Non-Americans Share “Distinctly American Behaviors” That Make Them Stick Out In Other Countries (18 Posts)


It can be disturbing to think of yourself as belonging to the monolith that is a country, as if being “American” or “Irish” or “Japanese” defines everything about you as a person.

On Reddit, people are sharing the behaviors that they consider distinctly American—and folks, there are some positives and negatives.

From being exceptionally loud to fetishizing Ranch dressing, here are some of the most quintessential American behaviors.

1. Being crazy for condiments

“Taking condiments extremely seriously.” — Sad_Soggy

2. Tipping

“Everyone warned me that in the USA, most eating places expect a tip. But what was uniquely American is that the wait staff are really nice and strike up a pleasant conversation in order to maximise their tip.” — [deleted]

3. Chanting

“Being able to chant ‘USA!’ for no apparent reason.” — Nooeffingway

4. Only using your fork

“When I ate at people’s places or at the dorms they’d use their forks to cut vegetables, lasagna, sausage, pasta, chicken, fish, etc. The only time I saw people using knives was for steak or tough meat. I felt bad having to ask for a knife all the time.” — Melarina

5. Exaggerating

“We exaggerate a million times more than anyone else in the universe.” — CrushHazard

6. Being loud

“Being loud and rowdy when sober seems to be a very American thing. Funny thing is, I’m American and considered a loud person in America. I can only imagine that my voice must sound like a f**king air horn to foreigners.” — NettyTheMadScientist

7. Driving all over creation

“Oh, my aunts and cousins that live 1200 miles away want to see me next weekend? Sure, I’ll pack up the car on Thursday, drive up, and leave Monday night! No big deal at all to us, but my friends in the UK and EU are like ‘wait WHAT? You’re going to DRIVE 1200 miles…and it’s NO BIG DEAL!?'” — TrailMomKat

8. Celebrating everything

“We celebrate every holiday we can get our hands on.” — Cat4thCB

9. Talking to strangers

“Small-talk with strangers.” — holytriplem

10. Hating other Americans

“Hating large groups of Americans. There’s plenty of Anti-American sentiment around the world, but nobody hates Americans more than other Americans who disagree about politics.” — [deleted]

11. Saying “How’s it going?” as a greeting

“Saying ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘how’s it going?’ etc just means ‘hello.’ I’ve noticed non-Americans tend to think this is an invitation for them to share their life troubles while most Americans just use it as a greeting.” — FriendlyLawnmower

12. Paranoia

“Being extremely paranoid about letting your children be alone outside.” — Red580

13. Huge portions

“Enormous portions. Nowhere else serves that much food in one sitting. It’s just insane.” — Snappysnapsnapper

14. Loving ranch dressing

“Lemme just squeeeeze on by you so I can get to that ranch dressing over there.” — axberka

15. Fear of clowns

“The fear of clowns. This is pretty much anecdotal but the fear of clowns seems to be a VERY American thing yet with other countries the reaction goes from ‘meh’ to ‘I guess they’re scary?'” — kholdstare90

16. Thanking the military

“Thanking their military servicemen for their service to the country. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that, just saying that I’ve never seen that happen anywhere else.” — Richard_Darx

17. Dressing comfortably

“There’s little emphasis on public appearance unless your social level calls for it. But most Americans simply dress comfortably, and that’s that.” — LargeSticker

18. Soft smiles

“The soft smiles you give to strangers if you make eye contact while walking past them. Did not go over so well in Germany.” — morazzle

Featured Image: Pexels

Patricia Grisafi

Patricia Grisafi, PhD, is a freelance writer and educator. Her work has appeared in Salon, Vice, Bitch, Bustle, Broadly, The Establishment, and elsewhere. She is passionate about pit bull rescue, cursed objects, and designer sunglasses.

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