10 Things That Brits Don’t Realize Are Offensive to Americans

Ricky Gervais makes good money offending everyone in sight, but if you just want to make friends and not alienate people in America, here are 10 things to avoid. (Rex Features via AP Images)

Admit it Britishers — subtly is not our strong suit, and it’s alarmingly easy to insult Americans if you’re unaware of their etiquette.  To get on in polite company, try to avoid the following faux pas.

Folks here tend to dismiss cursing as coarse and vulgar whereas, for Brits, it can signify affection or a well-rounded sense of humor. I have to confess, I don’t even notice how much I swear anymore — it must be getting on for every other word.

Sex talk and toilet humor
Like swearing, discussing what goes on between the sheets or on the loo is a lot less common among friends in the U.S. I only get to talk toilet trash when I’m back in the U.K., where I’ll happily spend an evening necking a full-bodied Rioja and discussing orifices.

Criticizing America
It’s easy to assume that a self-hating American would love nothing more than to spend time with you, a non-American, pulling the place apart. Most, however, do possess a lingering sense of loyalty and will resent an outsider weighing in too heavily.

Calling them “Yanks”
The “Y” word won’t offend every American you meet, but never use it to address folks from the South. There, it’s likely to earn you a stern look or a full-on snarl.

Stingy tipping
Not only will you insult your server by leaving slim pile of ones as thanks for a dinner that’s run into three figures, you’ll embarrass any American diners in your party. If you’re the person picking up the check, never stint on service unless everyone at your table agrees that the experience was shoddy enough to merit a tiny tip.

Friendly-offensive banter
Brits exchange jovial insults because we’re too uptight and emotionally stunted to say how we really feel. The stronger your friendship, the more you can lay into each other and still come away with a warm feeling. This is not how Americans roll. Tell your U.S. pal he’s a moron, a twat or a daft f***, and you likely won’t get invited to his wedding.

Mocking their heritage
When an American announces that they’re part Irish, part Polish and part Moldovan because their great-great-grandparents hailed from these far-off lands, you might find yourself snorting dismissively. Try to hold off until they’re out of earshot.

Saying Americans are unsophisticated
Even if you’re standing in line at Disney World, slurping a bucket of Pepsi and thinking, “My, this is country is a cultureless void,” don’t voice it publicly.  After all, you’re the one who bought the swimming pool-size soda and a ticket to a theme park rather than, say, the Guggenheim.

British reserve
When foreigners meet us, we’re not always warm and cuddly. Americans in particular can take this the wrong way. Looking startled and responding monosyllabically to a stranger’s “Hi! How are you today?” will be perceived as rude.

Criticizing their food
Declaring that American cuisine begins with burgers and ends with cheeseburgers will be considered hostile, even if your U.S. audience secretly agrees with you.

What are some etiquette tips for foreigners on American soil? Tell us below:

Ruth Margolis

Ruth Margolis

Ruth is a British freelance journalist who recently swapped east London for Brooklyn. She writes about TV for Radio Times and is working on her first novel.
View all posts by Ruth Margolis.
  • Christina

    Just remember that America is big and each State has different customs and quirks. A person from New Hampshire and one from Texas can be a different as oil and water. Would a Londoner appreciate being called Scottish? Probably not, unless they were Scottish.

    • Kelly

      This seems true, until that person from New Hampshire visits London and in their travels finds a Texan. At that point, the two Americans will feel like they’ve found their long lost twin. We Americans are much more similar than we realize.

      • Michele

        That being said, Kelly, as an American who lived in the London area for nearly 8 years, if I ran into a Texan who was rude and loud and obnoxious (or any other American with same behaviour), I was more than happy for someone to think I was from Canada.

        • Chloe

          I agree with Michele. I’m from San Francisco but have lived in London since 2003, and I feel that I have way more in common with Londoners than I do with a lot of people from Texas. Some Americans, yes, but you can’t just generalize.

        • Lucinda

          I did the same thing when I was in Cancun with my Brazilian boyfriend several years ago. This tall loudmouthed Texan was staying at our hotel. He was older, probably 60s or 70s, big cowboy hat, little bathing suit, he thought he was really something. It was during World Cup. I, in my Copa de Mundo T-shirt, kept my mouth shut. The bartenders by the pool were making fun of him behind his back, but in front of me, not knowing I was American!

    • give peace a chance

      ain’t that scoTch? nyuk nyuk

      • Scraminal

        Was that a joke or are you actually serious?

  • http://www.ryanhaberphotography.com Ryan Haber

    You hit the big ones.

    * I’d say criticizing America, which Americans feel comfortably doing, or even criticizing our government, which is really our only true equivalent to “football” here, is likely to be met with cool patience, at best, coming from a foreigner.

    * Americans are neurotic and deluded and generally racked over race and, increasingly, social class. Obviously we have both, and mix heavily across lines in both categories. In race, the categories are blurring; in social class, the lines are sharpening. We like to think that we are colorblind and classless society, and in some ways, historically, have been, to some extent. But we all know that the statement is not completely or even particularly true. Even loud cheerleaders of American opportunity and fairness know that there are troubles here. Nobody in the United States is very comfortable with any of this – either the the history, the current conditions, or the general trends. Anyone who says he is fully comfortable navigating these lines is delusional. It all makes us all uncomfortable and is testing, exposing, or fighting against some of the most deeply held and highest aspirations that we as a people universally share. None of us knows what to do about it. If you want to discuss anything relating to these topics with anybody, be very careful. There are landmines everywhere, and even otherwise calm and pleasant people can start feeling very tense. Even if you agree with your interlocutor, do not be confident that your opinion on the matter, being a foreigner, is welcome.

    * We do have social classes that are becoming increasingly distinct and the cues are – I think – much more subtle than in the UK. If you need to ask, ask an articulate and perceptive coworker or neighbor, discreetly.

  • gn

    In other words, don’t be rude about America. Especially about food — what is that saying about greenhouses and stones?

    Plenty of Americans swear, use offensive language or vulgar banter. However it’s probably best not to try this until you know them well. The social cues that this is OK may be a bit different, so best to be cautious.

  • Jill

    True about swearing, insults & humour: but I wonder how many Americans realise that “bloody” is a swearword?

    • Grace

      I know it is so I use it to swear without offending any of my friends. Here in America they are very touchy about swearing, when I consider those words not swear words since they are used so commonly now.

      • Sharon

        Grace, where do you live? Obviously not in the south…we swear like drunken sailors here! :)

    • frozen01

      I’m guessing not many. In fact, JC Penneys had tag lines on their in-store ads for a “UK inspired” fashion line that included some gems as “bloody great prices”. I was shocked at that (yes, I’m American).

  • expatmum

    I have an American friend who, when dining with Brits, always goes back into the restaurant on some pretense, to make sure that the tip was sufficient. Most of the time she ends up leaving a little bit more because the Brit in charge of the bill just rounded things up rather than leaving the 15+%.

    • American Diner

      Waiters in the US generally make $2.50 an hour, with gratuities comprising the rest of their wage.

      • MinorAmericanHR

        That’s not collectively true. In some states, counting tip as part of the hourly wage is the practice. In other states, such as California, servers earn the state’s mandated hourly wage and tips on top of it. (Some cities, such as San Francisco, have their own locally mandated hourly wage.)

        Where the latter is true, the establishments themselves may determine how the tips are distributed. Some pool the tips and distribute the money equally to the people on shift; some let servers keep their tips without sharing. Both are good compensation models as one recognizes team work and another recognizes individual accomplishment in service.

    • anonmousey

      Is this in America or the UK, because over here that would be the norm. Don’t think any waiters would expect anywhere near 15%!

      • expatmum

        I usually try to tip well, but if there is a big problem I won’t leave 15% and I have been followed out of the restaurant to ask why. Given that I gave them every chance to put things right in the restaurant and they didn’t, I don’t feel bad about leaving a bad tip, but I wouldn’t do that if I hadn’t said a word beforehand.
        And I believe in New York there’s a move to a 30% tip. Can’t remember where I read that.

        • Michael Dennis

          From the Dept of Labor site: “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment of at least the federal minimum wage to covered, nonexempt employees. An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.

          Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, the employee is entitled to the provisions which provides the greater benefits.”

          Generally, most staff consider 15% a decent tip. I generally tip nearer to 20% (excluding any discount or coupon) for good service and may add another 5% for excellent service. And I only take into account how the server treated me. Not their fault if cook messed up or management is at fault. If I know “tips” are pooled, I try to slip them extra privately.

          I’ve had several relatives and friends act as servers and know how hard they have it. Particularly those on the breakfast shift. And don’t get me started on the big chain restaurants…

          Don’t get me wrong – particularly bad service gets a bad tip. Once, I left a penny.

          • expatmum

            20% is a lot easier to calculate on the fly too!

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        In most of the US, it’s 20%, but it’s not too uncommon to pay 25-30% for good service in metro areas like San Francisco.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

      As a confession, I always double check the the tip before leaving the cafe when I’m with foreigners. It’s nothing personal, but I just want to make sure that the staff get a good tip for good service.

  • http://twenty-something-sherbet.blogspot.com/ Rachael

    Really about the swearing?! I find people here swear more!

    • jumbybird

      I suppose they’ve never walked on a street in Brooklyn.

    • lottie

      AND I’ve seen swearing offend a great number of Brits.

      • Peter Pan Peterson (the 3rd)

        yer we do swear more than the english, and we are fat and we are a lower class than the english. oh and we are getting stupider with each generation ( the proff is all in my spalling and puntiation,?). to be honist i hate the the english because they are better than us as they dont argue in chat rooms over the stupid stuff like this.

        any comment on this stating puntiation or spelling mistakes or even having the need to reply to this troll of a post just proves how stupid with are,

  • Shannon

    Don’t confront Americans about their politics or religion. I was in the UK during the 2008 election, and people would regularly come up to me to ask me who I was voting for. Personally I didn’t mind, but Americans with strong political convictions (particularly Conservatives) will likely feel confronted and judged.

    • Daisy

      Being a Conservative myself, I don’t care if someone in the UK asks who I voted for. As I see it, the Brits are outsiders who are simply being curious, and I wouldn’t be offended. It is rather like one of us asking if we think Prince Charles will be passed over in favor of his son. The best way out, of course, is not to discuss American politics at all because it can quickly become a serious point of contention. The same is true with religion, unless you both have similar beliefs.

    • chocoshatner

      You should actually revise that to, “don’t confront them about their politics unless you want an earful.” I don’t think anyone is offended about being asked, but don’t be surprised if you get a long winded reply.

      I was in London during the ballot counting after the 2000 election and spent a good chunk of my time trying to explain the electoral college to people. It wasn’t until then that I really realized how outdated it is as a method of evaluating winners.

  • Strongbow

    “Criticizing their food”
    That’s pretty funny coming from a people who stole their most popular dish from India and until recently was known to boil everything to death, LOL

    • AndyB

      if you’re refering to Chicken Tikka Masala I challenge you to go to India and find that dish, its a British take on Indian food, combining Chicken Tikka with a Masala sauce, two dishes that never met in their native country.

      • dd wilson


        • Ab

          @andyb – that’s a typical colonial way of thinking, just because you put a British flag on indian soil didn’t make India England! Similarly, you can’t take a dish out of INDIA, rename it and think it’s British! Lame!

          • Simon

            As above – it’s not definitely a dish made in India. The origins are disputed.

            Really there is no ‘colonial’ thinking in England anymore. There is no illusion of empire. Actually USA is accused by much of the world of economic imperialism, ideological imperialism and imperialism of foreign policy (e.g. getting rid of governments and replacing them with corrupt pro-US ones).

            Btw – Britain was in India over 60 years ago. Really do not think this attitude applies to people born before any empire days!

            I won’t mention Hawaii then or other places colonised by USA!!!!

          • Chuck Hardy

            I get that you’re British and don’t know much about American history or how the country was founded, so I’ll treat you gently. Hawaii is no more a “colony” than California or Oklahoma. We stole every damn inch of this country from it’s inhabitants. Kinda like the Normans, Saxons and Anglos did.

          • Tony79

            By that rational america has no dishes of its own does it.

          • midnightcyn

            Peach Melba. Caesar salad. Gumbo. Succotash. There is a huge list of american-born cuisine.

          • Tony79

            Peach melba was invented by a french chef in london for an australian Ceaser salad was invented or should I say created by an Italian. Ok ill give you succotash even though it came from native americans but apart from Americans who eats it lol.

          • suede

            You might want to re think about the Caesar salad. It was born in Tijuana

          • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

            Only if you ignore all the dishes made from the many fruits, vegetables, grains, and animals that are native here.

          • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.ellison.94 Anthony Ellison

            Feel free to name a dish that is made from ingedients only found in america created by an american in america?

      • http://www.facebook.com/timboy.bach Tim Boy Bach

        This dish was indeed adapted for the British!

        • http://www.facebook.com/timboy.bach Tim Boy Bach

          Also, India was part of the British Isles for 47yrs! Just thought I’d throw a random fact in,lol!

          • Graham

            The British Isles has never included India. It’s a geographic term for Great Britain, Ireland (the whole of) the Channel Islands, Isle of Man etc.

    • Simon

      Yep – the origin of that ‘popular dish’ is disputed, but many say it came from England, so not definitely stolen is it?

      Wherever the food came from and whoever it created it, I think it shows more diverse cultured taste buds if our most popular foods are from places like India, China and Thailand.

      Things like cheeseburgers, hotdogs, chicken wings, fajitas and cookies are the most popular cuisines in America. Not really that great is it?

      Wouldn’t bite, but you did decide to be a troll!

      Oh agree over boiled food is disgusting. A few pensioners still do that.

      • Chuck Hardy

        Simon you display a common British ignorance of most things American. Ever try bar-b-que ribs? or gumbo? or Southern fried chicken? Lots and lots of uniquely American cuisine out there. You should give it a try before you get up on your high-horse.

        • Tony79

          Hmmm well mr high horse both gumbo and fried chicken come from african americans see if you can guess the operative word there yep African with a bit of french cuisine thrown in. So that leaves bbq ribs well you didnt invent pigs or ribs or the bbq so well done oh and bbq sauces heratige is a shared one.Next!

          • Brandon

            We aren’t known as the ‘melting pot’ for no reason.
            But seriously, arguing over the origins of food? That’s a bit silly isn’t it?

          • Tony79

            I agree but my correction isnt about food it stems from the arrogant assumption that Americans created everything which as any educated fellow knows is bs.

          • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

            So you’re saying that African Americans are *not* Americans but are instead African… Are you sure you’re not from Texas or something? ‘Cus that’s some mighty fine racist ignorance you go theres sonny boy!

          • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.ellison.94 Anthony Ellison

            Im merely stating that a dish created by africans then brought to america is not american. The ignorance you display however is purely american. Well done red neck.

    • Nic

      And what gives with turning a perfectly good steak into a hockey puck? When I went to a restaurant in London and ordered a steak, the waiter looked at me as if I had three heads when I wanted it cooked medium rare.

      • Tony79

        Its simple really he was in shock that somebody needed three chairs and after taking the time to understand your drawl even though you were the loudest in the room was suprised you didnt want a burger.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timboy.bach Tim Boy Bach

        That’s London for you….they’re foreigners to us Welsh!

    • Tony79

      Chicken tikka massala is what I assume your refering to was actually invented in Scotland.And boiling everything ….apart from pasta sweetcorn and potatoes Ive never boiled anything. But I guess you can be forgiven for displaying another American trait that of ignorance of anything not american.

  • Pauline Wiles

    Expatmum’s comment about going back to the restaurant to leave an extra tip struck a note with me! I have a (very dear) British relative who simply doesn’t “get” the need to tip more generously here. I find I cringe when he wants to pick up the tab…

    • http://twitter.com/BritTexan Sheila K

      I’ve found one way to get around that is to politely insist, “You’re too kind, at least let me pick up the tip, please!” … it often works and keeps everyone happy.

  • Dibley

    Even hinting that any part of the Constitution might be just a little outdated will incur the wrath of even your closest American friends!

    • chocoshatner

      Sort of like suggesting that the House of Lords is a completely outdated and ridiculous institution for a modern democracy?

    • http://twitter.com/1MsCarmella Carmella Rosenbach

      And it’s as outdated as it could possibly be. I am American and I just don’t know why we still look at this rot as the end all of documents.

      • Mike Mckelvy

        Because it is the first document that said the government is supposed to serve the People and not the other way round. It is the cornerstone of why the U.S. became the most amazing nation on earth, warts and all.

  • KB

    some of these things I think would be offensive , any country but the one thing that Brits do, is use the word, stupid. Even if we do think an idea/action is stupid we generally don’t use that term in front of the person committing the act. It seems harsh to us.

    • expatmum

      I learnt that the hard way. In the UK, telling someone they’re stupid (at least where I’m from) often just means they’re ‘daft as a brush’. Oops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.j.theall Amanda J. Theall

    For the record, Walt Disney World only sells Coca-Cola products. No pepsi! LOL

    • k2cube

      If you’ll note, this scenario takes place before the Englishman has actually entered the park.

      • Jon from Florida

        actually, waiting in line at Disney is a scenario that occurs after our Englishman is in the park. He would have to discard his Pepsi whilst in the security line, before ever reaching the main gate queue.

        • http://www.drudgereport.com/ Strangelove

          Guess it could go either way. I took it to mean standing in line for a ride or other attraction while at Disney.

          • JoelM

            Seriously? You are debating the accuracy of the soda brand in a hypothetical situation? It’s no wonder foreigners think we’re all idiots.

          • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

            “Seriously?” Guess you don’t understand the concept of “LOL”?

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        “Hey! What’s the big idea here? You’re not allowed to bring food or drink inside the park!” -Security Guard wearing a Donald Duck outfit

  • Tammy

    America is a large and diverse country and each state has it’s own local culture, so never generalize Americans. For example, Americans living in Los Angeles are very different from those residing in Kansas City, etc. Also – the notion that Americans lack culture is nonsense. Go to New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and you will find world class museums, theater, etc.

    • Eric

      The same can be said for England, too. The country doesn’t start and stop at London. Although smaller in overall size, there’s a wide and diverse collection of history and cultures across the land, even before you cross borders into Wales, Scotland, or N Ireland. Even within the confines of London proper, there are a multitude of cultures and peoples. There isn’t just “English”. Considering all “Englishmen” the same is just as ludicrous as thinking all “Americans” are the same.

      • Kpilk

        I don’t think everyone thinks England is London. Are you kidding? Soooo many other beautiful places and diverse culture…London is awesome, but the rest of the country is fabulous too!

    • jim

      Is this bigoted coastalphilia? We’ve got Chicago here in the middle, you know. L.A. & San Fran can get in line behind us.

      • http://www.drudgereport.com/ Strangelove

        Flyover Country. Chicago is where you change planes at O’Hare. 😉

        Just teasing. I grew up in Mississippi.

    • Michele

      Having been on both sides of the pond (and not a coastal dweller Stateside), I can truly say that Americans are often generalized as New Yorkers or Los Angelinos and the British are downright surprised to find there is something in between that doesn’t match the stereotype. My Brit husband and I would make a concerted effort to take our US guests all over the countryside, away from London, to show them the “real” UK.

  • Brittany

    The only thing on this list that I don’t like is being called a Yankee. I’m not from Connecticut, so I;m not a Yankee.

  • justawhispr

    What are some of the English assumptions about Native Americans or Hispanic Americans? Since our roots really are here, what is the “joke”? Really, I don’t mind. 😛

  • Elizabeth

    Funny article but this does explains a few behavioral patterns in British television. Now I know insulting and swearing at your friend is a cultural difference and is to show affection for your friend. I will never look at British television the same way again. Luckily not every American takes themselves that seriously. Call me yank all you like.

    • Daisy

      I’m from the South and I don’t mind being called a Yank. I’m smart enough to know the difference between one American calling another a “yankee”, and a Brit or an Aussie calling us collectively “yanks”. What I personally find offensive is people in my own country who make jokes at the expensive of all southerners, whom they stereotype without mercy or reason.

      • chocoshatner

        I also grew up in the south and I think there is plenty of reasons to make jokes about the south.

        • http://twitter.com/1MsCarmella Carmella Rosenbach

          I lived in the south for a while, and seriously, some of those stereotypes are alive and thriving. Still.

        • KG

          There “is” plenty of reasons…? Sounds like you shouldn’t be making jokes about anybody. At least, not until you learn proper grammar.

          • ‘murican

            Thank the southern education system.

  • Lena

    lol i have a british pen pal who called me a yank and being from georgia i was highly offended but instead of getting mad and calling him a limey i calmly explained that calling a person from the south a yankee is highly offencive where as someone up north would only be mildly annoyed. then went on to explain the history of the word yankee and why we find it offencive. also another thing that is rather annoying is when ppl automaticly asume all americans are the same. the north and south are completely different as are the east and west. i would highly recomend watching “stephen fry in america” for further inquiries.

  • Liz

    Why do you sound so British after 30 years in the U.S.A?

    • expatmum

      Who are you talking to?

  • M

    It is funny that Americans keep saying that the north and south is different yet the very same people call more than half the world’s population asians.

    • Pete

      Generalize much? Do you find that generalizing leads to enlightening discussions?

    • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

      Pssst! People from Asia are “Asians.”

  • Shellymd

    I get annoyed with the American’s view on tipping like it is my job to support them by giving them a large tip for doing the job they are paid to do! tipping should be something extra that is given for good service not just for being there! I don’t care if it offends Americans get better pay rights in your country and stop expecting everyone else to support you.

    • Will

      It’s a bit much to expect the wait staff to be the ones in charge of getting themselves better pay rights. Yes, the pay is terrible, and something should be done, but that isn’t their fault. Refusing to tip according to social custom where you are is stubborn, mean spirited and rude. I assure you, your point is not being made.

      • expatmum

        Especially since many minimum wage laws a lower minimum specifically for people who earn tips. We’d end up paying the tip amount anyway because if and when those minimum wages go up, so will the price of the meal.

        • Shellymd

          You take a job knowing what your weekly wage is going to be – if the
          wait staff don’t stand up for themselves for better wages who else
          will? bosses are laughing cos it is so ingrained in the American
          culture that you need to tip these people so they can survive that why
          should they ever increase wages when they can have the public pay them
          in tips! I would rather pay higher prices for my meals know the staff
          are being paid decent wages and then tip when it is deserved.

          • expatmum

            Wait staff are hardly in a position to stand up for themselves, which is precisely why they are an unprotected class. If customers feel the way you do, why aren’t more people standing up and demanding that they be included in the minimum wage laws. I haven’t heard too many people doing that? It’s one thing to say “it’s terrible” but quite another to stand up on their behalf. As they know.

            And – I don’t often hear them complaining because a lot of their tips go untaxed, so they’re laughing.

          • SuperJayne

            Shellymd – they take the job knowing that their wages (often $2.50 / hour) will be supplemented by tips, which should range from a minimum of 15% to 35% depending on where you are. Americans will view you as a skinflint of low personal character if you tip like Scrooge. Wait staff do not belong to unions and restaurant managers stiff them all the time.

            Also, if you tip poorly, the IRS *still* taxes wait staff based on 15% tips. So if you leave a 5% tip (or nothing), the staff still has taxes deducted based on you leaving a 15% tip. If you don’t want to tip, go eat at a fast food restaurant. You’ll get the level of service that matches the level of tip you provide.

          • Still Gaming

            You’re just typing in a roundabout way that you’re a cheapskate, shellymd. I think you need to re-read Tip 3 again, because as the article says, it is really, REALLY f*cking annoying when you brow-beat something you’re completely ignorant about.

    • Daisy

      There are still places in America that pay waitresses less than minimum wage. I’m not sure how that works out, but sometimes they are dependent on those tips as part of their earnings..

      • Lyss

        I got paid $2.13/hr for waitressing for over 4 years. Due to taxes and having to claim my tips every week, most of the time, I never even got a paycheck. Unless I just did horrible in tips that week and then it was only $30-$50

    • chocoshatner

      Since they are paid under minimum wage, it’s beyond rude not to tip properly. If you find that obnoxious, feel free not to eat in restaurants here.

    • moakley64

      I’m an American. I so didn’t know your views on tipping! Most people who work in restaurants don’t make minimum wage ($7.25 an hour =

      4.62 British Pounds). It’s different in every state. Anywhere between $2.00 and $5.00 usually. Plus they have to share their tip with the people who clean off the tables. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t leave a tip. I try to tip about 20%. Not leaving a tip for a server in a US restaurant is a HUGE offense to that person. Will be visiting Ireland in June. So, we shouldn’t tip? When we go to Mexico (they have all-inclusive resorts where everything is included in the price, even liquor). Service workers who live in Mexico make very little money. I make sure that I take $50.00 in $1.00 bills (they take US currency) and always leave a dollar or two when we eat. That amount means very little to us but a lot to them. Also, in some US restaurants, they add the tip into the bill and you have to pay it. Usually high end restaurants or if you have a big group. Usually 18% of the total.

      • Shellymd

        I am not against tipping in anyway I think tipping is a good thing what I am against is the assumtion that you HAVE to tip everytime you receive service. You do your job and are paid wages to do that job just because your pay is crap is not my fault and putting the onus on us to have to tip so you can make ends meet is unfair. Tipping is a bonus a reward, something that should be given when the customer feels it is deserved and should NOT be mandatory. THAT is my objection in America it is expected in fact it is seen as an insult if not tipped this is the wrong attitude, no-one should expect to be tipped and I resent that attitude when you come to Ireland which by the way is NOT part of the UK Northern Ireland yes but when most refer to Ireland they usually mean Southern Ireland another common misconception by Americans I do not know what you are expected to do tip wise but if you meant Northern Ireland and anywhere else in the UK no-one expects to be tipped if we work in a job that has minimum wage pay we don’t look to the customers to support us as we see tips as they should be a reward for doing your job well.

        • Martin

          I’m a Brit working in an American bar. If I didn’t get tips I would earn $2.70 an hour that’s about one fifty quidwise. It’s just a cultural difference I know but tipping is customary so is necessary however most Americans don’t really view it as an extra… You expect to pay it and the tip becomes part of the price. If someone is a bad server however I will still stick to my guns and tip only a nominal amount, but I know for a fact that If I didn’t get tips I would not be able to work at that job.

      • Martin

        If you go to Ireland feel free to tip at a restaurant but only if you get good service. Tips at a bar are not necessary nor expected. If the bar mans great then offering him a drink at the end of the night will make his day.

    • Pete

      servers are paid a rate that takes tips into consideration. Saying the system should change because you don’t like it is simplistic and unrealistic. When in the US please eat at home!

    • http://twitter.com/1MsCarmella Carmella Rosenbach

      Problem is they aren’t always PAID to do that job…their bosses let us pay them and I think it’s not fair at all.

    • Mike Mckelvy

      As has been pointed out it varies by state as to how much the wait staff is paid. Tipping can very often comprise the bulk of that persons income. Getting paid minimum wage and relying on tips tends to make the staff more eager to do a good job for their customers. At least that’s the theory.

  • Liz

    Why would you mock someone’s heritage? Everyone in the U.S. who isn’t a first generation immigrant is a mixture of nationalities. It’s just a fact. Why would you roll your eyes at that? After all, the UK is a mixture of ethnicities and we wouldn’t laugh if someone said they were part Scottish or Welsh because one of their grandparents was.

    • Brittany

      Native Americans aren’t of mixed heritage.

      • Dickens10

        Actually, “Native Americans” are immigrants, just like the rest of us. They have just been here longer. They too came from Europe, crossing an ice bridge into Canada and then down here, trying to get where it was warmer. The only continent that can claim indigenous humans is Africa.

        That said, we laugh saying that the Brits eat everything we throw away from an animal.

        Why wouldn’t someone be proud of where they hail from. Aren’t you? If I did nothing but bash the UK (actually, I would love to see London someday) your hackles wouldn’t go up just a little?

        We have culture. It’s our own, American culture. We are not British, French, Russian, ect. That culture varies depending on what part of the country you live in. We are huge, not a small island.

        And, if the Brits like talking about bodily functions and find those functions funny, who are we to stop you. I guess we just have more interesting things to discuss.

        • Daisy

          Actually, “Native Americans” came from China and some from Polynesia. They didn’t aquire any European heritage for a very, very long time.

          • Iris

            rofl more theories!!!

        • Iris

          That’s just one of the many theories.

          • Weave

            Iris, there’s this thing called “scientific evidence”…that means facts, not theories. FYI… :/

          • a dude of dudes

            another pro tip. dont belittle native americans. sure fire way to get your self hit.

          • Fiona Green

            That is all we have. Let science do the work.

        • Γ214

          Native Americans have genetic markers and an archaeological evidence distribution pattern consistent with a trek from Asia. There is little evidence that any Europeans actually colonized the Americas before relatively modern times.

          • http://no.nope.no you guys

            the 16th century doesn’t count as modern. And even taking 10th century Norse exploration/colonization into account, that both failed and came at least 12,000 years after the first people crossed from Siberia to Alaska.

        • a dude of dudes

          native americans where here in america before anyone else. that’s like saying the first europeans moving from africa are immigrants. god you’re ignorant.

          • Janet Gibbons

            Yes, don’t forget the latest DNA findings that say everyone not actually from Continental Africa is descended from an African woman they have dubbed “Eve”

          • Fiona Green

            Even that theory has been overtaken by a new one.

        • Fiona Green

          It depends how far you want to go back. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        Actually, “Native Americans” isn’t a single heritage… There were more Native American heritages than there are countries in the world today.

      • jemblue

        Actually, almost all remaining “Native Americans” are of mixed European/Native ancestry. It’s extremely rare for anyone to be of 100% Native ancestry nowadays, partly because of their lack of genetic resistance to European diseases.

    • wobbles88

      I tend to look at dark age/medieval England as Europe’s melting pot. You had Normans, Angles, Saxons, Celts, Jutes, Romans, etc all mixed into one tradition.

    • http://twitter.com/casperghst42 Casper Pedersen

      Because we do not advertise it, it’s a “so what” thing, we are not impressed….

    • Oliver

      When Americans say they are “part” something else, to an English person it really doesn’t mean a thing. The person is American, not part this and part that. English people are proud of being English, and don’t necessarily want to think they are equal to Americans.

      • a dude of dudes

        oliver, well get use to it. americans who have ancestors from the UK are coming from the same DNA stock as you. what you said is a bit ignorant to say about americans. it’s like calling a mexican american not of mexican decent who is proud of his heritage.

        • Fiona Green

          Mexican “descent”, not decent which is an entirely different word.

    • http://kingsofleonlive.blogspot.com/ panjok2

      Isn’t it funny how we look at animals? We wouldn’t call a deer (that had migrated from Europe) anything other than a deer…would we? Just a thought I had!

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        Actually, we would be a lot *more* specific and call it either a “red deer” or a “Roe deer” depending on its species. Only an ignorant when asked what it was would say, “That there’s deer!”

        • http://kingsofleonlive.blogspot.com/ panjok2

          Are you calling me ignorant?

      • Fiona Green

        According to Richard Dawkins, we are African apes, which makes sense to me looking at some people.

      • Colleen Gaskill

        We do distinguish different types of deer. Besides, if Americans want to specify their heritage, why not? It’s not as if it’s creating a clear and present danger.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=678840331 Paul Smith

      A Brit wouldn’t say they were part this or part that, if your born in England, your English, if your born in Wales, your welsh etc. The fact my ancestors were Scots and Irish means nothing to me, it’s my birthplace that is important. Hence the puzzlement from Brits at Italian Americans, African Americans etc, nobody is just plain American! There are more ‘Irish’ living in the U.S now than have lived in Ireland in the last 10 000 years. That’s why we can’t help but mock someone who claims to be Irish because their great-great-great-grandparents were born in Dublin! Sorry!

      • Chuck Hardy

        Again Mr. Smith you demonstrate a profound lack of understanding of American history. Calling oneself “Italian” even thought you’re the fourth generation of your clan born in New Jersey is a way of acknowledging the prejudice your family overcame when they first arrived here. Many ethnic groups, like Africans, Italians, Jew etc. had to face stifling bigotry for generations. Calling oneself “Jewish-American” for instance is a source of pride.

        BTW, I know quite a few folks born in Northern Ireland who bristle at being called “British” for much the same reasons.

        • Ichihime43210

          I think this describes the reasoning perfectly.

      • Kpilk

        My theory on this is: since we are a young-ish country and the UK was our former homeland, we perhaps enjoy claiming our heritage from an older, more established line. I actually like that a lot of English blood is running through my veins. It makes me feel connected to something other than the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. It’s too bad you don’t see it as a compliment. Mock away…I will love England anyway.

      • Denise Walker

        My explanation is that America is the ‘New World’ and our people came here from all over the world. Our history here is short. So it’s just our way of stating what part of the ‘Old World’ our individual histories and families came from so that we feel connected to ancient history. That’s how I look at it. Brits belong to the old world and have no need to say they are part this or that. Had my British ancestors stayed in Britain, I’d be just English or just Welsh. :)

      • Colleen Gaskill

        I wouldn’t mock someone who explains his/her ethnicity. I might mock someone who write your when it should be you’re.

    • JoelM

      I think the authors point was if your parents were both born in the US and so were you, then you’re American. Taking credit for being from 4 different countries based on where each of your grandparents (or great grandparents) originated from is stupid. Acknowledge your roots, but don’t claim them as your identity.

      • Kpilk

        I don’t call myself English-American. I’m an American with a strong English ancestry. I pay tribute to that because I adore England. I don’t think it’s stupid to be proud of your heritage. I identify with England because I lived there for a while. Therefore, it IS part of my identity. I choose my identity to be whatever suits me. Be nice.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        I don’t think you understand the distinction between heritage and nationality Joel. An American’s nationality is “American”. Their heritage is their cultural inheritance. Americans don’t believe in abandoning family traditions and cultures to adopt some uniform identity like Brits do, so when we grow up, we usually inherit a mixed heritage from both sides of our family. As to what you mean by “Taking credit”, I have absolutely no idea what you’re mistaking heritage for being…

    • tempost

      Curious. Your identity (welsh, Scots) is still within the UK. It makes sense to say you’re English. However that blanket identity thing has not been my experience with the other ethnicities residing in your country. Particularly among the Jamaican and East Indian population who, more often than not, use that cultural identity to describe themselves.

      Here in the states there is a greater distinction than mere borders in our cultural identities. If your mom is from India and your dad from Russia, saying your American doesn’t fully express the richness of the 2 cultures coming together. It certainly doesn’t explain the intricacies of behaviour at a family gathering!

      Funny side note – in parts of Pennsylvania those who aren’t Amish are “English” and while I believe the meaning has changed somewhat, it used to be derogatory.

      • Lee-ann Dunton

        Just to note, the UK is different from England, which is different from Britain, etc. If someone is from the UK that does not mean they’re English. They’re only English if they come from England, which is within the UK.

  • mommadona

    How NOT to act/be in the US? How every narcissistic male Brit newscaster and Rupert Murdoch acts/is. Anything else?

  • apfwebs

    Now tell us the 10 things Yanks don’t realize are offensive to Brits

    • expatmum

      That post has been done and is in the side bar.

  • $21404289

    I find it offensive that a first world country makes it’s employees rely on tips as part of their basic salary.

    • Joe

      My brother worked as a waiter in college and could pull in 500 bucks per weekend…is it a great country or what!

    • Mike Mckelvy

      Some jobs such as parking valet in places like Las Vegas pay no wages at all and people would practically kill to get one of those jobs(I’m speaking of Casino work) because they can make a damn good income tax free. As usual it depends on where you are.

    • goldushapple

      It depends on the employer.

  • Ryan

    Here in the US, I believe that if I curse in an English or Scottish accent, it is more acceptable. Especially the C-word. Since that one is sensitive here, just to be safe, sometimes I’ll precede it with “wee,” which is used in America only by pretentious people or on television commercials around St. Patrick’s Day. Since I live in the NW, a Boston accent will also do for some words.

    • http://twitter.com/BritTexan Sheila K

      IMHO, as an ex pat Brit female, I can’t say I remember meeting/knowing anyone who likes hearing the c-word on either side of the pond, specially women. There are so many other words you can use instead – you might want to stop bothering with that one even with a wee … I’m just sayin’ 😉

      • http://twitter.com/1MsCarmella Carmella Rosenbach

        Thank you! I “HATE” that word, anyway that it’s used is bad. If I use it, you KNOW I’m pissed! (Not drunk, but angry,lol.)

      • anonmousey

        Who cares? It’s only a word. (I’m female by the way)

  • TED B

    Dont forget about….getting my hopes up about the TOP GEAR premier at eight PM on JAN 27th! But not BBCAmerica. Have to wait till Feb 4th….BAH!

    • Stig’s American Cousin

      Hey, i’m just happy they are showing it and doctor who a couple weeks late vs the 6+ months they used to make us wait

  • Mike Reseigh in Michigan

    You Brits have been hanging out with the wrong Americans. I am not offended by any of those things. But America is a big place and it’s almost different countries within this country. So I’m just going to have a Treacle on toast and remember Great Grandma and Grandpa Reseigh are from Mousehole Cornwall. I think They would have even liked Top Gear!!! Michigan by the way is some what similar to England in size. Just colder winters and warmer summers. Yes it does get warm here. Very warm. Just only in the summer. Not a lot of people out side the state seem to know that.

    • Lee-ann Dunton

      You don’t have “a” treacle on anything, as treacle is plural. And generally treacle is not eaten on toast. 😉 Haha

      • jokitch

        Treacle on toast has always been popular where I come from.

      • Ms Baroque

        Lee-ann, treacle isn’t plural: it’s an uncountable noun. But ‘a treacle on toast’ is a countable object, being one piece of toast. In America people say ‘let’s have coffee'; in the UK they say ‘let’s have a coffee’. For example. And lots of things are not generally eaten, which are eaten in individual homes.

  • George Bush

    Christina, you may need an atlas. People from New Hampshire and Texas live in the same country, England and Scotland are different countries. You can only use your example on say a cockney and a geordie.

    • brian_x

      True and not true. Keep in mind, NH culture isn’t even all that close to Massachusetts, and we Bay Staters jam their parking lots every holiday season for the low-sales-tax shopping. (Or Rhode Island for that matter — politics in MA is a spectator sport, but in RI it’s just vaguely embarrassing.)

    • chocoshatner

      And… you’re also wrong about Scotland v. England. Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom. The comparison to a US is very valid as it has both its own government, but is also ruled by the laws (including taxes) of the UK.

      • Shellymd

        Excuse me but you are wrong and right at the same time when it come to Scotland. Scotland is its own country try and tell any Scot otherwise will probably result in a punch in the face. Yes we are part of the UK but Scotland is its own countries with it’s own seperate laws, taxes, and government but we are though British reluctantly.

    • Josie

      Actually, George, Texas became its own country when it won independence from Mexico in 1836 and remained the independent Republic of Texas for nine years until it joined the United States in 1845 setting off the Mexican-American War. In acknowledgement of its unique former status, it is the only state authorized by statute to fly its flag at the same height as the US flag when the two are flown together. So, the example you chose to show Christina that she is wrong is actually the single most appropriate example to prove her right.

      Also, given that each state is granted by the Constitution the power to legislate anything that is not expressly granted to Congress – everything from Education to Medicaid to traffic regulations to civil and criminal jurisprudence, it is safe to say that we are in some ways every bit as autonomous as individual countries.

      Finally, with all of our regional festivals, traditions, accents, dialects, and idiosyncrasies, the only generalization one can safely make about Americans is that most generalizations will not fit.

      Anybody out there say “daresn’t” as a contraction for “dare not” or “red up” for “clean up”? Five will get you ten there are or at one time were a good many Amish/Mennonite folks in your area.

      Texas and New Hampshire may be in the same country, but in many ways, there are different worlds.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tygonjinn Tyler Ratliff

    Actually, none of these offend me in the slightest. They’re mostly true. My countrymen tend to get riled up for no good reason whatsoever.

    • goldushapple

      >>My countrymen tend to get riled up for no good reason whatsoever

      Have you been living under a rock? I think so.

  • Butch Knouse

    People talk about their heritage just to keep the conversation going. This is America. We’re ALL mutts.

    • goldushapple

      I’m not. I’m full blooded.

      • MrsMinnie

        Yea, you’re full blooded moron.

  • hoppytoad79

    Don’t use ‘Yank’ south of Pennsylvania. The best analogy I can think of is calling a Southerner a Yank is like calling a a Scotsman English.

    Unless you’ve lived in American for a while, it’s best not to criticize anything about America. Considering England’s culinary reputation, American food is especially off-limits.

    I tip a minimum of 15%. For particularly good service, 18-20%. Never, ever fail to tip your servers. They *need* their tips in order to make enough to make ends meet b/c their minimum wage is lower than the min. wage of other workers b/c they get tips. Not tipping them is a Big Deal, so don’t be a cheap !@&$#. TIP!!!!

    If you’re going to ask about religion and/or politics, know the person before you ask and I’d avoid bringing either subject up in a group.

    • Simon

      It’s not about being cheap. Perhaps visitors are not aware of the strange tipping culture. Everywhere else in the world, people tip if service is good and don’t tip if it is poor. Average service it is up to you what you tip.

      A tip is generally defined as something given voluntarily for services. Apart from the US and Canada, the rest of the world do not see why they should tip unless service received has been satisfactory. This is not being cheap!

      Perhaps in a more caring society servers should be paid minimum wage and be allowed to keep their tips. Anything other than this is exploitation.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        Actually, in many East Asian cultures tipping is a sign of personal wealth, and not tipping is a sign of personal failure. I’m not too sure if it’s a good idea to be throwing around phrases like “Everywhere else in the world,” or “the rest of the world”.

    • Simon

      Oh yeh – before I get accused of being cheap, I have not seen many US visitors in the REALLY poor parts of the world following the US tipping culture there.

      In those parts of the world the daily wage may be the same as the US waiters hourly wage.

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        Funny, I’ve always witnessed the opposite. When drinks/meals are much cheaper than here, my friends, family, and I typically pay double the bill. It’s simpler than calculating tip and we know that we’ll get killer service. I really cannot imagine the kind of dou**e that would tip like a cheap skate on already inexpensive service in a poor area. As a matter of fact, Americans are always getting told off for “flashing money around”.

  • vdanker

    Number one on my list of offensive things is Ricky Gervais; the other things on this list don’t bother me.

    • Verna Challenger

      I couldn’t agree with you more. He’s not the least bit funny.

  • Nick

    Warning: Don’t call anyone from New England a yank, especially in Boston. It’s the only city i can think of were a good chunk of the tourist industry is centered around us fighting and killing the British….

    • CamiSu

      Don’t call a New Englander a Yankee? Get real. We are the original Yankees, and I, for one, and proud to be one.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ellinore-Wilson/100000052288329 Ellinore Wilson

        maybe don’t do it in Boston though.

        • MoodyFoodie

          Well you’ll be a Yankee down South!!

    • YankeeFan

      Um…I think it has more to do with baseball…

  • Josie

    Etiquette tip?

    NEVER start a sentence, particularly one with a critical tone, with “Americans,” “Most Americans,” “Any American,” or some such generality unless you are prepared to be told about how rude, arrogant, snobbish, etc., etc., “Brits,” or “Most Brits,” are.

    There are more than 315 million of us, each as individually unique as any Brit, and if you don’t fit the general mold of “Most Brits,” then please don’t assume that we are just like your perception of “Most Americans.”

  • chazjac

    Lay off the snide whinging. (You should hear what the Aussies say when you’re out of earshot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=598194895 Mandi Zola

    I love how the article itself has managed to offend quite a number of us! *sigh*

  • Savanna

    I’m American, sadly… I wish I were a Brit. Any way I can switch? Because none of those things offend me…

  • Joseph

    “When an American announces that they’re part Irish, part Polish and part Moldovan because their great-great-grandparents hailed from these far-off lands …”

    Sigh. You might be surprised to learn that the US and UK aren’t next door neighbors. These “far-off lands” aren’t much further from the US than the UK is – Ireland, in fact, is slightly closer to us.

    America isn’t England, most Americans aren’t English in any sense, and the culture, being here because of what was brought over as the place was founded, is not particularly English. We’re not so much offended by the widespread refusal of the English to understand this as we are annoyed. While the English seem to find loudly ignorant and blatantly stupid people terribly amusing, most Americans (from outside of historically heavily Anglo-Saxon areas like Texas) would like to see them step right in front of a moving tram, quite literally, so that they might die swiftly and never bother the rest of us with their foolishness ever again.

    Which, by the way, is how most of the world seems to view the Englishman’s tradition of being outspoken on topics of which he knows nothing. It’s not cute, it’s not charming, it’s just obnoxious, and you folks need to stop acting that way.

    • goldushapple

      You’d be surprised the foolishness that pervades areas that aren’t historically heavily Anglo-Saxon.

  • Jeremy

    If you come to Colorado, you can complain about the air (or lack there of)

  • Lindsey

    As an American I am guilty of a lot of these things… I’ve always been quiet and growing up my mother said, “You need to learn to talk to people, or they’ll think you’re being rude.” I’m still not fond of making awkward polite conversation with people I don’t know. I had to meet with someone once and went to the receptionist and instead of telling me where to go they kept repeating “Hello, how are you?” until I told them how I was and asked in return how they were. It was a bit ridiculous.
    I’m also guilty of friendly-offensive banter, especially with my mother.

  • Zombie Prep Network

    Most American’s are annoyed when people who don’t understand the first thing about our history, culture, or politics criticize our history, culture, or politics. We also understand fully that rude criticisms come from a lack of personal self esteem. We know there are problems here, we also know that you don’t know how to fix the, Your country is not better than ours, ours is not better than yours. Let’s be friends.

    • goldushapple

      >> ours is not better than yours. Let’s be friends.


      >>Let’s be friends.

      Yea, we can be friends, but let’s not fool ourselves with this ‘equality’ concept. It’s all false.

  • umm

    I only wish you could get a bucket of Pepsi at Disneyworld. They are strictly Coke :/

    • goldushapple

      Yea, I’m a Pepsi person.

  • Thom

    Thought you Brits cornered the market on proper English grammar but the word you want in the first sentence is “subtlety” not “subtly.”

  • Madame Moriarty

    We are a country of immigrants. Mocking the pride we have in our heritage is hurtful because that’s really all we have. Unless the person in question is native, being American doesn’t mean much. Then, of course, you (collectively) mock our culture. We are the lost sheep, the tired, the poor, the tempest-tost, the wretched refuse of the world. We brought with us pieces of our old homes, or old identities, and that is all we have to define ourselves by.

    One last thing, in case you ever come to America: the choice between the Guggenheim and Disney World is considerably less difficult than you imagine, and is based on what part of the country you land in. There is s considerable distance between Florida and New York. If you wish to see great museums, don’t go to the place old people retire to. Go somewhere full of life!

  • fishcado

    I have to agree regarding he heritage. Even I find it funny. I don’t understand people who say they’re black, cherokee indian, and japanese where none of that even shows up in either of their parents. Just be proud of who you are and stop rattling off some ancenstry that may have existed 100+ years ago.

  • Katelin

    I find it funny that this post and the next one are supposed to be funny and everyone is criticizing it. It’s just funny, go with it!

  • Tasha

    I am actually Moldovan, haha. Not commonly mentioned.

  • A Pleb

    Lets add #11 – Be careful with your humour (note spelling)
    American’s have a different sense of humour to Brits (i have lived in both places) and this piece is humourous to me in that is it poking gentle fun while realizing it just humour rather than reality, but that seems to have been missed by the American readers who should go above left to see have the Brits poke fun at themselves with the opposite list.

    • MoodyFoodie

      Be careful with your apostrophes. (note ‘s).

  • http://twitter.com/MelanieGoddard Melanie Goddard

    Friendly offensive banter, is acceptable among some here in the USA, you just have to be really close friends to pull it off. I have a cousin who always call Dirt. I’m six months older than him, he calls ME older than dirt.

  • Chris from Pennsylvania

    This is all nonsense.

    • MoodyFoodie


  • Demmi

    While I do find what is said above things to think about, it is a good thing to note that America has many states/regions and each state/region will be different. A good rule to live by (for anyone, British or American) is, “If you’re not sure don’t do” or “Just ask.” People (most people) won’t mind explaining something to a tourist or a friend visiting. But from both sides, everything is about respect.

  • Chris

    I’m American and hardly any of these things would offend me. In fact most of them would not offend most people I know. I have to wonder which Americans you’re talking to.

  • oyvay1959

    I get it, Rick Gervais is just trolling. I grew up In Brooklyn NY and not only did we swear in English but other languages as well. Peace

  • EnglishManInNewYork13

    different country – Scotland

  • http://widescreen.org OAR_John

    Wow. Most of this list isn’t offensive to me. I don’t mind being called “Yank” (well, duh, I am!), sex talk and toilet humor are fine with me as long as it’s not constant, swearing is overrated, some of our food does indeed deserve to be mocked, etc.

    On that last part, though, one of the things that I noticed on my first-ever day in England was the presence of the McDonald’s Burger King, Wendy’s *and* KFC in the SAME BUILDING. So, really, England is in no place to criticize us about our food when they accept is just as readily. :)

    Really, the only two things that can really get an American’s dander up are religion and politics. Hell, I even avoid those topics with my fellow Yanks!

  • fedora

    If the service and food has been bad, don’t follow me out of a restaurant asking me why I didn’t tip when I sent the terrible food back twice and then cut the meal short because I got fed up with the 40 minute wait for microwaved soup.

    As for the heritage question why not just say your American and be proud of that ? Saying you’re Irish American when the last family member to come from Ireland was in 1870 is a stretch too far…the Irish people I know call them ‘plastic paddies’, I don’t feel the need to say I’m ‘Saxon English with a hint of Viking’.

  • RevnPadre

    Try it before you knock it. Tractor pulls and tailgate parties can be a lot of fun if you remember they aren’t necessarily about tractors and tailgates. “Lowbrow” entertainment is usually the most fun and often much more affordable.

    • goldushapple

      I never been to a tractor pull but tailgate parties are great fun – at least in my experience.

  • Patrick Hedges

    You British twats got the insult thing DEAD wrong. Guys in America (real men, anyhow) have no problem with insult-greetings. We actually enjoy them. American women, not so much though. What we really hate is how every word that ends in a vowel ends with the “r” sound when the next word starts with a vowel. AKA idee-er instead of idea. Do you all walk around with excrement in your mouths?

    • MoodyFoodie

      It allows them to talk faster so the Yanks can’t keep up.

    • Simon

      “Hey, yooz guyz! Dere’s de dawg”. You sound like you’ve all been repeatedly kicked in the head as children!

      • goldushapple

        It seems like you drank a glass of “Cliche Kool-Aid,”

      • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

        I honestly have no idea who you are imitating here =) It reads like a cross between a stoogey kind of blokey English accent, a Stallone-ish Brooklyn accent, and a mock mentally handicapped individaul.

  • Kim Papke

    Shake my hand – don’t kiss me!

  • Liv Parish

    One US girl I knew ended up snapping, ‘Why d’you keep asking me that? There’s nothing wrong with me!’ after a Brit kept greeting her with, ‘All right?’ whenever they met a work.

    • MoodyFoodie

      LOL ! Awww… no wonder they hate us…

  • nitpicker77

    Is pointing out errors like confusing “subtlety” for “subtly” offensive to Brits?

  • LizzyMarie

    I have to say the only one I truly agree with the the part about calling all americans ‘yanks’. I actually get highly ticked off seeing as I’m from southern Louisiana. There is absolutely NOTHING ‘yank’ about where I hail from. But I don’t let it determine how I react to an individual. I just politely correct them in my ‘sweet as iced tea’ way that I’m Southern. As far as cursing and toilet humor, I’m a bonafide sailor! You’d have to meet some bible belt prude to really offend someone simply because you make a joke involving the loo. I, for one, LOVE British humor. Plus, the more we understand Britain, the more we understand the good ‘ole USofA. Britain is technically our ‘mother’ country in one form or another. =)

    • Jefe’ von Q

      As a ‘Wisconsinite’ or ‘Sconie’, I still don’t get the whole non-Yank thing. Although, we could both keep in mind the fact that we are laughably relevant to the ‘coasties’. This is ‘flyover’ country, after all.

      That whole Civil War angst thing needs to be tempered by the fact that the Brits were very close to assisting the South to destabilize the more powerful North. You can probably guess that their intentions were not for pure freedom for the South. Considering the fact that it was only a couple of generations before that America fought them for independence, which reduced their economic empire.

      • frozen01

        It’s really not a Civil War thing. I have, at this point, spent half my life in the South(east) and half in the North(central – I spent 6 long years in Wisconsin myself). The culture is just different. “Yank” refers to a culture from which I didn’t originate so it does annoy me when I’m called as such (except by my British fiancé because I know he’s teasing and knows better).

        • Jefe’ von Q

          So, I guess we’re missing the crux of the issue here, why is the term ‘Yank’ create an issue? Where did that term originate? If, as an American, I ‘don’t get it’, then some explanation is in order. If I don’t know, perhaps it can be explained to me here so that the British expats can get a handle on it. That’s really what it’s about anyway.

          • jemblue

            The term originated in the Northeast (possibly from Dutch?) and came to refer to people from there. In the U.S., it’s never been used to describe all Americans, just Northerners. It would be like calling all British people Geordies or Scousers.

  • Meg Mertz

    Sadly, Most of these things I do myself and being American it doesn’t really insult me. I swear, occasionally make the random weird body part joke, or bathroom joke. As for heritage, I find that I am proud of where I came from but I don’t get upset if people are unimpressed. I think some people get snarky over things, but I find that not everyone is the same and there are differences in where You grow up in America, I’m guessing much like over in the British Isles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.jessup.7 Cynthia Jessup

    Actually, a lot of those points are true, but if you go out to rural parts of the country, it’ll feel like home.

  • tfd007

    drive on the proper side of the road we already have enough drivers here who think whatever side they are on is the proper side

    • swift view

      The English drivers get real pissy when you drive on the Right side.

  • http://twitter.com/The_Cat_Juneau Philip R. Juneau

    As an American expat living abroad, I have come to realize how sensitive we really are by hanging out with English ‘blokes’. I must admit, I am a huge fan of British ‘humour’, but the uncensored banter which goes on during our Friday night pub time after our footie spiel was challenging for me at first. I have come to realize, being the only true Yank (I am from the Northeast), that there are no borders and nothing is personal…in fact, the more they lay into you, the more they like you. You have to be quick witted to survive, which I have actually adapted quite well and thoroughly enjoy. The ‘Brits’ actually know how to take life (and themselves) less seriously and it’s something us Americans can learn from.

    • MoodyFoodie

      Mmm-hm! You’ll find it interesting when you go back.

      • http://twitter.com/The_Cat_Juneau Philip R. Juneau

        …to say the least! lol

    • goldushapple

      Hmmm. Interesting you put ‘blokes’ and ‘Brits’ in quotes yet not ‘Yank.’ But then again this kinda explains why:

      >>The ‘Brits’ actually know how to take life (and themselves) less seriously and it’s something us Americans can learn from.

      >>I have come to realize how sensitive we really are

      You mean you.

  • Cherri

    I have been watching British television for years, so I can understand even the fastest talking Brits. But, I find it so funny that the stupid reality TV shows ( A contradiction in terms) for our own states have to have sub-titles for most conversations! Check it out! It is silly, how so many Americans confuse a person speaking the Queen’s English for being a snob! Everyone is pretty much the same under the sheets, no matter where your roots lay!

  • http://twitter.com/awindinthedoor Iam Here

    I was just commenting on this today; the reservedness of Brits is a stark contrast to their in-your-face dealing with problems and solutions. Maybe its the toilet humor…or the willingness to embrace human imperfections. I don’t know. Some British shows grow on me just for the fact that they are to-the-point, informative as opposed to much sensationalized drama of American shows. Dont get me wrong, though…I love my stars and stripes!

  • http://twitter.com/awindinthedoor Iam Here

    If you are an American with English as your second language, you tend to look at the USA as a foreign land that you were born in. I think Americans are more concerned with their heritage because we are such a diverse population. One out of many we are. We have so many languages and cuisines and dialects and faces that it is not enough to know we are just American. We have to know who we were, what made us sacrifice to come here and why we should stay here.

    • disqus_AVDYxhWaoU

      no lamb, to me that’s an insult. i hate pork!

  • WnD

    As an American, this list offends me. Not the behaviors it describes.

  • a

    In my opinion,
    I find this writer to be full of racism and stereotypes.
    Practically everyone is different, just lumping a group together and making some disparaging remark of how they all act, speak, and talk is just plain stupid.

  • Eli

    In regards to #4, it’s not wise to go up and announce to someone with a midwestern or other northern regional accent that “you must be from the south!” It’s not as common but happens on occasion and it won’t be appreciated any more than calling a southerner a yank. It’s not a uniquely UK snafu though as many coastal Americans are also prone to the assumption.

  • Jefe’ von Q

    Our culture, both culinary and otherwise actually began with immigrants from pretty much everywhere.

    We don’t always open up about politics because we know that it can be a contentious issue, and we honestly aren’t looking for a reason to shoot one another.
    When I’m talking to friends and sometimes coworkers, the banter can regularly involve politics, toilet and bedroom references. The swearing isn’t even a question, more a constant. And that’s from a bunch of Catholics and Lutherans (somewhat reformed) from the upper Midwest! As far as this warm and cuddly bit, you need to stop hanging out with suburbanite human resources workers.

  • An American

    Why doesn’t anyone know what culture actually means? All humans have culture. Nobody is more or less “cultured” than anyone else. Saying so makes you sound stupid and classist.

  • An American

    Also, why wouldn’t you know that criticizing, mocking, and calling names is offensive?

  • Swift view

    Americans hate it when you ask them their weight.

  • Janet Gibbons

    The number one thing anyone from any country any where can do to be welcomed is BE CLEAN! Standing in line in front of (if you are behind them you can back up a bit) people from any where to whom the wonders of good grooming has not occurred is horrible! Even if you haven’t got deodorant or perfumes just washing and wearing clean clothes is the best passport you can have.

  • GoldenGirl

    I say this article is pretty spot on!

  • Traff

    What makes you think we don’t realize…?

  • Tom

    Friendly-offensive banter

    In my area of America, NJ/NY/Conn, Friendly-offensive banter is the norm once an acquaintance or friendship develops. Strangers do not have Friendly-offensive banter but it is very common here in the tri-state area (including Connecticut).

  • Pain

    Not any one person is exactly the same. Some may not like you but treat you with respect but if you cross them that may change in an instance. Close friends will call eachother all kinds of things and still be friends its called joking around but don’t get too confortable once I was with a friend who was american but he was hispanic we was in a car with two black guys i am while and he is brown well he gets out to get get the smokes and drinks as one of the other guys said ill take ………….. he sais sure thing my “N” ending with a as most use as slang for friend. One of the black guys is like ” did he just say what I think he said” lol. This is the odd part a black person will sit and call another black person the “N” word as if it has developed some new meaning or something when what I read the dictionary states it means ‘ A person who does not work”. Where it makes sense I have no idea. There is also no such thing as constructive critasizm in my book you critasize me you just imagine you are making guesses to the shutdown ode of a nuke. Same goes this is not for everyone not every person is the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kirsten.curryip Kirsten Curry-Ip

    Ok, what irritates me the most about other countries…why is it that they go out of their way to make fun of americans, yet all these countries decide to migrate here. We have a lot of positive qualities about us and there is a ton of rich artistic culture. The reason why we talk about our ethnic background is because we acknowledge where our heritage stemmed from..so if I were fromireland or wherever Iwouldnt get annoyed, if anything slightly flattered. What I noticed after reading a few articles was that these people from the uk have a lot more negativity geared towards us than we do to them for some unknown reason andbeing american, I actually have only heard america say positive things about you.if you hate americans, hate the world. Cause honestly we are a melting pot of every country on earth. When I say melting pot I mean speech, values, food, weather, and all of the above.

    • georgina Phelps

      It’s in our British nature, we hate the French, we hate the Americans and we hate the other countries in Britain aside from our own and even people from certain other parts of the country you live in. There’s nobody running around talking about how lovely Liverpudlians are. We hate the person running the country and the party they represent no matter who they are. We’re hateful and reserved people really. However we’re also terrified of offending people of ethnic minorities so we’ve gone overboard with political correctness to the point that the nursery rhyme ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ has been renamed ‘Ba Ba the Rainbow Coloured Sheep’. I kid you not.

  • tempost

    I think the author’s limited American experience is showing. Because of the way we grew as a country different areas will provide different experiences. I grew up in NY where I was taught the 3 things you never discuss are politics, religion and money. When I moved to CA I was appalled to find all bets were off and all topics on the table. As I grew and traveled I came to believe that our westward migration made a relaxing of the rules necessary. Before towns were populated a “neighbor” could be more than a days ride away. Survival often depended on relying on the people around you. If you didn’t make it through a plains winter, what would happen to your children? Are you going to be concerned with when the plates are cleared or how you were introduced?

    A more accurate comment on American food would be that each region is virulently defensive about their specialty. Maryland knows their crab cakes are best, Chicago lauds the deep dish pizza while New Yorkers complain they can’t get a decent slice outside the city. That whole burger experience may just be because there’s a Brit in the mix? It’s what we do in our group because our Brit is a fussy eater and finds BBQ, Mexican and Thai too spicy.

  • Jamir

    I really think this person has only been to the areas that you see all the time when America is mentioned: NYC, Los Angeles, Orlando, Tampa, Miami. How about visit a state in each region? Go to the South, West, Midwest, and East coast. The cultures are different in each region and then each state. Texas is different from Georgia, but they are similar in some ways also.

  • asfdasfdasdf

    Why do they even still employ you to write this drivel? You’re even more vapid and mindless than the typical tabloid crap. Any terrible American experiences you have are probably not because you’re a Brit (I work with a significant number of Brits in my line of work and it’s delightful). It’s probably because you’re a hideous human being who never stops whining about everything.

  • Michelle

    Only thing offensive to me is assuming all Americans like glittering vampires and have no taste in good tv shows and movies..

  • Ab

    One big point missed in the article is the fact that Brits do not believe in holding doors for people behind them…. Something that Americans, both men and women would never forget to do… Did someone call Americans obnoxious? I beg to differ…

    • georgina Phelps

      I’m sorry, I’m British and I believe that well mannered people here never fail to hold the door for people, unless they are such a way back as to cause awkwardness, as in, forcing them to do that awkward little jog or just keep walking but having to look you in the face as you stand there stupidly.

  • Sean

    I don’t like it when Europeans say that Americans have absolutely no history or culture. We do have history, even if it doesn’t go back as far as yours. It’s still history. And we do have culture. While hotdogs, fried chicken, cracker jacks, ball games, jazz, blues, cajun, casualty, mormonism, cookie-cutter suburbs, Norman Rockwell, etc. might not be your thing (which I can understand as half of it isn’t mine either), it still exists. It’s just so ethnocentric. I admit there’s a lot wrong with America, we have atrocious politics and a lot of incredibly stupid people, but that’s just how it is.

    • goldushapple

      We may have atrocious politics, but so does Europe (not to say it cancels our political mess). As for stupidity, yea sure, there’s stupid people in a country of 300MILL, but the whole “Americans are stupid” is more of an exaggeration by the media. And the media – movies, tv and newspapers – is the one thing that is the main resource for foreigners to learn about America.

  • Whovian1212

    the swearing paragraph and the friendly-offensive banter are not true at all-most Americans say those things-of course, you do usually have to be good friends for you to “insult” them,but, point still stands :)

  • Nic

    Definitely don’t call southerners yanks, it’s a great way to start a fight! A yankee, in the south, is a godless heathen devil bent on destroying our culture! A real man, a gentleman, will gladly give up his seat for a lady and will open doors for them. When we ask you how your doing, especially in the South (the last bastion of true hospitality left in America) we mean it! Don’t refer to a female as a woman, they are ladies. It’s like y’all calling a female a “slapper.” Criticizing America is something only Americans can do. American cuisine is extremely varied. It depends on where you go. Try real BBQ (pulled pork, ribs, and brisket) and you’ll have a different opinion of our cuisine.

  • James Kirchner

    Americans’ explanation that they are part German, part Italian and part Uzbek or whatever is actually meaningful in the US, because it is often an indication of what they ate at home, what kind of stories were passed down in the family, and even how they were disciplined. It could even mean that their family still uses vestigial words from other languages in their English when talking to their families. I’m fourth-generation German on one side of my family, and my siblings and I still speak English very lightly sprinkled with German words, some so old that only historical linguists seem to know them.

  • Estrellita

    This list is odd. Stingy tipping is the only thing that bothers me. The writer’s contact with Americans must be limited to thin skinned jingoists.

  • Fanny Dashwood

    I had a British guy tell me once that all Irish people go to hell…not considering that my grandfather was 100% Irish. Nice guy…never apologized for it either when I made a point to remind him about my grandfather.

  • Brandon

    I really enjoy reading anything about cultural differences.
    I can also see how it woul be amusing for someone from another country to hear us say we are 1/4 irish, I also understand why we do that.
    For me, I am proud to be American and I am proud to say that my ancestry consists of mainly Native American blood. Also, I do live in the southern part of the US and I can verify the “yank” thing. I admittedly give a slight cringe at being called a yank, to us southerners that term is meant to be an insult for anyone living in the northern states. Also, I’d like to add that alongside our American pride we have a lot of regional pride, I would think that the southern pride would be the most note able.

  • Birdie

    I can’t agree with the “friendly-offensive banter” as being rude. Often times, I’ll get told by my friends to “F*** off” and all it translates to is either “one moment please” or simply answering to a joke pointed at them (often accompanied by laughter in this case). It all depends on what part of America you’re in.

  • http://kylebumpus.com/ Kyle Bumpus

    Hmm, I’m American and I strongly disagree with all these points except for the “don’t call a southerner a yankee” tidbit.

    • ssec1968

      It’s acceptable if you’re a foreigner and call a Southerner a Yankee. Don’t dare do it if you’re an American.

  • Miah

    The thing about people going on about their heritage is probably a big one. Especially if you’re Scottish or Irish, you’re bound to run into people who will tell you they’re Irish/Scottish/scotch-Irish because their great grandparents were. It’s some weird need to connect to a sense of identity.

    For most though the most they know about say, Ireland, is dressing up like a leprechaun on st. Patrick’s day and getting drunk with a little pin on their jacket that says Irish for a day… Just slightly racist.

  • Gretchen Monson

    I love this article; I would absolutely love to see the opposite.

    thing I have been considering for a while is that, at least where I am
    from in America, in mixed company it is considered rude to jump into
    intellectual conversations too quickly, or to tout ‘what we know’ unless
    expressly invited. Knowledge should be sought directly or come to in a
    round about way. Otherwise, we worry (I guess) about looking arrogant,
    or maybe even selfish.
    Of course, this can vary from culture to
    culture, but that is, I have found, especially true out here in the
    West. People can be deceptively intelligent.
    I remember being in London as a teenager and one of the ‘guards’ for the dungeons playing a trick on a few girls that asked him to confirm that it was the dungeon. He told us how stupid they were when he had a sign above him saying it was the dungeon as he sent them off 4 blocks the other direction.
    Now granted, I can’t attest to their intelligence, but I have often thought about that story and that man as he railed for many minutes about how stupid Americans are.
    weird thing is how in our culture, we may begin to play such a trick,
    but I can’t imagine somebody actually going through with it. Perhaps
    they did see the sign, perhaps they didn’t, but they had no reason not
    to trust that man who snickered at their expense.
    Obviously he is a
    scumbag. I hate saying that I have many UK friends that are lovely.
    Humanity, despite it’s culture, grows all kinds, no matter where you
    are. I think that should always logically go without saying.
    to our heritage: Americans are very ‘destiny’, and ‘choice’ centric.
    Everything is new to us, and a building that is 60 years old may feel
    ancient to us. Not to mention, The US is separated by most places by a
    large ocean — making everywhere else that much more mysterious. Who
    were these people that brought us to where we are now? What were their
    choices? What were their lives? What was their culture? How does that
    factor into my relations with my neighbors and family?
    around you is a different mixture and comes from a different place and
    that bleeds into our individuality. So, it orients us to gain
    perspective, a sense of mysticism, culture that has been lost to us, and
    gives us something to work in perhaps or to forget.

  • chairde

    I find British people to be loud and offensive. Often unable to handle drinking without getting drunk in public. Public drunkenness is simply not acceptable in America but quite common in the UK.

    • ssec1968

      Dang, I gotta start hanging out with more Brits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thesaven Saven Roybal

    I think that the word “heritage” may mean something fundamentally different to Brits. In the USA, “heritage” means your cultural inheritance (i.e., the traditions, values, stories, etc that you receive from your upbringing), not your nationality. To be fair though, it may go both ways. For instance, I’m baffled why someone would pretend that the place they were born has more importance than their family’s culture. The only real exceptions I can see to this would be orphans who grow up where they were born. It feels as ridiculous as saying I’m from the Air Force just because I was born on a US Air Force base.

  • ssec1968

    I think Europeans need to remember that they’re talking about two things when they say they’re British or French or whatever: nationality and heritage. When you’re part of a nation that was settled over a thousand years ago, so long that its founding is part myth, saying you’re British encompasses both nationality and heritage. But when you’re from a nation that was founded out of the wilderness only a few centuries back, our nationality is distinct from our heritage. When we Americans say we’re British or Irish or German, we mean that’s our heritage. A lot of our ancestors came to this country so recently that we still follow many of your traditions. We are proud of what our ancestors had to overcome to get here and establish themselves. You Europeans should take it as a compliment.

  • ssec1968

    1. To a foreigner, an American is a Yank.
    2. To an American, a Northerner is a Yank.
    3. To a Northerner, someone from New England is a Yank.
    4. To a New Englander, someone from Vermont is a Yank.

  • yank

    ha ahaha aha ah!!! wow i never new i so annoying!!! i should stop being so american!!!!! ha ha ha ha ha ha!!if some british person called me a yank i wwould not stop laughing!!!!!