Culture Clash : Things Americans do that Brits hate

To start, let me say that Britain and America are bezzie mates, at least politically. We like you, we really do, I mean we don’t like you as much as your cooler Northern neighbours but that’s a different story. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that this post is purely for fun and nothing is really meant by it. Please still be our friends. 

1. Aggressive patriotism

Now, don’t misunderstand. Most Britons love their country. In fact, patriotism was at an all-time high during the Olympics and the Queen’s jubilee celebrations last year but Americans’ love for their country is a different kettle of fish. The average Brit won’t take kindly to you using phrases such as ‘greatest nation on earth’, ‘God bless, America’ or chanting ‘USA! USA! USA!’ repeatedly. In the States, you see the star-spangled banner hung from every other building. Here, you’ll only find a Union Jack on the beach front of Skegness. Maybe, we’re just jealous of how much pride you have for your country. Or maybe, we still feel a little awkward about the whole ‘Empire’ thing.

Proud… Your love for your country upstages ours.

2. Mispronunciation of UK place names

Get an American to look at these two place names; Leicester and Loughborough and then ask them to pronounce them. They probably will be unable too. While we know they’re pronounced as LES-STER and LUFF-BROH, some and I stress some Americans have been known to refer to them as LAY-SESS-TER and LOO-GUH-BUH-ROO-GUH. I suppose we can’t be too hard on you though, we do like to pronounce things completely differently to how they’re spelt. And in fairness, I’d imagine those from the north-eastern states are quite apt at interpreting the pronunciation of British place names, seeing as we creatively named every bleeding town up there after one of our own.

Sad… I wish everyone knew how to pronounce the name of my hometown

3. Therapy 

Americans love their therapy. They use it liberally and why not? It’s an effective way of raising issues with a mediator to allow all parties the chance to voice concerns. Us Brits don’t understand this, we’re more for repressing our issues and deep-seeded anger and letting it bubble up later in the form of sarcastic quipping.

Open… Even America’s favourite family uses therapy

4. The hatred of ‘Jaywalking’

This is more of a personal one. When I went to America last summer, there was nothing the average pedestrian was called up on more than ‘jaywalking’. For those of you that don’t know; ‘Jaywalking’ is walking to the other side of the street when the road is clear but traffic has not been halted by a red light. In the UK, it is called crossing the road.

Absurd… Americans like to make crossing the road a difficult experience

5. American Sports

People of all nations will be reading this bit and in their head shouting ‘YES!’. We hate your sports and everything about them. We hate the cheerleaders, the pop stars doing the half-time show, the silly commercialised names, I mean what is with the ‘New York Red Bulls’? The local derbies of the MLS are even sponsored by car manufacturers, for goodness sake! We hate the paegantry, sports in the UK are for getting merry and singing amusingly hurtful songs to the other team not for catching a sneak preview of Miley Cyrus’ latest single. We’re driven insane by the fact baseball’s prime competition is called the ‘World Series’ despite the fact all but two of the world’s nations don’t bother to compete. But, most of all we hate what you call ‘football’. You have tainted our favourite creation. This will always be a blip in American-British relationships, one for which we will probably NEVER forgive you.

Pageantry… Brits dislike the showbiz nature of US sports

6. How much you love our accent

At first, we have to admit, it’s very flattering when you compliment us on our accents. In Britain, we aren’t very complimentary to each other’s dulcet tones. But you lot seem to love it – if you head Stateside you’ll be greeted by people asking ‘where is that accent from?’ before they politely pretend to have heard of a small commuter village outside of Huddersfield. But it does go a bit far when you then reel off lists of phrases that you want us to say in ‘British’, which isn’t a language by the way, nor an accent. In fact, some of our accents are as audibly offensive as some of yours. Also, do we always have to be the bad guys in movies? We’re not all evil.

Diverse… For a small country, we have many accents.

7. Geographical ignorance

Again, I think this annoys me more than most Brits. I like to know about geography and I’m sure many of you are very knowledgeable too but a lot of Americans seem to think that London is the be all and end all of old Blighty. You don’t know the names of our counties but I can name all fifty of your states (I’ve done it many times). Maybe, we don’t like that you don’t reciprocate our appreciation of your country’s geography.  Then again, if I’m honest, I’d probably be as ignorant as many of you, if my country had the wonderfully varied landscape yours has. Just know this, at least. We don’t all live in London and whilst we’re on the subject, we’ve never met the Queen either.

Ignored… There are more places in the UK than London

8. Taking credit for others work

Americans and Brits have learnt to avoid certain topics of conversation over the years and at the top of that list are the events of World War II. A tip for all of you, never say to a Briton that you ‘saved our ass in World War II’ or that we’d ‘be speaking German now if it wasn’t for you’. We appreciate your help and over the years, we’ve been great allies to each other but Brits see these sorts of comments as a huge mark of disrespect to our armed forces. We also don’t really appreciate your tardiness in said events either but hey ho. Another thing that grinds our gears is when the American flag appears next to the ‘English’ option on a language selector – we would probably settle for the bisecting half-flags of the States and the UK but ignore our flag altogether and we are not amused.

Irritating… It was our language first

9. Your chocolate

I think you’ll agree with us – our chocolate is better than yours. In honesty, ours isn’t even that good but at least it’s not Hershey’s! I’m not being melodramatic here, I once tasted a Hershey’s kiss and it tasted like vomit. Chocolate stateside generally tastes burnt and bland, not velvety smooth and sweet like we’re used to over here. Many Brits were actually appalled when Kraft bought Cadbury’s a few years back, I was simply happy for you.

Vile… There’s a reason they’re shaped like turds.

10. Your spelling

No surprises here. We hate the way you spell words. Why do you hate the letter ‘U’ and why do you love Zs (Zeds) so much? If we’re honest, this is one of the few reasons we prefer Canada. Although, they’ve fallen victim to your movement for excessive usage of the alphabet’s 26th letter, they at least know how to spell ‘centre’ eh?

Different… Americans have mutated the English language.

11. Your interest in our dental hygiene

Our teeth are not that bad. Yes, some of us have some dental issues but we’re not that bothered. You seemed to be more concerned about the alignment of our gnashers than we are! We care more about bad breath. I’m not really sure where this stereotype started – I for one don’t know anyone with horrible teeth. Maybe you’ve been watching too much of the Jeremy Kyle show? In fact, speaking of trashy talk shows, we get the Jerry Springer show here, we know your teeth aren’t always perfect either!

False… I don’t mean the teeth

12. Your politeness

Okay, we don’t actually dislike this, it just baffles us. It genuinely confuses the average Briton when in the US, a stranger stops to say hello or help you take a picture or carry something. When Americans in restaurants or shops are polite and compliment us for being good customers, or if any American compliments us in general, we immediately think to scour your face for traces of sarcasm and when we find nothing, our brains nearly explode. Your politeness is so wonderfully genuine that our overly cynical mindset simply cannot cope.

Okay… Google thinks this is a picture of ‘friendly Americans’

That completes my list. I hope nobody was too offended and thus, I invite any American to do the same thing for us Britons – we love to put ourselves down.

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33 thoughts on “Culture Clash : Things Americans do that Brits hate

  1. Great article and very funny! Particularly agree with the last point. Some Americans are so pure-white polite and nice without an agenda that it comes across as very unsettling to us cynical Brits who are used to either taking the piss out of the people we like or just generally being rude to those we don’t!

    • Lelia says:

      It is a very wonderful article. I’m American, and I’ve lived in the UK for eleven years now. I was taught from a very young age to be polite and meticulous about it, to be hospitable and to catch myself if I was rude and apologise (note the correct British spelling!). When I came to this country, I had no idea what ‘taking the piss’ was, and even my British husband was amazed at my utter lack of interest in being rude. I’m not saying I am nice all of the time, I’m not. But I try never to be deliberately rude or sarcastic. I sometimes leave work wondering ‘what’s wrong with me?’ :(

  2. Absolutely in love with number 4 and 12. You’re cheekiness is brilliant!

  3. Travis Stickney says:

    This just confirms why some Americans can’t stand the haughtiness of brits.

    • I’m sorry, you couldn’t recognise that this was purely tongue in cheek and not motivated by snobbery nor malice.

      • Lelia says:

        Unfortunately, I have lived with some of what Travis has said. It would be wrong to tarnish every British person with the same brush. But I could both laugh and cry at what you have written.

  4. AmyT says:

    Some of these could also be called “things Americans do that other Americans hate” :)

  5. Van N says:

    I liked you list. I would argue ‘we’ (Americans) spell the words correctly versus the way the Brits do. One thing that is better in the US – we have better food (and I am not referring to McDonalds and Burger King). I am curious, as a Brit, who is Britain ‘closer’ to? The US? Or another European country?

    • I would argue that that claim is ludicrous! English people spell words correctly because the language is ours! Your food is probably better but neither of our countries’ cuisines are particularly great! There’s quite a lot of cultural mismatch with the rest of Europe. Culturally we are much closer with the big six nations of the Anglosphere. Politically, we are closest to the United States and Canada, without question.

  6. Lelia says:

    I think you are wrong about American food and British food, even if it is ‘tongue in cheek’, lol. I’ve eaten food from other cultures that has been as it is originally prepared by the culture in question, and ‘Americanized’ and ‘Anglicised versions of that same food.

    For instance, as a kid I have eaten Americanized Italian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, Thai food, Greek food and even British food (our version of toad in the hole I ate in my high school cafeteria was good, but not as good as here). As a young adult living in New York City, I experienced dishes made by people of these cultures, and living here in the UK, I’ve eaten English versions of most of these. I’ve even had Anglicised American food, which is sometimes very good and sometimes not quite right.

    From my ‘vast’ (or not so vast) experience, I can say that the quality of food depends on the quality of the cook. I love English roast dinners, with those wonderfully crispy roast potatoes that we don’t generally do in the US, but I also love our pot roasts, which have the same meat and veg but are prepared differently. I love that part of every really British Christmas dinner has Brussels sprouts, something I would never eat as a kid but now I enjoy very much.

    The only US food I like better than its UK counterpart is applesauce. For us, it is as much a dessert as cake or jelly, whereas here it is mostly a side sauce for pork (and yes, it is used that way in the States as well). However, I love UK apples. :P

  7. Nawila Orsad says:

    THANK YOU! YOURE SOO RIGHT ABOUT AMERICAN BLIND PATRIOTISM AND THEIR STUPID SPORTS! Americans hate football because they cant play it. Nobody but americans care for their dumb “superbowl”! its soo dumb that they need to bring in singers during half time so people dont fall asleep
    and you should of added their ignorant racial classifications due to their slavery history.

  8. Vicky says:

    Too much strong sentence, but mark my words even after 50 or 100 years from now USA will be superpower, the naked fact is USA has more cultural diversity and they mean what they say not like a Brit pretentious conversation and formalities. No offence Brits. As far as food is concerned I am Indian and my friends who are studying ar Princeton and NJIT tells you name the food it and they have it, this may differ person to person. The fact is American history is just less than 300 years old and to become and maintain a status of superpower is an MARVEL in itself. USA is self build, brave and challenge the unseen. Britaiin despite looting numerous nations on the planet with their greed look where it stands todays. Look at the engineering projects in USA and in UK. How can people even compare GIANT will goat. Just wiki the info of these two nations. I agree BEING A GREAT NATION COMES GREAT challenges and difficulties. This continent has different time zone what about UK? Wake up!!

    • Delusions of grandeur. Your time zone argument is simply laughable. This was tongue in cheek but thanks for proving the national arrogance point. You are a world power. Not THE world power. And while we’re talking facts. America was a nation built on massacre and is a hive of homicide even today. For a Western country, the United States is nowhere near as socially progressive as the UK, Canada etc. It is you that needs to wake up, and realise America is beset with flaws and this post was purely for fun. I love the American people. Not as much as Canadians – obviously.

  9. Megan says:

    Hello,
    My apologies to inform you that part of this is wrong. You’re saying Americans are polite. As a Canadian, and I’m sorry to say, they are not polite. In fact we baffle them with our kindness.

    • Lelia says:

      As I said in an earlier post, I’m an American who has lived in the UK since 2002. Like every country, we have great numbers of Americans who were brought up to be polite, and great numbers who were not, or who have decided to push away the politeness they were brought up with. I have met Canadians who were very polite, and Canadians who were not. I’m not sure any nationality should be ‘painted with a broad brush’. I love the UK, Canada, and the US, and I like being around people who are polite. I’m sorry for every American who has ever been impolite to people from other countries.

    • Zachary says:

      Ironically your comment is very impolite.

  10. The Sheriff says:

    Another “look at me” amateur blogger. Not a single ounce of wit and poorly written. Stick to working in Sainsbury’s or whatever minimum wage job you have, writing is clearly not your talent

    • Ironically, I didn’t seem to find a trace of wit in that comment either and I’d certainly contend that I’m better at writing than you are at trolling. Why do you hate yourself?

  11. Siba says:

    I agree with nearly all of the points made. Seriously, what’s with the spelling ‘aluminum’? It hurts my brain and ears hearing Americans pronounce aluminium incorrectly.

  12. wbingham07 says:

    This post was great. I think a lot of Americans would agree with many of the points you make about our own country. Yes, there are the bog standard ones you mention (i.e. London representing all of England/UK), but there are some that get under our skin, as well. I now live in the UK and having come from one of the Southern states, there are many sentiments expressed in this article that would apply to the North towards the South. In other words, Yankees (which means those who were not confederates during the civil war) would be baffled by the South’s innate politeness. There are also many Americans, myself included, that are baffled by our own sense of extreme patriotism (often what I refer to as ‘blind patriotism’). To be from a country and to love a country does not mean you have to plaster it all over the shop. However, and even though I detest American Football, Cricket is a severe mystery to many countries that are outside the commonwealth. Also, the game you guys call ’rounders’ is a confused version of Baseball; and whether you invented it or not, it is much easier to follow now that it’s Baseball. But you’ve got me on Basketball (even though I see loads of BBall courts around now!), Football and ‘Soccer’. Job well done.

  13. Machine says:

    Brits were always nice to me overseas except for a few, but that could be any race. But, I had problems with these American Army dudes in Germany.My own countrymen wanted to kill me. Yet, the Germans in the bar took my side and was ready to die fighting for me. They tore up those Army guys, and it was a nice bar fight.

    I hated London and the UK. It rained a lot and the food was horrible. The indian food was yummy, though. It was so boring in the UK. I had more fun in mainland Europe. Rome and Athens were breathtaking.

    • John J says:

      You hated London because it rained all of the time? Just look at our position on a world map – Longitudinally, we are equal to the middle of Russia and Canada. This country is cold…and wet. To expect anything else is ignorant on your part. To say that the UK is boring, although clearly only your opinion, is also very unfair. I assume that you considered Rome and Athens breathtaking due to their ancient architecture? Clearly you didn’t visit Stonehenge…that is 4000 years old. Ironically (considered that you liked Rome so much yet hated the UK) there are a number of buildings / ruins in this country dating back to the Roman Empire. The UK is not boring, you just have to know where to look.

  14. Machine says:

    I have a list of things I hate about the British:

    Most Brits have an American inferiority complex. True Story. Stephen Fry talks about this a lot. And most British media utlets agree. Even ex PM Gordon Brown agreed.
    Brits are too patriotic. come on, fly the Union Jack couch pillows are alittle too much.
    Brits try to emulate French fashion.
    British hypocrites. I mean it’s okay to hate American, but using Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twiter, Microsoft, and watching American movies sort of makes you a hypocrite.
    The constant reminder of the British empire. We know you had the largest Empire. But, we also know you’re the biggest empire that ever fell.

    • Anonymous says:

      “I mean it’s okay to hate American, but using Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twiter, Microsoft, and watching American movies sort of makes you a hypocrite”

      Did you know that the only reason all websites are possible is because of the World Wide Web, which was created by a British man?

      There would be no Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or any other website in existence if it wasn’t for this British man’s (Tim Berners Lee) invention.

      If you hate British people so much, why do you use the World Wide Web?
      Why are you on a Web browser as a Web client, viewing Web pages that are stored on Web servers?

      I’m sure you Americans have stolen numerous British shows and you Americans love Doctor Who and Sherlock, when the licence fee for the BBC comes out of the pocket of the British public.

      Aren’t you people the ones that are obssessed with British TV and your girls are obssessed with One Direction?

      So, by your logic, does that mean Atheists should drop out of uni and quit getting a degree because it was Muslims that created degree-granting universities? Or Atheist scientists should stop conducting physics experiments because a Muslim scholar from the 10th century took it to the practical stage? Do we all stop drinking coffee because it is thought to be invented by Muslims and should we stop using cameras because the same Muslim scholar/physicist that took physics to the experimental stage, also discovered the camera obscura phenomenon, which influenced modern develolment of cameras? Should doctors quit using surgical instruments because some were invented by Muslims. Also, should we quit going to hospitals for treatment because it was by Muslims?

      The last one is funny because a patriotic American thought Benjamin Franklin invented the hospital.

      Another patriotic American thought that Bill Gates was a founding father.

      And another one was when another patriotic American said: “Somebody Tried To Tell Me There Was 50 States In America. Nuh Uh Cause The Scientists Found Out That Pluto Dont Exist. We Got 49 Dumbass.”

      That’s all…

    • John J says:

      An American telling us Brits that we fly our flag too much? That is just priceless. I went to New York a few years back, and I thought I’d stepped into a US Army military base….the Stars and Stripes were hanging from EVERY building. It was frankly ridiculous, and actually made me feel a little uncomfortable. In terms of an Inferiority Complex – I agree, up to a point. We Brits are still a little annoyed that the US usurped us on the world stage as the pre-eminent superpower….insult added to injury by the fact that we failed to keep parts of America as a colony within our empire in the first place. That said, the USA as a nation has achieved remarkable things to develop itself as a nation within such a relatively short amount of time, adn I think we appreciate that. As for the Microsoft, Facebook etc. argument……pretty much look at the response from Anonymous for the British view on that. I’ll see your Gates and Zuckerberg, and raise you Tim Berners-Lee. and Alan Turing (in case you don’t know who he is, he basically invented the modern computer / computer science as we know it today – without him, there would be nothing.)

  15. Penguino says:

    This is a smashing article, what! No seriously, all of these are very true. As an American who has had the privilege of a lot of international experience and friendship, I can vouch for all of these. Only an Englishman could put so much sarcastic love into such an article, though. Not a trace of bitterness. Very spot-on.

  16. Bill Malcolm says:

    Speaking as a Canadian who has visited the US many times, I can say it is with a large breath of relief when I get back into Canada. Their food and coffee is particularly atrocious, and ours isn’t that great to begin with.

    Then there is the uber patriotism. Americans sometimes, though not often, ask you what you think of their place compared to home, and if you say you prefer home, are amazed. They are thoroughly brain-washed. The next comment is usually something to the effect that they could whip us with one hand tied behind their back. It’s all power and one-upmanship.

    Regarding geography, they don’t even know their own, let alone worrying about anywhere else. As a nation of local navel-gazers, they are only interested nationally ifhey are still number 1.

    I do enjoy a great deal of Northern New England, it’s the most open and they can actually laugh at themselves, unique in my travels south of the border, plus they can pronounce Worcester, unlike the rest of the USA and Canada.

    Travelling to England and Scotland, I do enjoy. No problems with Canadians and a lot of good-natured ribbing. Other than an inability to properly cook veggies, the food is fine as well, except in London, although I do not inhabit high end restaurants.

    Finally, open up a copy of the OED and learn to properly spell words like organize. It’s ize, not ise. It has been a source of great amusement to me over the years to observe the split between common usage and the so-called authority. Now if the average Brit knew that the plural of anything is not the word with an apostrope s, but merely the word with an added s, things would be really great.

    I mean: word’s fail me!

    • It was going so well until you misspelt ‘organised’ ;)

      • Kevin says:

        Some language differences that reay piss me off:

        Wanking = Jerking
        Arsehole = Asshole
        Cuntface = George Bush
        Bugger = no translation
        Fag = Cigarette
        Path = a fucking ‘SIDE WALK’??
        - why the hell is it called that?
        Torch = Flashlight
        (They’re usually constant not flashing)
        And the reason US chocolate is so disgusting is its madd for the whole country where from Alaska to Death Valley, CA there are lots of temperature variants – so it has all sorts of disgusting stuff to keep it solid in ultra hot temperatures, hence not tasting of “milky chocolate”.. And US tv is crap, too many ultra long tacky comercials to be enjoyable

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