12 Quintessential American Things People in Other Countries Might Not Get

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American culture has become mainstream thanks to Hollywood movies, but some nuances remain unclear or under the radar. I’m from England, and here are 12 American experiences you might have missed or don’t understand, as shared by one ardent online forum.

Can you think of any others to add to this list?

1. Regional Slang

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Certain slang words have spread throughout Western culture. Popular examples include “cringe,” “dope,” “bae,” and “hype.” In contrast, certain idioms remain exclusive to the region. For instance, depending on where in America you’re based, you may use “pop,” “Coke,” or “soda” to describe the same beverage. “Sneakers,” “slacks,” or “tennis shoes” pose a similar case.

2. Answering Questions With More Questions

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It’s common to answer small talk with another question. For example, some Americans catching up might answer, “How are you?” with “What’s up?” Eventually, they will go into how they’re doing. 

3. Fast Food Attire

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American fast-food outlets have a strange approach to dressing their staff. “Somebody, somewhere, decided that the only appropriate attire for a minimum wage employee should be the same as a drunk socialite playing tennis in the 1930s,” claims one person online.

A drunk ’30s socialite sounds like a cool look for any restaurant!

4. Billboards Everywhere

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“Crazy billboards for the most random stuff, especially in the South,” says a commenter. Others agree, citing billboards for all kinds of weirdness: gun stores posted next to charity ads — even adult toy stores next to religious billboards. Anybody can rent out billboards in America.

5. Random Chats

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I have always enjoyed being in America for this reason. An enthusiastic commenter loves how much Americans “chat up random strangers.” In my native England, chatting to random strangers can go south quickly.

Someone else describes how different Americans are. “Here, people will walk right up to you, tell you they like your jacket, and demand to know where you got it,” they add.

6. Hiker-Friendly Towns

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“The Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail have entire communities and economies built around catering to hikers,” says one outdoor lover. I would add that America’s approach to hiking is first-class. Every state I have visited has remarkable trail networks and outdoor spaces ready for willing adventurers.

7. Tailgating

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This is a wholly American phenomenon, unseen in most European countries. It has much to do with America’s car-happy culture. “I feel like I have never heard of any other nation whose people tailgate,” confirms a sports fan. British soccer fans will meet before a match, but this usually involves standing outside a pub, drinking gallons of beer.

8. Road Tripping

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Nothing depicts America better than the great family road trip. Someone observes how for Americans, the journey takes precedence over the destination. “I would say ‘crossing a vast distance for the heck of it’ is an American thing,” shares a reader.

9. Bumper Stickers

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Several claim their fellow Americans love bumper stickers. However, one person warns them not to export this custom to the U.K. “When I lived in England, we were told not to put bumper stickers on our car because it made our car a target for people who hated Americans!” No disrespect, but where in England did this person live, just so we know?

10. Representing Your Area Code

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“People wear sports apparel to communicate where they’re from more so than to show what teams they support,” suggests an observant sports fan. An outsider replies with their perspective. “When you travel, the bulk of you seem to wear attire indicating where you’re from in some way,” says the European. “Hats or shirts with logos of your local college or sports teams, usually.”

11. Hospitality

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One member is tired of dumb American tropes and generalizations. “So many people have this narrative that Americans are all ignorant and racist,” laments a proud U.S. citizen. “But when they come to America, they discover that we are very kind and considerate people.”

12. New Names

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“People choosing their preferred name,” says someone with a curious reflection. “I’m not talking about nicknames but picking a real name and deciding they like it better than their given name.” I have encountered this several times with American colleagues, and I am still puzzled by it. When I lived in New Mexico, I had an actor friend who changed his name three times in three years.

15 Epic Travel Experiences Around the World People Swear By, Have You Been?

indian holi festival

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The world has no shortage of epic experiences. Every country is ripe with adventure if you have an idea of your interests and are willing to look. For those wondering where to start the search, here are 15 travel experiences people in one online community swear by.

15 Epic Travel Experiences Around the World People Swear By, Have You Been?

15 Dangerous Cities in America You May Reconsider Visiting or Moving To

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA street cars.

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You’re excited about planning a trip or considering moving to a new city. Still, you need to learn more about your destination. So it’s beneficial to keep up-to-date about how safe your chosen location is. We all know cities have their vibe and cool stuff, but there’s also the not-so-fun side of potential risks. Violence and property crimes make up the issues currently facing the following cities.

15 Dangerous Cities in America You May Reconsider Visiting or Moving To

15 Incredible Places in the U.S. You Might Not Have Realized Were UNESCO Sites

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There’s nothing better than discovering there’s even more to a place than you thought. Whether you know it or not, these 15 incredible places in the U.S. are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and all worth visiting.

15 Incredible Places in the U.S. You Might Not Have Realized Were UNESCO Sites

“I Love It Here!” 20 Best Small Towns in America for Your Bucket List

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Are you seeking a respite from the busy and noisy urban lifestyle? Look no further than America’s small towns. From the quaint and charming to the downright quirky, small towns across the country offer unique experiences and attractions. Here are 20 of America’s most famous. Where are you going next?

“I Love It Here!” 20 Best Small Towns in America for Your Bucket List

10 Cities That Hold the Title for “Best Mexican Food” in the U.S.

Street tacos

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Who doesn’t love Mexican food?! Over here, we live for tacos. According to a recent online discussion, here are what people think are the best U.S. cities for Mexican cuisine — in no particular order.

10 Cities That Hold the Title for “Best Mexican Food” in the U.S.

Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.

Source: Reddit

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Ben Rice

1 Comment

  1. Burt Randall on June 29, 2023 at 11:31 am

    Im glad I live in America !!

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