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4 hours ago, SKL said:

So it matters whether I wear white shoes or smile at my neighbors or like Thai food?  I can see that you are affected by what our state department and military do, but not what private citizens do.  Being interested in the latter is a choice, just as my being very interested in people in other countries is a choice.

ETA I guess if we bought a lot of things from your country and that changed, yeah, that would affect you.  I don't think that's the case for Australia, but I could see it being true in some countries.

So for one example

and this is political I guess 

Us assassinated a dude in Iran 
 

now we have people on the way to Iraq and our fuel prices are going nuts. Even though we currently have a pretty major national crisis.  (Though us is helping with that so thank you.  On the other hand our share prices are better as I understand it because you made a trade agreement with China (though my economics are shaky so I might have that wrong)

the entire population of Australia is slightly more than half than the population of California.

i don’t think there’s much we can do politically that effects you guys directly.  I don’t think most average Americans necessarily pay that much attention to the elections here though I may be wrong.  We do because everything US does has a direct effect down here.  When your president makes some economic decisions that effects our dollar and translates directly to my family budget when I buy the school books for the year.

obviously US is not the only factor here China is a big factor as well as are many different countries but it has a bigger impact.

i have no idea if that’s what Stella is talking about but that’s what I see from my place.  If it’s too political I’ll pull it down but I don’t think it’s partisan it’s just about how things play out on a world stage.  Obviously this has nothing to do with each individual I guess apart from the way they vote.  

Edited by Ausmumof3
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The discussion isn't are all Americans like this or do the non-Americans on the board think this is what all Americans are like. The discussion is why do those who generalize think this way. Amer

I am not wasting time on disclaimers, since you all know that lumping people into a group doesn't account for the individual. But here's what comes to mind (and when I say "Americans", I obviously do

Don't shoot the messenger; these are not all my opinions: On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant co

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4 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

 Last question first, no, nor would I expect you to be one of those posters.

Second last question, no. Those posts are available to all on this thread, and are easily read and understood by anyone who is interested. I don't feel a need to do the work of going back and finding each example and reposting them. 

In my opinion, more posters than not expressed minor or absent levels of offence, but those who took offence did so with personal insults directed at individual posters, and international posters as a whole, and lied about individual posters and their motivations.  Putting 5 or 6 such posters on ignore improved the readability of the thread immensely.

IMO, posters here should not be allowed to call a group in the minority (international posters) bigots and have that post allowed to stand by the mods (yes mods, I know I'm not meant to talk about moderation, delete this sentence if required).

Importantly, the only person I feel answerable to on this thread is the OP, and the OP and I are good.

 

 

Ok thanks.  Glad to have it not be me.  

 

————-

@fairfarmhand  in re impression when abroad, I’d add that some nationalities / places tend to be more lenient toward us USA American people than others.

One of my grandmothers was born in France .  No wait, Paris, this could be a Paris issue not a France issue.  Anyway French or Parisians seemed IME much less tolerant of faux pas, no French, poor French, etc,  while people from some other places (many places in South America, for example) tended to be much nicer and really appreciative about efforts to learn even a smattering of their language and to do things right.  

 For work, I sometimes had to communicate with people in several different countries and found substantial differences.  French Québécois were much nicer in general about my butchered attempts at French, than people in Paris were in my experience.  Either way, a whole lot of , begging forgiveness, “I seem to be in great difficulty, is there any possible chance that you or someone there could help me ...”.  “Excusez moi, je vous en priez.  ... “ and explanation that I speak no French (in French) was helpful.    “Je ne parle rien francais,  Which despite a French speaking grandmere and several years of school French was basically true, tended to get some assistance.  And a bunch of subjunctive whether in English or French like “I would like to speak to Mr  ____  / Je voudrais parler avec Mssr. ____”

(Not like how in USA it might be straight to “Please connect me to Mr Smith” which unless tone indicates rudeness probably seems polite to US ears but elsewhere could seem like a brusque, rude demand. )

Sort of similar to how several of us have said tended to be needed in UK: long politeness intros, rather than more direct language.  

Less extreme in some other places, but learning some basic nicety phrases, “por  favor” “gracias” etc was often very helpful.  

I nearly always studied at least a small amount of the language of any place I went and read about culture before going there. 

I also tried to do that when working with people from other countries.    This was before smartphones and YouTube—so now probably easier to do, even from Midwest flyover or parts of South that don’t tend to be cosmopolitan.

The 4 statements in Louise Penny’s books that Inspector Gamache teaches his protégés are often also helpful I think.  Let’s see, hmm, maybe someone else here will remember them all. but along lines of:

I don’t know.  I’m sorry. Forgive me.  I need help.

and “please” with the last two helps

and asking someone from a specific place you’ll be going, whether here, or elsewhere online, or a university International House in person if there are such where you are can also help

 

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52 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Us assassinated a dude in Iran 
 

 

and a plane* with 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents got shot down as a direct consequence.   No survivors.

"Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."  - A Famous Canadian in 1969. 

*To be clear: A commercial airline plane full of civilians.

Edited by wathe
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7 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

This is human nature when faced with very little experience.  

It's not that people who don't have that deep understanding are trying to be obtuse or carry certain stereotypes that everyone is like us.  Its just that many people in the US, by virtue of means or location or a combination of factors, have very little real world experience with people who aren't American.  

That's definitely true! The majority of Americans that I am friends with right now in the area that I live in have not traveled outside the US. I thought your analogy of parenting only one child was a great one. 🙂 

7 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

So what's the deal, do you reckon, with the extreme levels of offence taken by some in this thread ? Given you, an American, have perceptions that closely map to international perceptions ? "Cos I still don't get it. 

Re the bolded, IKR ??!!

Nope! Nuh uh. Not touching that one with a ten foot pole. 😂🤣😂

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37 minutes ago, wathe said:

and a plane with 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents got shot down as a direct consequence.   No survivors.

"Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."  - A Famous Canadian in 1969. 

 

He was a mass murderer planning more mass murders, And the Iranians shot down the plane because they did had some complete idiots in control of the missiles or they did it as a deliberate action.  The Iranian govt is evil and spreads evil  Even their own citizens are rebelling.

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I don't dispute that Iranian dude was a baddie.  The point is that when USA acts (in this case, as far as we know, unilaterally, without consulting or even warning allies), other smaller countries bear a significant share of the consequences. 

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On 1/15/2020 at 5:54 PM, MercyA said:

[SNIP]

The Pledge runs counter to my beliefs as a Christian, too. And, in any case, it is a lie. There is not freedom and justice for all. Anyone who thinks there is isn't paying attention.

 

I don't like the pledge because someone(s) decided to insert the idea of our nation being "under God".  I'm not on board with that.

And I agree with you about the lie.  I prefer to think of it as an aspiration.

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So, just to recap, this is not principally about offensive American tourist behaviors/attitudes but objectionable foreign policy perspectives/actions (that at least half of Americans disapprove of), overweight bodies, audible joy at being OCONUS, and white orthotic shoes.

If this had remained a conversation about uncouth tourist behaviors (which I have also observed) and how to advise future travelers, I wouldn’t have taken any offense, but it didn’t and it hasn’t. 

Edited by Sneezyone
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11 minutes ago, Amy in NH said:

I don't like the pledge because someone(s) decided to insert the idea of our nation being "under God".  I'm not on board with that.

Yeah, I can understand that. I like my religious freedom an awful lot and want others to have freedom to worship or not worship as they see fit. 

Also, I think that portion is a lie in some ways as well. In a general sense, I believe all nations are under God, but I do *not* believe our nation has any special claim for God to be on "our side" (far from it) and certainly we are often not on His. 

I think we should scrap the whole thing, honestly, especially from schools.

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The most recent posts have shown that there's no way some people will ever give up their false assumptions about Americans because they don't like U.S. foreign policy. That's your choice, but then you lose all credibility when trying to tell Americans not to judge other cultures. Also, I do not subscribe to the currently popular view that only certain people are allowed to have opinions on certain topics, such as non-US posters having opinions on Americans. When people from across the country and across the political spectrum (most of us Americans who have had issues with these ridiculous posts hardly ever agree with other and definitely don't agree on "big" issues) tell you that your assumptions are incorrect that should be a sign to listen. 

On that, and since there is no purpose anymore since it's so clear that no one actually cares to have factual information, I'm out. Enjoy talking in your echo chamber on the "dark forum".

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2 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

He was a mass murderer planning more mass murders, And the Iranians shot down the plane because they did had some complete idiots in control of the missiles or they did it as a deliberate action.  The Iranian govt is evil and spreads evil  Even their own citizens are rebelling.

It wasn’t a debate about whether the action was right or wrong.  Just making the point that any action taken has significant effects on the rest of us 

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47 minutes ago, kdsuomi said:

The most recent posts have shown that there's no way some people will ever give up their false assumptions about Americans because they don't like U.S. foreign policy. That's your choice, but then you lose all credibility when trying to tell Americans not to judge other cultures. Also, I do not subscribe to the currently popular view that only certain people are allowed to have opinions on certain topics, such as non-US posters having opinions on Americans. When people from across the country and across the political spectrum (most of us Americans who have had issues with these ridiculous posts hardly ever agree with other and definitely don't agree on "big" issues) tell you that your assumptions are incorrect that should be a sign to listen. 

On that, and since there is no purpose anymore since it's so clear that no one actually cares to have factual information, I'm out. Enjoy talking in your echo chamber on the "dark forum".

Which were the false assumptions?

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2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

So, just to recap, this is not principally about offensive American tourist behaviors/attitudes but objectionable foreign policy perspectives/actions (that at least half of Americans disapprove of), overweight bodies, audible joy at being OCONUS, and white orthotic shoes.

If this had remained a conversation about uncouth tourist behaviors (which I have also observed) and how to advise future travelers, I wouldn’t have taken any offense, but it didn’t and it hasn’t. 

Foreign policy was a side track

the sneaker stereotype was raised by an American first up.  It’s not something that would have come to mind for me.  Everyone here wears sneakers too.

the overweight stereotype has faded here because we’re mostly overweight here too.    I also didn’t see it mentioned in this thread.

I have no idea what OCONUS means.

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12 hours ago, StellaM said:

So what's the deal, do you reckon, with the extreme levels of offence taken by some in this thread ? Given you, an American, have perceptions that closely map to international perceptions ?

I'm one of the international Americans, and I would add one more reason.  Namely, that *sometimes* false motives/heart attitudes are being attributed based solely on outward (or perceived) behavior.    Someone can be happily confident without thinking their way is the best or others are inferior, for example.  Or giving blunt opinion without being mean. Nobody likes to be falsely judged.

Edited by vmsurbat1
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I've skimmed this thread but haven't read every single post.  During my high school years, we had several exchange students at my school - some lived in my neighborhood and others played on my ball team.  In grad school, my lab had more international students than American (although most stayed in the US after finishing school and now have green cards).  I heard lots of opinions on Americans, and they were very specific to the culture of the speaker.  French students thought we were loud, while Indian students thought we were quiet (and, having interacted with both...they were right, relative to their culture).  Scandinavians were shocked by our disposable income because their tax structure and food costs are so different - high school students stopping for a burger or ice cream after a ball game blew their mind. Indian students thought we had to work too hard, because we are mostly DIY - we do our own laundry, shopping, cooking, etc, instead of having paid people to do that.  It had never crossed their minds that their cleaning lady went home and cleaned her own house.  Everybody thought we were fat, but then were shocked when they gained weight once they got here.  All thought Americans were very friendly.  Some thought our school system had low expectations, but they were also not placed in advanced classes due to language barriers so it's harder to judge on that one - they were probably right.  Friends from India and Pakistan thought that Americans respond rationally rather than emotionally, or at least attempt to come up with a rational explanation for their responses.  Based on my own perceptions of my country, I can only interpret this as a conclusion based on relative, not objective, observations.

One comment that friends made seems applicable to the 'American confidence' descriptions.  I've been told that Americans just expect things to work, because most of our everyday interactions do.  When I got married, I got a new social security card and drivers license with my married name.  When I applied for a job, I filled out a form, paid the $5 fee, and got a copy of my transcript in 5-7 business days.  None of these were stressful things - just errands to run.  My friends said that this is not the case everywhere.  They thought it strange that we see a sign staying 'Tour at 3' and expect it to leave promptly at 3.  I was startled when they pointed it out - I wasn't asking for any special treatment, I just went during posted hours and expected that people would do their job with reasonable competence.  It might not be relavent, but their interpretation is that Americans just expect to do what they want on a daily basis because for the most part they can and it carries over to how they act in other places.  This isn't to say that we don't have obnoxious jerks - like everywhere, we do - but I had never considered this explanation for how Americans carry themselves until I heard it from my friends.  

Edited by ClemsonDana
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21 hours ago, importswim said:

Most Americans that I know (hence my experience, and opinion 😂) intellectually understand from a macro view that people all over the world live differently, however, in small ways and in regular conversation show that they don't actually understand that deep down. I'm an immigrant and have been surprised (but then not...) at how many times people have assumed that my home country has similar laws/holidays/commercial enterprises/thought processes, etc... to here. When I point out the truth (that they don't) then they sort of slap their heads and say "of course!" but in my experience it really is a mindset that's ingrained.

We hosted one of DH's co workers and a friend from South Korea and her sons for Thanksgiving one year. Co worker asked friend what she does to celebrate Thanksgiving in South Korea and we had to explain that the day Americans celebrate Thanksgiving isn't the same where friend is from. It was an an-ha moment for coworker. The interesting thing is that he had traveled outside of the US a lot, but for some reason hadn't made the connection that the holiday we celebrate as Thanksgiving isn't the same in other countries.

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5 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Yep, no mention of shoes here either! Nor of weight...

OCONUS means outside the continental United States, I think, from a quick Google. 

Never heard it used before.

 

Outside the Contiguous United States; it's a military acronym, not common outside of military circles. Includes states and territories of the US such as Hawaii and Alaska that are not attached to the main mass of the country as well as all foreign countries.

I believe Sneezy's family are military; sometimes we forget that acronyms all the US military families are familiar with are not actually common vocabulary.

Edited by maize
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Earlier in the thread I posted that some Americans have stereotypes of my country.

A Facebook friend, who lives in the U.S., made a post last night that I thought would be interesting to share.

My friend had an 8:00a.m. appointment, which she was early for 😄.  Introductions were made and she was invited into the office, but not invited to sit (in my country, we don't sit unless invited to do so). The lady began to ask my friend questions, while answering said questions the lady breathes a sigh of a relief, interrupts my friend while she's speaking to say, "You speak English so well! I was worried when I saw the spelling of your name, and country of origin. You people sure have some interesting names." Then smiles and asks my friend to continue with her reply.

Just wanted to add, English is our official and primary language.

Before I get shot, yes, I KNOW not all Americans are like this. 

Edited by Islandgal
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One thing that I thought of-my DH is a product owner/Engineering lead for a computer software package where most development has been outsourced to the Phillipeans. One of the things that he has struggled with is the fact that US developers on salary tend to work until the job is completed (often excessively so), but ones in the Phillipeans tend to work more to clock and to take holidays vs working through them if a project is going on. Having never before led an overseas team, he has struggled with working with very polite, hard working people who just plain treat work differently.

 

After spending the Christmas/Holiday season in Australia and NZ, where a lot of businesses shut down from Christmas to after NY for their summer break, and where many businesses either shut down in the early evening, or, for restaurants, will shut down after lunch for several hours and then reopen at night, he commented that he got Cebu-it was simply a culture that prized time at home and leisure vs getting a project done a few hours earlier. 

 

It took seeing a different culture to be able to lose the "US" lens and recognizing that maybe, just maybe, all software engineers everywhere aren't workaholics. And since he came back, he has become more guarded of HIS leisure and family time, too, recognizing that, no, he doesn't have to be available at 9:00 PM for him just because someone sends a message then. 

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7 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Is it offensive to talk about positive stereotypes?  I know this thread was about the negatives but from a positive viewpoint Americans here tend to be perceived as being very generous I think.

I've been told it's offensive to mention positive stereotypes.  For example, don't dare suggest that people from the far east are often intelligent.

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Another possible insight - this one into how Americans seem to take up more space than their body size would indicate.

We who are used to international interactions are aware that different cultures require different sized "bubbles" around the individual.

When I was an education student, I had to teach gym, and one of the things we had to teach was about "self space."  We had to design a lesson that helped young kids understand how much space others are entitled to.  The one I used had them each holding a length of rope taut and moving around the gym, being careful not to bump into each other.  The point of this lesson was consideration for others.  It was not encouragement of space greed.

So consider that when US people walk in a way that leaves more space around us (and this is so automatic we don't think about it), this is from our perspective considerate of the others around us - we are giving them their space rather than taking it up.

And while this thread is about Americans, it may be helpful to consider that many cultures encourage too-close-for-comfort positioning from a US person's perspective.  It is quite uncomfortable until one understands the reason for it.  If a person raised in the US culture comes up and moves into one's self space, it can be interpreted as a threat i.e. "I can get into your space / face and I can do a lot worse too."  I'm not saying other cultures need to change, only that there are usually two sides to cultural awkwardness.

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1 hour ago, dmmetler said:

One thing that I thought of-my DH is a product owner/Engineering lead for a computer software package where most development has been outsourced to the Phillipeans. One of the things that he has struggled with is the fact that US developers on salary tend to work until the job is completed (often excessively so), but ones in the Phillipeans tend to work more to clock and to take holidays vs working through them if a project is going on. Having never before led an overseas team, he has struggled with working with very polite, hard working people who just plain treat work differently.

 

After spending the Christmas/Holiday season in Australia and NZ, where a lot of businesses shut down from Christmas to after NY for their summer break, and where many businesses either shut down in the early evening, or, for restaurants, will shut down after lunch for several hours and then reopen at night, he commented that he got Cebu-it was simply a culture that prized time at home and leisure vs getting a project done a few hours earlier. 

 

It took seeing a different culture to be able to lose the "US" lens and recognizing that maybe, just maybe, all software engineers everywhere aren't workaholics. And since he came back, he has become more guarded of HIS leisure and family time, too, recognizing that, no, he doesn't have to be available at 9:00 PM for him just because someone sends a message then. 

We had friends that moved to NZ for several years, specifically to get better work/life balance. The dad was involved in the agricultural industry, and they moved to a part of NZ that has virtually identical growing conditions to our area here. It was a pretty profound change for the family to have him working only 40 hours per week with actual vacation time he was encouraged to use and they really enjoyed their time there. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died only a few months after they returned to the US for their children to start high school.

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4 hours ago, Islandgal said:

Earlier in the thread I posted that some Americans have stereotypes of my country.

A Facebook friend, who lives in U.S., posted a comment last night that I thought would be interesting to share.

My friend had an 8:00a.m. appointment, which she was early for 😄.  Introductions were made and she was invited into the office, but not invited to sit, (in my country, we don't sit unless invited to do so). The lady began to ask my friend questions, while answering said questions the lady breathes a sigh of a relief, interrupts my friend while she's speaking to say, "You speak English so well! I was worried when I saw the spelling of your name, and country of origin. You people sure have some interesting names." Then smiles and asks my friend to continue with her reply.

Just wanted to add, English is our official and primary language.

Before I get shot, yes, I KNOW not all Americans are like this. 

Good grief.  "You people" never leads anywhere good.  How obnoxious. 

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The space issue 

3 hours ago, SKL said:

Another possible insight - this one into how Americans seem to take up more space than their body size would indicate.

We who are used to international interactions are aware that different cultures require different sized "bubbles" around the individual.

When I was an education student, I had to teach gym, and one of the things we had to teach was about "self space."  We had to design a lesson that helped young kids understand how much space others are entitled to.  The one I used had them each holding a length of rope taut and moving around the gym, being careful not to bump into each other.  The point of this lesson was consideration for others.  It was not encouragement of space greed.

So consider that when US people walk in a way that leaves more space around us (and this is so automatic we don't think about it), this is from our perspective considerate of the others around us - we are giving them their space rather than taking it up.

And while this thread is about Americans, it may be helpful to consider that many cultures encourage too-close-for-comfort positioning from a US person's perspective.  It is quite uncomfortable until one understands the reason for it.  If a person raised in the US culture comes up and moves into one's self space, it can be interpreted as a threat i.e. "I can get into your space / face and I can do a lot worse too."  I'm not saying other cultures need to change, only that there are usually two sides to cultural awkwardness.

I think you're right about this.

I live in Europe right now. Where we live, when you stand in line at a store, the cultural priority is on efficiency.  The folks seem to think I'm so slow,  because the line will move forward and I sort of hang back, with Texan deference in my mind, and they'll cough and bump my cart gently forward with theirs! I'm holding up the line. More people could be unloading their groceries onto the belt if I'd just scoot forward promptly! Think of the time that would be lost if we all dawdled!  They aren't wrong about that.

On the other hand,  I went home to see my family, and my dad told me to quit crowding the lady in front of us at Walmart.  😂

I don't take it too personally.  I'd cry all the time if I did. I have to adjust and roll with it.  I try to keep up and blend in.  I'm getting there.

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9 minutes ago, elroisees said:

The space issue 

I think you're right about this.

I live in Europe right now. Where we live, when you stand in line at a store, the cultural priority is on efficiency.  The folks seem to think I'm so slow,  because the line will move forward and I sort of hang back, with Texan deference in my mind, and they'll cough and bump my cart gently forward with theirs! I'm holding up the line. More people could be unloading their groceries onto the belt if I'd just scoot forward promptly! Think of the time that would be lost if we all dawdled!  They aren't wrong about that.

On the other hand,  I went home to see my family, and my dad told me to quit crowding the lady in front of us at Walmart.  😂

I don't take it too personally.  I'd cry all the time if I did. I have to adjust and roll with it.  I try to keep up and blend in.  I'm getting there.

The space issue is pretty bad here too. I can't stand it, especially when standing in the line somewhere or at a party. 

I don't get that people want to be that close and personal, unless you're my husband or children, and sometimes not even then! 🤣😂

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13 hours ago, kdsuomi said:

The most recent posts have shown that there's no way some people will ever give up their false assumptions about Americans because they don't like U.S. foreign policy. That's your choice, but then you lose all credibility when trying to tell Americans not to judge other cultures. Also, I do not subscribe to the currently popular view that only certain people are allowed to have opinions on certain topics, such as non-US posters having opinions on Americans. When people from across the country and across the political spectrum (most of us Americans who have had issues with these ridiculous posts hardly ever agree with other and definitely don't agree on "big" issues) tell you that your assumptions are incorrect that should be a sign to listen. 

On that, and since there is no purpose anymore since it's so clear that no one actually cares to have factual information, I'm out. Enjoy talking in your echo chamber on the "dark forum".

The dark forum? Is that the back room of the pizza parlor that a huge chunk of idiots believe Hillary was trafficking young slaves? I thought that was in DC, not Australia? Or maybe the political forum SWB allows but has very, very few  posters trying to defend the horribly craptastic events being talked about there? Come on, spill it!

ETA Factual info? I think it’s been crystal clear that people aren’t accusing all of us of being boors. No one is debating or denying factual stuff. Isn’t this a discussion of the American stereotype? Can’t the world have their own views of us? Has not the stereotype they’ve spoken of one that’s been around for decades and decades? Every country is full of exemplary and abhorrent people, tourists or not. They’re not judging us, they’re reporting back what image that registers most in their mind. Who said they’re not listening? 

Knickers in a twist. Is that a Brit or American expression? 

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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On 1/20/2020 at 4:44 PM, StellaM said:

I'm curious.

Given this thread is apparently allowed to continue to infinity even though posters are calling other international posters bigots (the new discourse?), I may as well ask the question.

What do the 'polite' American posters on this thread, who would never dream of acknowledging any form of national stereotyping, because it's dreadful and rude, make of the 'rude' American posters on this thread who disagree ? Are they also bigoted ? Or are they just wrong, but in a polite American way ? Or do they have inconvenient opinions, because they co-incide with that of the international bigots and so are ignored ? Or are they allowed to criticise other Americans because they're family ?

I mean, the convo is pretty evenly split between Americans and internationals who acknowledge there is a sterotype, and some tourists fit it, and the rest of you..so for the rest of you, what do you think motivates those Americans who seem to take no issue with any of the international answers in this thread ?

 

When questioning or criticizing anything at all about our country, I am seen as unintelligent on whatever topic is being discussed, anti-American, anti-military, ungrateful, and/or a communist or just ignored or someone will roll their eyes at me.  This is just from my family members (not dh & ds).   

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1 hour ago, Thatboyofmine said:

When questioning or criticizing anything at all about our country, I am seen as unintelligent on whatever topic is being discussed, anti-American, anti-military, ungrateful, and/or a communist or just ignored or someone will roll their eyes at me.  This is just from my family members (not dh & ds).   

I get it, and it isn't easy.

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19 hours ago, StellaM said:

I actually have no idea what the 'dark forum' is; I thought it was a joke.

 

Yes, a joke, or a rumour of something that could exist, such as the dark web. It doesn't currently exist to my knowledge. Yet....   😂 

If it ever did exist, that's when we'll know we're taking this forum a little too seriously. 😉

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14 hours ago, Islandgal said:

Earlier in the thread I posted that some Americans have stereotypes of my country.

A Facebook friend, who lives in the U.S., made a post last night that I thought would be interesting to share.

My friend had an 8:00a.m. appointment, which she was early for 😄.  Introductions were made and she was invited into the office, but not invited to sit (in my country, we don't sit unless invited to do so). The lady began to ask my friend questions, while answering said questions the lady breathes a sigh of a relief, interrupts my friend while she's speaking to say, "You speak English so well! I was worried when I saw the spelling of your name, and country of origin. You people sure have some interesting names." Then smiles and asks my friend to continue with her reply.

Just wanted to add, English is our official and primary language.

Before I get shot, yes, I KNOW not all Americans are like this. 

Are you Jamaican or Bahamanian or from Turks and Caicos or Grand Caymaian? What you can tell your friend is that there are a lot of dumb  people in the world.   As to strange names or strange spellings- there are more than enough  right here in the USA for anyone to comment about any other nationalies or people from other country\s names. 

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35 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

Are you Jamaican or Bahamanian or from Turks and Caicos or Grand Caymaian? What you can tell your friend is that there are a lot of dumb  people in the world.   As to strange names or strange spellings- there are more than enough  right here in the USA for anyone to comment about any other nationalies or people from other country\s names. 

Oh sorry, I should have clarified, she wasn't upset at all and no one that commented under her post was either. We all found it funny because it happens so frequently. No one took it on.

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5 hours ago, Thatboyofmine said:

When questioning or criticizing anything at all about our country, I am seen as unintelligent on whatever topic is being discussed, anti-American, anti-military, ungrateful, and/or a communist or just ignored or someone will roll their eyes at me.  This is just from my family members (not dh & ds).   

I am so sorry. I am sure my in-laws have no idea what to make of DH and me, but are too polite to say anything, so I am blessed in that regard.  

When someone has a knee-jerk reaction to a criticism of America, my husband and I love to (privately) quote this old comic to each other: "Why you hate brave troops?" 😉(Disclaimer: if you are easily offended, please don't click on the link. It is more mocking and harsh than I would be--but unfortunately is representative of attitudes I have seen.)

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16 hours ago, Islandgal said:

Earlier in the thread I posted that some Americans have stereotypes of my country.

A Facebook friend, who lives in the U.S., made a post last night that I thought would be interesting to share.

My friend had an 8:00a.m. appointment, which she was early for 😄.  Introductions were made and she was invited into the office, but not invited to sit (in my country, we don't sit unless invited to do so). The lady began to ask my friend questions, while answering said questions the lady breathes a sigh of a relief, interrupts my friend while she's speaking to say, "You speak English so well! I was worried when I saw the spelling of your name, and country of origin. You people sure have some interesting names." Then smiles and asks my friend to continue with her reply.

Just wanted to add, English is our official and primary language.

Before I get shot, yes, I KNOW not all Americans are like this. 

 

Well, for what it's worth, there are also people who don't understand that Alaska is actually a state (and a pretty diverse one at that.) Or New Mexico, for that matter. Geography isn't everyone's strong suit 😂

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On 1/22/2020 at 7:06 AM, ClemsonDana said:

I've skimmed this thread but haven't read every single post.  During my high school years, we had several exchange students at my school - some lived in my neighborhood and others played on my ball team.  In grad school, my lab had more international students than American (although most stayed in the US after finishing school and now have green cards).  I heard lots of opinions on Americans, and they were very specific to the culture of the speaker.  French students thought we were loud, while Indian students thought we were quiet (and, having interacted with both...they were right, relative to their culture).  Scandinavians were shocked by our disposable income because their tax structure and food costs are so different - high school students stopping for a burger or ice cream after a ball game blew their mind. Indian students thought we had to work too hard, because we are mostly DIY - we do our own laundry, shopping, cooking, etc, instead of having paid people to do that.  It had never crossed their minds that their cleaning lady went home and cleaned her own house.  Everybody thought we were fat, but then were shocked when they gained weight once they got here.  All thought Americans were very friendly.  Some thought our school system had low expectations, but they were also not placed in advanced classes due to language barriers so it's harder to judge on that one - they were probably right.  Friends from India and Pakistan thought that Americans respond rationally rather than emotionally, or at least attempt to come up with a rational explanation for their responses.  Based on my own perceptions of my country, I can only interpret this as a conclusion based on relative, not objective, observations.

One comment that friends made seems applicable to the 'American confidence' descriptions.  I've been told that Americans just expect things to work, because most of our everyday interactions do.  When I got married, I got a new social security card and drivers license with my married name.  When I applied for a job, I filled out a form, paid the $5 fee, and got a copy of my transcript in 5-7 business days.  None of these were stressful things - just errands to run.  My friends said that this is not the case everywhere.  They thought it strange that we see a sign staying 'Tour at 3' and expect it to leave promptly at 3.  I was startled when they pointed it out - I wasn't asking for any special treatment, I just went during posted hours and expected that people would do their job with reasonable competence.  It might not be relavent, but their interpretation is that Americans just expect to do what they want on a daily basis because for the most part they can and it carries over to how they act in other places.  This isn't to say that we don't have obnoxious jerks - like everywhere, we do - but I had never considered this explanation for how Americans carry themselves until I heard it from my friends.  

Wonderful post!  I would agree with this 100%. Our perceptions are based so much on our own personal experiences and expectations. 

I have very similar experiences with these observations, having lived in Norway, hosted several international exchange students, and lived beside families recently from India, China, Africa, Quebec, the Yukon, and traveled extensively in the US (plus living with an American and living among his family). And not only are our perceptions coloured by our expectations, we have no idea what the background is about the people we observe, and what their expectations are.

So the advice given, than doing some research about the places you will visit is excellent. What is polite, normal walking and waiting behaviour, what are acceptable hand gestures, what to expect in shops and markets, etc. are all going to enhance both the visit to the new country for the tourist, and the host country. No one wants to feel that they are getting ripped off or taken advantage of.

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On 1/20/2020 at 1:12 PM, TechWife said:

 But, I don't see loud, obnoxious people of other nationalities.

 

I live in an area where international tourists are the norm and I do see them. Tourists from Russia and former Soviet countries are often loud, brash, push in line, etc. They're everything I've heard American tourists are. Does that make me disparage all people from Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, etc.? No, I recognize that their culture is different from ours. That seems to be what people in other countries are unwilling to see about Americans. That our culture is different from theirs but that doesn't make us rude. Yes, there should be a "when in Rome" attitude adopted by all international travelers but most people in their excitement over seeing what the came to see, revert to their own culture's behaviors.

On 1/22/2020 at 7:06 AM, ClemsonDana said:

I've skimmed this thread but haven't read every single post.  During my high school years, we had several exchange students at my school - some lived in my neighborhood and others played on my ball team.  In grad school, my lab had more international students than American (although most stayed in the US after finishing school and now have green cards).  I heard lots of opinions on Americans, and they were very specific to the culture of the speaker.  French students thought we were loud, while Indian students thought we were quiet (and, having interacted with both...they were right, relative to their culture).  Scandinavians were shocked by our disposable income because their tax structure and food costs are so different - high school students stopping for a burger or ice cream after a ball game blew their mind. Indian students thought we had to work too hard, because we are mostly DIY - we do our own laundry, shopping, cooking, etc, instead of having paid people to do that.  It had never crossed their minds that their cleaning lady went home and cleaned her own house.  Everybody thought we were fat, but then were shocked when they gained weight once they got here.  All thought Americans were very friendly.  Some thought our school system had low expectations, but they were also not placed in advanced classes due to language barriers so it's harder to judge on that one - they were probably right.  Friends from India and Pakistan thought that Americans respond rationally rather than emotionally, or at least attempt to come up with a rational explanation for their responses.  Based on my own perceptions of my country, I can only interpret this as a conclusion based on relative, not objective, observations.

 

When I taught high school our German foreign exchange students thought Americans treated high school students like little kids. They were especially thrown by the fact that, in one exchange student's words, "you need a little piece of paper that says you're allowed to go to the toilet". IOW, they thought bathroom hall passes were completely ridiculous.

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38 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

I live in an area where international tourists are the norm and I do see them. Tourists from Russia and former Soviet countries are often loud, brash, push in line, etc. They're everything I've heard American tourists are.

 

I’ve seen that too.  

38 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

Does that make me disparage all people from Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, etc.? No, I recognize that their culture is different from ours. That seems to be what people in other countries are unwilling to see about Americans. That our culture is different from theirs but that doesn't make us rude.

 

Generally, I agree with that.

I think even within USA itself people from different regions can be seen as rude by people from other areas.    For example, in NYC, people from other parts of US were often seen as rude for being too slow, taking up valuable time.  While the NYCers were seen as rude for being brusque: the sort of “what d’ya want? hurry up, I haven’t got all day” type attitude from waitresses in diners.  The space is crowded, the pace fast and that affects behavior.  But I also think it’s recognized as a sort of “rudeness”, but one that’s expected as part of the ambience.  Midwesterners are IME (maybe not if from Chicago or other big city), calmer, slower, more “polite” seeming.  

38 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

Yes, there should be a "when in Rome" attitude adopted by all international travelers but most people in their excitement over seeing what the came to see, revert to their own culture's behaviors.

 

And much except for an an excellent actor can’t be suddenly changed.  Pace, mannerisms, size of gestures, etc., are practiced for many years of life. Like any habit it can be very hard to change that sort of thing quickly. 

 

There was a youtube video I saw where a youngish American and youngish English woman were comparing how they said various things.  I don’t recall details now.   Things like lift versus elevator, maybe .  

Equally striking to me was that they were both pleasant seeming — yet very different in manners and space use. The English one sat in a much more compact posture, her hair was close to her head, her hand movements were small.   The American had a more open / extended posture, bigger hand and arm gestures, even her hair was arranged in more “big” style extending out.  

 

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59 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

I’ve seen that too.  

 

Generally, I agree with that.

I think even within USA itself people from different regions can be seen as rude by people from other areas.    For example, in NYC, people from other parts of US were often seen as rude for being too slow, taking up valuable time.  While the NYCers were seen as rude for being brusque: the sort of “what d’ya want? hurry up, I haven’t got all day” type attitude from waitresses in diners.  The space is crowded, the pace fast and that affects behavior.  But I also think it’s recognized as a sort of “rudeness”, but one that’s expected as part of the ambience.  Midwesterners are IME (maybe not if from Chicago or other big city), calmer, slower, more “polite” seeming.  

 

And much except for an an excellent actor can’t be suddenly changed.  Pace, mannerisms, size of gestures, etc., are practiced for many years of life. Like any habit it can be very hard to change that sort of thing quickly. 

 

There was a youtube video I saw where a youngish American and youngish English woman were comparing how they said various things.  I don’t recall details now.   Things like lift versus elevator, maybe .  

Equally striking to me was that they were both pleasant seeming — yet very different in manners and space use. The English one sat in a much more compact posture, her hair was close to her head, her hand movements were small.   The American had a more open / extended posture, bigger hand and arm gestures, even her hair was arranged in more “big” style extending out.  

 

I think the overwhelming aspect of tourists is when there are some combination of: 1) large numbers of groups, 2) they arrive pretty frequently, and 3) they disrupt the smoothness of your otherwise normal day.  It really doesn't matter their country of origin. 

 

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20 minutes ago, wintermom said:

I think the overwhelming aspect of tourists is when there are some combination of: 1) large numbers of groups, 2) they arrive pretty frequently, and 3) they disrupt the smoothness of your otherwise normal day.  It really doesn't matter their country of origin. 

 

 

I think the disruption aspect is hugely important.  

 

50 tour packed busses can be arriving at Disneyland frequently without being a disruption, and without distressing anyone.  Meanwhile a family of just 4 or even just 2 people moving at a slightly lost, and busy taking in the sights or snapping photos pace can be a massive disruption on a bridge in Venice or along a tight passage in a British town or in the middle of Paris as locals are trying to get to work.  And the disruption of regular life is apt to be upsetting. 

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

I think even within USA itself people from different regions can be seen as rude by people from other areas.    For example, in NYC, people from other parts of US were often seen as rude for being too slow, taking up valuable time.  While the NYCers were seen as rude for being brusque: the sort of “what d’ya want? hurry up, I haven’t got all day” type attitude from waitresses in diners.  The space is crowded, the pace fast and that affects behavior.  But I also think it’s recognized as a sort of “rudeness”, but one that’s expected as part of the ambience.  Midwesterners are IME (maybe not if from Chicago or other big city), calmer, slower, more “polite” seeming.  

I had always heard that about people in NYC. Interestingly, when I went on a visit and was out-and-about by myself one day, every single person that I stopped to ask a question as to where I might find something, etc., was nothing but kind and helpful. Not one brusque or rude person among them, and I know many of them probably didn't need my interruptions to their activities. Yet, they helped me and not one of them made me feel like I was an annoyance. Just like anywhere, I'm sure there are those types, but I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't find them.

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37 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

I had always heard that about people in NYC. Interestingly, when I went on a visit and was out-and-about by myself one day, every single person that I stopped to ask a question as to where I might find something, etc., was nothing but kind and helpful. Not one brusque or rude person among them, and I know many of them probably didn't need my interruptions to their activities. Yet, they helped me and not one of them made me feel like I was an annoyance. Just like anywhere, I'm sure there are those types, but I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't find them.

 

It depends where exactly you are and when etc. and circumstances.

  Asking for directions or other questions like that, imo never tended to result in particularly rude responses from most NYCers—though sometimes in incorrect directions/answers (probably most often due to error not deliberately misleading).   t NYCers generally are happy to show off their city and their knowledge of it.  The problem tended to be when seen to be significantly holding up service or progress somewhere, not ordering fast enough, not parallel parking close enough to cars in front and behind (which is to say absurdly close by my Western standards, but probably normal seeming distance by some European standards.)  

But a lot of time people were genuinely very nice — just more gruffly on surface

(removed example-decided I can make a scene of it for personal creative writing!) 

 

outer “rudeness” or “brusqueness “ and inner kindness were perfectly possible to coexist

(as too the opposite, outer great politeness while metaphorically stabbing someone in back is perfectly possible and perhaps quite common in some other places) 

 

As I said too I think in some cases some of the “rude” was deliberate for ambiance.    Tourists might actually want “yeh, so whutcha want?”   Not a Disneyland smile.  

 

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2 hours ago, Pen said:

 

I think even within USA itself people from different regions can be seen as rude by people from other areas.    For example, in NYC, people from other parts of US were often seen as rude for being too slow, taking up valuable time.  While the NYCers were seen as rude for being brusque: the sort of “what d’ya want? hurry up, I haven’t got all day” type attitude from waitresses in diners.  The space is crowded, the pace fast and that affects behavior.  But I also think it’s recognized as a sort of “rudeness”, but one that’s expected as part of the ambience.  Midwesterners are IME (maybe not if from Chicago or other big city), calmer, slower, more “polite” seeming.  

 

 

48 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

I had always heard that about people in NYC. Interestingly, when I went on a visit and was out-and-about by myself one day, every single person that I stopped to ask a question as to where I might find something, etc., was nothing but kind and helpful. Not one brusque or rude person among them, and I know many of them probably didn't need my interruptions to their activities. Yet, they helped me and not one of them made me feel like I was an annoyance. Just like anywhere, I'm sure there are those types, but I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't find them.

I experienced both on my visits to NYC. It took me a while to realize that when I was ordering something I should know what I want when my turn came. Once I did that people were perfectly nice. When I did the typical customer thing from my area - look at the menu, ask about items, etc., that's when they were impatient with me.

I briefly dated a guy from upstate NY (it failed like long distance relationships often do) and we took turns visiting each other. The first time he came here he was genuinely shocked that people manning toll booths were friendly. This was way before any kind of epass existed. He couldn't believe they made small talk, asked about your day, and told you about theirs. When I told him that if you asked for directions they'd be happy to help his jaw literally dropped. 

1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

I think the disruption aspect is hugely important.  

 

50 tour packed busses can be arriving at Disneyland frequently without being a disruption, and without distressing anyone.  Meanwhile a family of just 4 or even just 2 people moving at a slightly lost, and busy taking in the sights or snapping photos pace can be a massive disruption on a bridge in Venice or along a tight passage in a British town or in the middle of Paris as locals are trying to get to work.  And the disruption of regular life is apt to be upsetting. 

This is true even where you're used to tourists. When the space shuttle program was at its height my city would get packed for every launch. They lined up along the river on U.S. 1. That highway that goes from Maine to Key West is a main road here that people take to work, shopping, school, etc. (The high school where I taught is right on U.S.1 and we always took our students outside to watch a launch if it happened during the school day.). Tourists here for a launch would just stop their cars in the middle of the highway. Or they'd cross the street from their spot on the river without even looking. It'a a wonder we didn't have a bunch of tourist deaths from being hit by cars. It was as though they had no clue people actually live, work, go to school here, and have to drive the road they were on. SpaceX is bringing that kind of thing back but usually only for the big launches. I suspect once the Dragon starts carrying astronauts it will start up again.

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14 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

 

Well, for what it's worth, there are also people who don't understand that Alaska is actually a state (and a pretty diverse one at that.) Or New Mexico, for that matter. Geography isn't everyone's strong suit 😂

Yes, we lived in New Mexico for 4 years.  I had Sprint phone cell phone then (99-03) and One day I was calling them on my cell phone while waiting for my son's day camp to let out about the bad cell coverage in downtown and near downtown Albuquerque.  The Sprint operator kept insisting that it was because the service didn't work in Mexico and I needed another phone.  I kept telling her that I was talking to her on a phone in Albuquerque, NM, USA and obviously it worked enough to call the Sprint people.  the lady just kept telling me the phone doesn't work in Mexico so i hung up. 

Another case that happened when we were there was some school or church choir or youth sports,etc group traveled in a van to Florida or Georgia to perform.  They were returning and the rental van broke down.  I think it broke down in Louisiana.  in order to get a replacement rental van, they had to show their drivers' licenses.  they did and of course, they were from New Mexico and of course, the license was in English, not Spanish.  the place refused to rent them the van.  This story got on the news.

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1 hour ago, Pen said:

 

It depends where exactly you are and when etc. and circumstances.

  Asking for directions or other questions like that, imo never tended to result in particularly rude responses from most NYCers—though sometimes in incorrect directions/answers (probably most often due to error not deliberately misleading).   t NYCers generally are happy to show off their city and their knowledge of it.  The problem tended to be when seen to be significantly holding up service or progress somewhere, not ordering fast enough, not parallel parking close enough to cars in front and behind (which is to say absurdly close by my Western standards, but probably normal seeming distance by some European standards.)  

But a lot of time people were genuinely very nice — just more gruffly on surface

(removed example-decided I can make a scene of it for personal creative writing!) 

 

outer “rudeness” or “brusqueness “ and inner kindness were perfectly possible to coexist

(as too the opposite, outer great politeness while metaphorically stabbing someone in back is perfectly possible and perhaps quite common in some other places) 

 

As I said too I think in some cases some of the “rude” was deliberate for ambiance.    Tourists might actually want “yeh, so whutcha want?”   Not a Disneyland smile.  

 

This has been my experience in NYC as well. Nothing but super kind, go out of their way friendly people, especially on the subway when they’d give up their seat for me when I had DS in a small stroller (I’d fold it up before getting on). 

Regional differences are definitely real. When I moved to the Midwest from San Francisco, I recall making someone in a club mad when I shoved right past them. In SF clubs, no one would ask politely for a dancer to move (lol the thought!), but in this new city it was expected. So much culture shock. Lol. I learned. 
 

Boston is similar to NYC and it honestly leaves me baffled when posters here think Bostonians are rude (or Mainers for that matter!). True you won’t find much sugar coated small talk (thank goodness!), but the people overall are super nice. Yet when I go to the south my feathers definitely get ruffled by the ma’am’s and the small talk...ugh! Just gimme my groceries and let me get out of here! Lol. Same niceness of a people, just different takes. 🙂
 

 

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9 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

Yes, we lived in New Mexico for 4 years.  I had Sprint phone cell phone then (99-03) and One day I was calling them on my cell phone while waiting for my son's day camp to let out about the bad cell coverage in downtown and near downtown Albuquerque.  The Sprint operator kept insisting that it was because the service didn't work in Mexico and I needed another phone.  I kept telling her that I was talking to her on a phone in Albuquerque, NM, USA and obviously it worked enough to call the Sprint people.  the lady just kept telling me the phone doesn't work in Mexico so i hung up. 

Another case that happened when we were there was some school or church choir or youth sports,etc group traveled in a van to Florida or Georgia to perform.  They were returning and the rental van broke down.  I think it broke down in Louisiana.  in order to get a replacement rental van, they had to show their drivers' licenses.  they did and of course, they were from New Mexico and of course, the license was in English, not Spanish.  the place refused to rent them the van.  This story got on the news.

I wouldn’t believe this if I didn’t read it here! 🙄

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Asking for directions or other questions like that, imo never tended to result in particularly rude responses from most NYCers—though sometimes in incorrect directions/answers (probably most often due to error not deliberately misleading).   t NYCers generally are happy to show off their city and their knowledge of it.  The problem tended to be when seen to be significantly holding up service or progress somewhere, not ordering fast enough, not parallel parking close enough to cars in front and behind (which is to say absurdly close by my Western standards, but probably normal seeming distance by some European standards.)  

I am a midwesterner who has never actually been to NYC or most other places in the north east (unless Niagara Falls counts lol)  

But, was a call center employee in two separate call centers, one outbound and one inbound, for a number of years each.  And your reference to "significantly holding up service," yeah, that's where people got cranky on the phone.   It takes time to pull up airline rates, and man, come back from a short hold and people in the Northeast were *IRKED* off.  So much impatience.  I can't make the system go any faster.

 

Having said that, this midwesterner also has a strength in customer service, so I was usually able to diffuse them back down.  And of course, obviously, people not in the NE were still often rude and impatient.  But, yeah, experience over years receiving calls from all over the country, people in the NE do tend to lack some patience when it comes to how fast things happen.  Or at least, that lack of patience seems to come more from the NE than from other areas of the country.

 

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