have to pay for mustard too?

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