25 Foreigners On The Cringeworthy Things Americans Do In Their Country

I asked non-American Internet people, family, and friends, “What are the cringeworthy things Americans do in your country?” Here are the responses I got, with names changed of course. Please don’t shoot the messenger.

1. They call everything quaint. I’m always hearing something being called quaint, or vintage, or oldey worldey, or oh my godddd just like Harry Potter! (FYI, all castles look the same, stop wasting your money.) “Oh, that house is so quaint, it has windows!” “The pub was so quaint! It had carpets!” “They say ‘mind the gap’ on the tube, how quaint is that?” We could say, “mate, don’t get your leg stuck in that big gap between the door and the carriage, because it’ll fuck everyone’s day up and then we’ll have to moan about it for a week,” but it’s not quite as catchy or concise. Lauren, UK

2. Firstly, asking if we are related to or know anyone that lives in an igloo. Secondly, adding ‘Eh’ to the end of a sentence because they are trying to fit in and its a Canadian thing. Robert, Canada

3. Constantly being surprised by how educated Nigerians are. You’re in my country and complimenting my English?! English is an official language here. And I believe in the United States, Nigerians are the most educated immigrants so I don’t even know how they can think so little of us when they come here. We have our problems but so does every other country. Peter, Nigeria

4. Calling the tube the “toob.” It makes me think of James Franco in Freaks and Geeks when he’s in love with tooba girl. I understand there are pronunciation differences, but make the effort or just call it the subway or the underground. Joy, England

5. Drinking whiskey with a straw. David, Egypt

6. Complaining that portions aren’t big enough, or that there isn’t enough variety in the supermarket (like it’s communist East Germany or something), or that customer service is poor and slow. Customer service is “poor” partially because I’m not relying on tips because I get paid a vaguely liveable wage, but primarily because I don’t care for outrageous demands. They’re way too accustomed to having ridiculous things done for them and brought to them at the snap of a finger, because they know at home if they don’t get everything they want, they won’t tip and their server will starve and that will teach them a lesson won’t it! Sorry if I’m not down on my hands and knees, letting you eat your burger off my back, but you’ll just have to deal with not being the most important person in my life. (My heart genuinely goes out to all American wait staff and bar tenders, I imagine they put their dignity in a box by the door every time they go to work.) Molly, UK

7. Always complaining that everything is not like it is in America everywhere you are. Do you expect us locals to sympathize with you or something? Kagiso, Botswana

8. If somebody is doing something outrageous in public, there is a 99% chance he or she is American. Why do Americans feel the need to constantly draw attention to themselves wherever they go? And no, it’s not every. single. one. But it is enough where the generalization still stands, no? Aurèlie, France

9. Hook up with and marry what they call “real African men” but really they are just broke ass “town boys” with nothing going for them! Learn to spot the difference American women! Ama, Ghana

10. Clichè, but loud loud loud. Pipe down, please. I get that they’re excited to be out of America (I would be too) but God, can you read your guide book quietly? Can you? Can you stop shouting your plans on public transport? It’s obnoxious to think that anyone wants to listen to that shit. Especially in pubs, when they’ve had a few too many Guinness’ to get into the local spirit of things, because they haven’t figured out that Ireland isn’t part of the UK. Everything’s just a little bit too OTT and enthusiastic. You’re going to the toilet! Awesome!!! Piss quietly and politely. Sammy, UK

11. The demeaning “compliments” the men love to give African women on their bodies. Saying things like you didn’t “expect to see so many beautiful African women” is not amusing. Sorry your media only shows you the worst of the worst of Africa. On the other hand, the way some of their women will start treating African women because of jealousy. American women are really difficult to get along with – I don’t think they know how to really take care of their men. Patricia, South Africa

12. Plain and simply, talking SO LOUD that everyone around thinks something dramatic is going on and stops for a second (or a while) to spectate on potential dramatic activity…..However, lo and behold, its just Americans, talking the talk, like they are in the middle of a crowded stadium. Pooja, Tanzania

13. They glorify the history of our country. Pillaging, enslaving, raping, and appropriating your way across the world isn’t anything for us to be proud of. There’s a list of countries as long as a toilet roll that want back all their shit that’s in the British Museum. And another list still waiting for their war memorials to honour their citizens who died fighting for us in countless wars, but remain unacknowledged. I appreciate that they want to learn some history, but can they not bleach away the horrendous stuff our ancestors have done? Theo, England

14. Calling everyone British. I’m English, not EnglishWelshScottishNorthernIrish, and I don’t have a “British accent,” and my God, it is not adorable. They think that a middle/upper class London accent is applicable to the entire country. It’s the equivalent of me thinking that every American sounds like Joe Pesci. Accents have dialects and sub-dialects. Which leads me nicely to their subtly copying accents and imitating words/dropping phrases into conversation. They sound like Madonna when she thought she was lady of the manor. And we’re all laughing at them. Meg, England

15. Americans have a way of being condescending when talking to anyone from any country in the world. Working at an international hotel here, I see it all the time. I don’t think they realize how the rest of the world views their condescension. Maybe they are not even aware of it. But being Mexican, it is very hard not to be irritated by their presence especially given the stereotypes they have of us in their country. Also, please kindly tell them not every Latino/a is Mexican. Gabriela, Mexico

16. Their need to bring up Germany’s past or to talk about how “they won” is off-putting. Yet they get mad at their own people who bring up slavery or the treatment of every non-White, heterosexual, rich person in their country. Germany’s hands and Europe’s hands are not clean. But neither is America’s. Deal with your own past before bringing up ours when you’re in our country. Stefan, Germany

17. Being obsessed with the Royal family. It’s bad enough that our press is obsessed with them, but when I see an American weeping in the street over the Royal wedding, or (more regularly) jamming their face between the bars of the gates of Buckingham Palace to catch a sniff of the Queen, I want to microwave my head. Susan, England

18. They have poor table manners. I have never been to the United States but I have also met few Americans who know how to not draw attention to themselves or do something unacceptable while eating out. It is pitiful. Jean, France

19. Assuming we all smoke weed and trying to buy it off every single one of us you see on the street. Lee, Jamaica

20. They are always the drunkest. Always. Igor, Brazil

21. Insincere kindness and happiness. I’m not even going to elaborate because they know they’re doing this one – it’s not scoring any points, and it won’t get you anything any faster. It’s manipulation. Piss. Off. Kendal, UK

22. Americans are always complaining publicly about small, inconsequential things. This is Italy, stop stressing over your usual petty American things that you can’t get here. Does a store really need to be opened 24 hours a day for you to be happy? Does not getting free re-fills really ruin your day? Samuele, Italy

23. Talking to strangers and being overly familiar/touchy feely. What. The. Fuck? Haven’t you heard of stranger danger? No wonder America has so many famous serial killers, they’re literally being handed the opportunity on a plate. I’d genuinely think about becoming one just because it’s obviously so easy. Don’t speak to me in the street or in a queue or in a restaurant or on public transport. Haven’t you got tourist friends? Haven’t you got a phone? Or a book?! Oh, and they need to stop pretending to like tea. Not even many English people like it. Ashley, England

24. They’re just generally stressful people aren’t they? If someone is giving you stress in public just by their presence, they are probably American. Greg, Australia

25. This is not cringeworhy per se but in my interactions with Americans, they seem to find it difficult to be truly happy. Some of them live lives only 90% of the world can dream of, and yet they make bad decisions, they talk badly about their family and friends, and they seem to have no sense of true community. Which is maybe why they seem unhappy. How can you be happy when you are only concerned about yourself? Being Nigerian, and I think being African, yes, we want to do better. But we never want to succeed just for ourselves. For us, when one of us succeeds – the family succeeds, the community succeeds. We are one. And whether our destiny is success or not, we will still have a good time and will be happy in this life. Americans don’t understand that. Uche, Nigeria TC mark

Featured image – Shutterstock

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