British Culture

British culture is itself very unique. One of the most important things to know before going to any country is what their cultural behaviours are.

Of course, you think you have it all covered, you watched all the series of the inbetweeners, tried yorkshire teas and  sniffed a battered mars bar in disgust. However you may have this essential knowledge, but the full experience still holds a lot for you to discover. No matter where you are in the UK, There will be something new you could not have expected.

Some things you need to know about the British public -

  • We are punctual. Being late is quite frankly rude to us. If you’re going to be late to something, at the very least let us know in advance.
  • Never jump queues. Standing patiently and knowing bloody well how to queue in Britain is essential. It's like talking on your phone while riding a train in Japan levels of rude.
  • Personal Space is like oxygen. Keep ya distance, were not like feral or anything we just don't like people near us unless necessary. If you do get close you're a weirdo, end of.
  • We have a high amount of respect for older adults and the disabled. If you are on public transportation, you are expected to give up your seat if someone who is disabled or older comes onto the said mode of transportation. Same if a older person, as well as if you see someone struggling with something, you are also expected to ask ‘You ok hun?’.
  • We are not very animated when we speak. We value our privacy over everything else, so be careful what you ask us because you could be a nosy little flannel. We don't like that!
  • British people often avoid extended eye contact. They find it uncomfortable and intimidating.
  • If you are invited to the house of a Brit, it is normal to bring along a gift, such as a wine that will never be drunk, and thus given to the next person's house the Brit visits.
  • Buy a round.
  • Prepare to argue with people on who pays for things. Gone out to dinner? Ask to pay but don't argue too much. Like, make a point that you ‘Want’ to pay, but don't be pushy about it. Make sense?

These cultural differences will be a regular part of adapting to life in UK, so it’s important to learn them before you even arrive. The last thing you want to do is offend the wrong person in the pub or on the tube.

If you don’t have these things nailed down quick, we will definitely know that you’re from out of town. This knowledge will help you get better adjusted to British norms before you start enjoying the your life becoming just like us! What a terrifying thought….

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Laura G Sweeney - June 12, 2019

I’m an American who descended from British and Irish people. I would say that we have similar expectations in the United States. The main difference is that we get straight to the point when it comes to gathering information. I am amazed to read about the cultural similarities between Brits and Americans of British descent.

Shirley Bruce - June 12, 2019

Hello, I have a friend, Patricia, who moved here to Calgary, Canada with her family in 1981, I met her shortly after. We became fast friends. She didn’t know much about Canada, they came for her husband to get a job, he had dual citizenship. So I took her shopping, taught her about the money etc. We’d laugh all the tome, because of some of the slang words we both had, Well one day I lent her my car, she had to go home and her husband was out of town. Long story short, she ran out of gas, stopped on the road, not used to driving on the right side, didn’t know where anything was in the car, big older model. A policeman stopped and asked her what was wring, She said the car just stopped, I don’t know why. He said put your lights on, but she didn’t know where they were, finally found them. He said open the hood, she didn’t know what that was, (Bonnet) He said I will push you to the gas station, I think you are out of gas. She was terrified, Anyway, he did push her to the pump. But she had no money for gas. She prayed there was enough on the Visa card to get a little gas, But she didn’t know where to put it. No one could figure it out, and she was panicking. Finally someone came along and said look under the license plate. Sure enough, she pumped in some gas, went to pay and thank god there was enough to pay. When she got back, she just looked at me and said “I am going to kill you” Well, when she told the story, in her English Accent, we just died laughing. I didn’t know the gas guage quit working. Her husband ended up owning his own business, and left my friend and his kids, and took off with his secretary. She stayed in Canada, and we have stayed close for 38 years now. Last September she took me to England and we stayed with her sister, who lives in Ampthill, near Luton, for 2 weeks. I had the time of my life. I love History, and the old buildings, etc, They took me everywhere, Flying around those roundabouts, on the left side of the road, scared me. We went to the Isle of Wight, and stayed at her cousin’s Bed and Breakfast, spent a day in London, and toured Buckingham Palace, the Highlight of my life. I loved England, I hope I get the chance to go back. I want to see more. We attended a very old church, and I loved the grocery stores, and Marks and Spencers and the tube train. And of course the Fish and Chips, and Cream cakes. Tea and Scones. I recognize alot of British products from the grocery stores, and what she buys. I always thought it was strange that the eggs in the stores weren’t refrigerated! Would love more English chocolate! My friend is like family to me.!! Everyone in England that I met, asked me what my accent was, I laughed, and said’I don’t have an accent, but they said “oh yes, you do!” Made me laugh!!

David John Phillips - June 12, 2019

Excellent advice, but might I add that we are also, often, sticklers for correctness. Something is either unique, or it is not, it cannot be “very” unique. Also, Yorkshire and Mars have capital letters. Otherwise, keep up the good work!

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