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I can’t imagine anyone listening to Stella over the years and thinking she hates America or Americans.  I know that’s not true.  
actually I can’t think of a single poster here who I’d be able to say definitively hates anything, much less an entire country.   We all have our dislikes and there are certain groups i steer clear of but I try (try is the operative word...) not to hate.  I think most people here are the same way.    

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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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7 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

On a message board?  Generally, no I don't, but generally, unless a person makes it known particularly where they are from, I would have no way of knowing which "manners" to use.

As a person living in the midwest of the US, who travels very little at this point, I actually don't encounter people from outside the US very often.  The closest interaction I have my the guy my DD23 is dating.  He is from India and honestly...........I wouldn't know what "talking to people from India" manners would be.  I do my best to be polite, nice, welcoming to our family, etc etc.  Am I supposed to have special manners to talk to him?  He doesn't seem to be offended by DH and I just being us?  (but then generally I don't think we are particularly rude or obnoxious....I am loud but not nasty.....)

The best way I can explain to you is, you know when you go over to a friend's house and you're able to relax and let the conversation flow?  That's the non American to non American.

Non American to American is more like you're visiting your very particular, judgemental mother in law, and you have to constantly watch what you say cause it may bite you in the rear.

The love is the same but the communication within the relationships is different.

Hope this helps! You seemed genuinely curious. 🙂

Please don't take my choice of words literally. It is only an analogy.

 

 

Edited by Islandgal
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Of course one of the first things I learned here is that many boardies don't get my sense of humor either.  There have been thousands of times that I edited my comments or deleted them all together rather than risk offending people unintentionally.

Not just because of sensitivities, but because it tends to derail conversations, and whatever substantive point gets totally lost.

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22 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Do non Americans have “talking to...” code for everyone not of their own culture? “.  Like “talking to South Africans” manners?   Do Oeople from the UK have “talking to Australians” manners?   Do Australians have “ talking to Britians” manners?   Do New Zealanders have “Talking to Australians” manners?

I can say that when I lived in the UK, I did have different "talking to Brits" manners compared to the way I would talk to another American. For one thing, requests tend to be much less direct and prefaced with something like "If you wouldn't mind..." or "I don't mean to be a bother, but..." or "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, may I please...," etc. Brits also tend to say "sorry" a lot, even when it's not their fault, and to insist that something isn't a bother even when it is. They're also much less likely to complain about things Americans tend to be quite assertive about, like service or food. You can be served food that is overcooked, over salted, and practically cold, and when the waitress asks if everything is OK, most Brits will just nod and say it's fine. So you can imagine the impression it makes when an American snaps his fingers to get a waiter's attention, complains about the food (and even sends it back), complains about slow service, etc. I once had lunch with an American woman and her teenaged son who were visiting the UK, and he ordered sticky toffee pudding for dessert without really knowing what it was. When the waitress asked if he wanted cream with that he said yes. When she set the dessert in front of him he immediately said "That's NOT what I ordered, I ordered pudding with whipped cream!" It was explained that "pudding" meant something different in the UK, and that desserts were often served with heavy cream that was not whipped, but he was totally put out, and his mother insisted they not be charged for it because they couldn't possibly have known that toffee pudding with cream would turn out to be "a wet muffin with milk poured over it." Then they talked about how weird British food was, and how Brits don't know how to make toast or French fries.

I confess that I once went "ugly American" myself at a posh hair salon, after the hairdresser totally ignored all my instructions (and photos) and gave me a cut that was not remotely what I asked for, even though I repeatedly told him while he was cutting it that I was not happy with the direction things were going. When I checked out, one of the receptionists said "wow, that is quite a change — do you like it?" and I was so mad I blurted out "No, I freaking hate it, it's not remotely what I asked for, and I'm going to walk three blocks up the street to John Lewis, soak my head in the ladies room sink, take the train home, and immediately call another salon to fix this mess!" And the entire staff and all the clients just stared at me like... 😱😱😱  So that was my contribution to the loud-mouthed American stereotype in 1990's Britain. 😜

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50 minutes ago, Mbelle said:

I was shocked when I first went to Aus to find out how much these 2 countries get on each others nerves.  It is well beyond US/Canada (although I'm southern and Canada is so far away that kind of thing doesn't really exist here like border states)   Anyway, when I first went to AUS I heard how the Kiwi's were weird, had a chip on their shoulder and defensive and there's something wrong with them.  I couldn't believe it.  I thought they were making it up, but they weren't.

edited:  I mean by making it up that I thought they were Aussie teasing.

 

I don’t think border area USA Americans and Canadians do tend to get on each other’s nerves.    Can’t speak to Australia/New Zealand nerves. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

Ive only seen it in movies.  I’d gasp so loud I’d suck the food off my plate if someone did that with me.  

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5 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

I have never seen anyone do this IRL.

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3 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

We rarely eat out, but that has never happened with any group I've been with. Usually where we are from, someone will half raise a hand to catch their eye or say "excuse me" as the server is walking by.

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7 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

Polite people do not. But I've seen it and cringed. Not my table BTW.

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6 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I can say that when I lived in the UK, I did have different "talking to Brits" manners compared to the way I would talk to another American. For one thing, requests tend to be much less direct and prefaced with something like "If you wouldn't mind..." or "I don't mean to be a bother, but..." or "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, may I please...," etc. Brits also tend to say "sorry" a lot, even when it's not their fault, and to insist that something isn't a bother even when it is. 

 

This fits my experience also.  

I find my son telling me in USA, that I’m not direct enough.  Or people say, “just spit it out” to try to move me past my prefaces.  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Talking to Americans manners differs from talking to other non-Australians manners. 
Can't comment on what New Zealanders think. Mostly we're in a shame spiral about them because they've got a better prime minister than we have.

I see your shame spiral and raise you!

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16 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

 

Rarely.  It’s considered rude.   I did not see the movie, but would presume it would indicate the rude type of guy a character who did it is.  

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13 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

 

Sometimes, but not often.  It’s quite common to wave down a passing waiter with your hand, but the snapping thing always seemed really rude to me, like you were getting a dog or small child’s attention.

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3 minutes ago, Paige said:

Polite people do not. But I've seen it and cringed. Not my table BTW.

Yeah, I lived in Los Angeles for 11 years, and it's not uncommon among people who think their time is so much more valuable than anyone else's. I was once set up on a blind lunch date with a guy who was a screen-writer, and it was the most cringe-worthy 2 hours of my life. 🤮

 

3 minutes ago, Pen said:

This fits my experience also.  

I find my son telling me in USA, that I’m not direct enough.  Or people say, “just spit it out” to try to move me past my prefaces.  

My ex-husband is British, and when we were first living together he would say things like "Since you're in the kitchen and all, if you're not too busy and it wouldn't be too much trouble, would you mind terribly making me a cup of tea?" and I'd say "You can leave out the Jane Austen intro and just ask for a cup of tea, you know!" 😂

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I'm late to the thread and what a ride.  I feel like I stereotype large swaths of America the same way our common wealth friends are.  Mericans is what we call jokingky call them.  We call ourselves it when we are being a little extra.  I know all Americans aren't they way obviously but they definitely exist in fairly large quantities.

I'm pretty sure all the stereotypes about being loud and taking up too much space etc..apply to me if I'm comfortable with friends and having fun.  If I'm in a small group or at all uncomfortable I tend to clam up completely and would probably be a model visitor. Lol.  

 

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2 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.


It is rude to snap the fingers for a waiter or to ask for the bill. However in a noisy Chinese restaurant, it isn’t unusual for someone to snap their fingers, whistle or holler for the waiter. The whistling is the emergency whistle kind of style, not the wolf whistle kind.

(ETA: 
I meant snapping one’s fingers to ask for the bill. It’s snap the fingers followed by signing (make a motion like that of signing a check) for bill. It’s useful in noisy crowded restaurants but it’s informal impolite. )

2 hours ago, Islandgal said:

Non American to American is more like you're visiting your very particular, judgmental mother in law, and you have to constantly watch what you say cause it may bite you in the rear.


I have people assumed I can’t understand English and say stuff that are derogatory, in US and other English speaking countries.

2 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

The only person I've ever heard do that was an Iranian man living here in the US.. and married to an American.  He would often opine about how much better the food was in Iran.  Especially the fruits and veggies.  So much better than bland American fruits and veggies.  He would say this every time we ate with him.   We thought it was sweet.  He was nostalgic for his own country and we suspected he was probably right.  American store-bought fruits and veggies probably are less flavorful than what you can buy in Iranian markets.  


I do miss certain Asian foods because Panda Express is Americanized Chinese food, the Asian food at Trader Joe’s are not really authentic though some are pretty close. However, I would not belittle the food when I am in another country or as a guest somewhere. Its the “don’t say anything if you have nothing good to say” house rule I was brought up on, unless I was supposed to write a food critic article. Even then I would say the food is bland, and lack spices, rather than American food is substandard. 

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On 1/14/2020 at 5:00 PM, StellaM said:

[SNIP]

American militarism, the presence of American military and the perception of being dragged into American wars (more recent historical context). Increased American content sold to us. 

So there's a background feeling of being used and marketed to, in the guise of an allyship that's pretty much lip service post WW.

When Americans are criticised here, it seems to be when they are unaware of the people around them. I'll give you a petty example. We get a  lot of cruise ships in. Quite often, when Americans are off the ship, they seem to lack spatial awareness of the people in the city going about their business. They block footpaths. They're loud. They don't appear to have much sense of being guests. This doesn't happen in the same way or to the same extent with tourists of other nationalities. I wonder if some US tourists are just used to taking up a lot more space ? 

Although a petty example, I think it can stand in for a lot of the things people object to (when they do object, which is clearly not always, see above :)) Not standing back and respecting the culture you just arrived in, sort of a cultural stomping over it in some ways. Feeling free to comment on what they see, regardless of whether its culturally appropriate. Being loud, being overbearing in manner. 

[SNIP]

 

As an American, these are things I dislike about other Americans: There seems to be no awareness-of and consideration-for others, either culturally or just in a mundane way.  And the crass commercialism and militarism - ugh. 

I figured it was just human nature for those with no self-awareness.  Do you not find these traits in people from other countries?

Sometimes I think I really should move to another country...

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Yep.  The negative reactions to the international crowd who in good faith answered the OP are examples of the mindset and behaviors that feed negative perceptions of Americans.  And yep, the hypersensitivity is yet another thing about Americans this American finds annoying.  I told you in my earliest post some of us have to deal with this all.the.time.  Being offended is the National Sport here.

Being a moderator can't be easy. 

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1 hour ago, Corraleno said:

I can say that when I lived in the UK, I did have different "talking to Brits" manners compared to the way I would talk to another American. For one thing, requests tend to be much less direct and prefaced with something like "If you wouldn't mind..." or "I don't mean to be a bother, but..." or "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, may I please...," etc. Brits also tend to say "sorry" a lot, even when it's not their fault, and to insist that something isn't a bother even when it is. They're also much less likely to complain about things Americans tend to be quite assertive about, like service or food. You can be served food that is overcooked, over salted, and practically cold, and when the waitress asks if everything is OK, most Brits will just nod and say it's fine. So you can imagine the impression it makes when an American snaps his fingers to get a waiter's attention, complains about the food (and even sends it back), complains about slow service, etc. I once had lunch with an American woman and her teenaged son who were visiting the UK, and he ordered sticky toffee pudding for dessert without really knowing what it was. When the waitress asked if he wanted cream with that he said yes. When she set the dessert in front of him he immediately said "That's NOT what I ordered, I ordered pudding with whipped cream!" It was explained that "pudding" meant something different in the UK, and that desserts were often served with heavy cream that was not whipped, but he was totally put out, and his mother insisted they not be charged for it because they couldn't possibly have known that toffee pudding with cream would turn out to be "a wet muffin with milk poured over it." Then they talked about how weird British food was, and how Brits don't know how to make toast or French fries.

I confess that I once went "ugly American" myself at a posh hair salon, after the hairdresser totally ignored all my instructions (and photos) and gave me a cut that was not remotely what I asked for, even though I repeatedly told him while he was cutting it that I was not happy with the direction things were going. When I checked out, one of the receptionists said "wow, that is quite a change — do you like it?" and I was so mad I blurted out "No, I freaking hate it, it's not remotely what I asked for, and I'm going to walk three blocks up the street to John Lewis, soak my head in the ladies room sink, take the train home, and immediately call another salon to fix this mess!" And the entire staff and all the clients just stared at me like... 😱😱😱  So that was my contribution to the loud-mouthed American stereotype in 1990's Britain. 😜

Oh goodness. The over politeness, the apologizing constantly...that’s the South. “If you don’t mind, I don’t want to be a bother...”

1 hour ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

 

54 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

Ive only seen it in movies.  I’d gasp so loud I’d suck the food off my plate if someone did that with me.  

Goodness. My 18yo dd works in a restaurant. She Has occasional diners who do snap at waitresses. It’s awful. And she says it makes her want to bite their fingers off. 

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6 hours ago, frogger said:

 

Ha, Sorry Wintermom. 9 pages is just too much. Sorry. I see I was just remembering a giant W and I don't know wathe just you. 🙂  

 

Not that I want to pretend to be Canadian but I have  liked most of the Canadians I've met. 🙂 

 

I generally call myself an Alaskan anyway when traveling. I don't say, "I'm an American. " I tend to say "I'm an Alaskan."  Not many other states do that. Maybe Texas 🤣 and Hawaiians?

Californian. But no one wants to claim being Californian when abroad😂 See all stereotypes about California. And Holllywood.

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44 minutes ago, Arcadia said:


It is rude to snap the fingers for a waiter or to ask for the bill. 

 

The second here is interesting.  I didn’t know it could be rude to ask for a bill.  Just in case I can ever afford to travel someday, where is this considered rude?  In Asia?

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I've found this thread interesting and bothersome and kind of all over the road for me, ha. American here, who lived many years overseas in several different countries. I've seen the ugly American and cringed, especially when I'd lived overseas awhile and understood how they'd be taken in the particular context I was in. I've watched the news and felt embarrassed. I've resented it when I overheard a person native to the country I was living in discussing with someone else how he'd become an American citizen because of Social Security, and made it clear (through other comments I'll leave out here) that he was just taking advantage of what he could, with no real affection for our country.

I've been both treated better because I'm an American, and been treated hostilely for the same. I've developed my own stereotypes of groups and nationalities based on observations and interactions, right or wrong. I'm sure I've contributed to some stereotypes as well, hopefully good, but no guarantees. I've probably had some habits either due to my being an American or due to my own personal quirks, that felt disrespectful to those in my host countries. I've been asked questions that clearly reflected stereotypes built upon television shows. There were times my frustrations (culture shock, anyone?) outspoke my common sense and patience. I love my country, and am so happy to be living in it again, but I also cringe sometimes at the type of patriotism that has changed tone since I was a kid. Or maybe I just see it through the overseas lens now.

So a few thoughts: There are arrogant and obnoxious people living all over the world. There are selfless and kind people living all over the world. Sometimes those two groups get confused because: There are lots of misunderstandings that happen due to both large and small differences in culture, even within our own country. Having grace toward one another's maladaptations and misspeaks is helpful. I'm thankful people had grace toward me. When you travel or move to another country, you go as a humble learner. There are things that I (internally) scorned in my early travels, that later I understood and even adopted as my own, feeling shame at my earlier attitudes. Don't be surprised that people really do actually live differently than they do in your country, in what they do, how they eat, how they speak, what they think, and so on. I mean, you know it in your head, but when you are actually there and encounter it, you are still surprised sometimes. When you are the host country, respect the visitor. And now maybe I'm coming across as the American know-it-all. But I've definitely made more than my share of cultural mistakes. I'm probably still making plenty as I readjust to the U.S., and to a new-to-me part of the country. I'm so grateful that people have been patient with me and let me learn and be enriched by their cultures and themselves.

As to this board, I do some "talk to the WTM forums" speak, especially when starting a thread, because I have trepidations about where it might end up. Sometimes it takes a completely different path, sometimes a simple question receives answers that are way more than what was asked, etc.

Just some meandering thoughts I've had as I've read this.

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7 minutes ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

The second here is interesting.  I didn’t know it could be rude to ask for a bill.  Just in case I can ever afford to travel someday, where is this considered rude?  In Asia?


I meant snapping one’s fingers to ask for the bill. It’s snap the fingers followed by signing (make a motion like that of signing a check) for bill. It’s useful in noisy crowded restaurants but it’s informal impolite. 

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1 hour ago, KungFuPanda said:

I see your shame spiral and raise you!

I had a nice chat with a young waiter in Sydney about US politics-apparently he and some of his friends have a betting pool on certain US figures. Kind of embarrassing to realize a) your home country's politics are being treated as a sport and b) said young man was FAR more knowledgeable than some Americans! 

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4 minutes ago, Arcadia said:


I meant snapping one’s fingers to ask for the bill. It’s snap the fingers followed by signing (make a motion like that of signing a check) for bill. It’s useful in noisy crowded restaurants but it’s informal impolite. 

 

Oh, yes, I misunderstood.

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2 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

No. We're saying it is part of the cultural baggage.

I didn't personally dispossess any Indigenous Australians from this land. They'd been booted off long before my brother bought this house. It's still cultural baggage though. 

Yes. Cultural baggage from the UK, firstly, and then the US.  Double wham. At least you live a long way away from big brother and big mama. Lucky you! We Canadians are kind of sandwiched between the two - hence our "natural polite talk." We get loads of practice. 😉  We also have the other big brother of France to deal with, and it's descendants. 

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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

I apologize if my question isn't clear.

 

What I am asking is if people who aren't from the US have different "talking to X" manners for all the various cultures they encounter.  The original statement was non Americans using "talking to Americans" manners.  So my question is.....are there "talking to Columbians" manners?  Are there "talking to Canadians" manners?"  "Talking to Russians" manners?   And so on and so forth.

Does every culture get "Talking to X" manners, or is it only Americans who require such things?

YES!!! The book I referenced above, The Culture Map, goes into how often communication gets messed up quickly between cultures because of different styles of communication. This is not because "Americans are____", but because every culture has different communication styles, and if you are trying to communicate effectively with people from other contexts, it works best to at least understand the basics of how communication styles differ. If one has lived in only one culture, it is hard to realize how cultural communication is. 

Even with my FOO vs my DH's, we need to put on our "talking with X" manners. Not because either family is better or worse, but in order to effectively communicate without giving unintentional offense, it is best to understand the situation going in.

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3 minutes ago, annegables said:

YES!!! The book I referenced above, The Culture Map, goes into how often communication gets messed up quickly between cultures because of different styles of communication. This is not because "Americans are____", but because every culture has different communication styles, and if you are trying to communicate effectively with people from other contexts, it works best to at least understand the basics of how communication styles differ. If one has lived in only one culture, it is hard to realize how cultural communication is. 

Even with my FOO vs my DH's, we need to put on our "talking with X" manners. Not because either family is better or worse, but in order to effectively communicate without giving unintentional offense, it is best to understand the situation going in.

 

Another really fascinating read is Foreign to Familiar - she (loosely) categorizes cultures into "hot / cold climate" cultures. Rock solid practical advice on how NOT to offend the "other" culture while TRYING to be polite. 

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2 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Okay, so people really do that snap the fingers at waiters thing?

I thought that was something only Richard Gere could do when he was playing a zillionaire in the movies.

I’ve never seen it, ever, and would be aghast if I did.  I hate trying to get the waiter’s attention as it feels so pushy no matter how you do it.  I just stare at them until they glance my way and raise my eyebrows and smile and lift my finger a tiny bit.  I’m sure I’d be terrible at hailing a cab.  😄

———-

My parents are Americans who lived in England when I was small, in the late 70s.  They said they constantly (constantly) were curbing what they said so as not to offend.  

An example of when they failed to curb what they said: They held a little bible study in their home. One night the local antique dealer was the last to arrive.  He was that stereotypical antique dealer type of person—thin with a bow tie and always rather serious.  There were no chairs left by the time he arrived, so my dad said, “Well, Andrew, I guess you have the hot seat tonight!” and pointed at the rug.  It wasn’t meant to be mean.  It was just a mild (to my parents) joke and honestly, my dad would have sat on the rug, but Andrew was incredibly offended and said something like, “Well, I never!” and turned right around and walked out.  

Whoops.  

Another time, my dad also referred to the tv as the “boob tube” which was a common slang term back then (though maybe only in the US), and he completely horrified some women who were in the room with him. 

My parents have pretty big senses of humor and they said they simply could not show their humor, pretty much ever, because it was constantly being misunderstood. 

I suppose the AU boardies are feeling that way toward the US boardies: that their humor is completely misunderstood.

——-

Some of the stories on this thread have made me feel a little unsettled:  Particularly all those stories from the beginning of the thread where Americans traveled abroad and other people were “shocked I was an American.”  So, if you’re a decent person, people are shocked that you’re an American, which has the subtext that decent people can’t possibly nasty ol’ Americans? That was a bit difficult to read. Ouch. Maybe like when people are bad-mouthing homeschoolers in front of you and they say, “Well, not YOU of course...” but you wonder if behind your back, they absolutely do mean you.

———

I wonder if I come across as an overconfident American?  I wonder what that exactly looks like?  Unless “overconfident” is just code for “obnoxious”, and then I understand exactly what is meant by it.  A friend of mine once gave me the book “Assertiveness for Dummies” because she didn’t think I was assertive enough.  But I wonder if someone non-American would think I am assertive.  

I’m very curious about the “Americans are too confident” statements, and what that looks like to others.  Then again...my mother said that she missed the “assertive” American men when she lived in the UK.  Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t like aggressive jerk men, but she said she missed that American trope of the rugged Montana mountain man riding around on his horse, and the British men were soooo not like that and she missed being around that kind of man.  So...maybe that’s a sort of example of “confident” Americans?  To Americans it’s valued and to others it’s too over the top?

(And of course, those stories about my parents in the UK in the 70s are 40 years outdated!  But this thread reminded me of them.)

 

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2 hours ago, Pen said:

 

I don’t think border area USA Americans and Canadians do tend to get on each other’s nerves.    Can’t speak to Australia/New Zealand nerves. 

 

 

After 5 years living near the US and Canadian border, I'd say that Americans definitely got on the nerves of Toronto residents. Or at least, *I* got on the nerves of Toronto residents. 😛 

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2 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

Dude. You should've gone!

I considered it, and would have if it came with guarantees that it would only be a year or two, but these things can take on a life of their own and I couldn't risk an open-ended stay. Dh was also just beginning his transition away from that type of work and this would have only sucked him in further.  I don't regret how the big picture turned out, but I do know we missed out on a cool life experience by opting out.

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26 minutes ago, Garga said:

Some of the stories on this thread have made me feel a little unsettled:  Particularly all those stories from the beginning of the thread where Americans traveled abroad and other people were “shocked I was an American.”  So, if you’re a decent person, people are shocked that you’re an American, which has the subtext that decent people can’t possibly nasty ol’ Americans? That was a bit difficult to read. Ouch. Maybe like when people are bad-mouthing homeschoolers in front of you and they say, “Well, not YOU of course...” but you wonder if behind your back, they absolutely do mean you.
 

And IMO how rude and ignorant to act "shocked that [a non-obnoxious person] was an American."  Imagine the international reaction if an American said that kind of thing about someone from any country or background.

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1 minute ago, SKL said:

And IMO how rude and ignorant to act "shocked that [a non-obnoxious person] was an American."  Imagine the international reaction if an American said that kind of thing about someone from any country or background.

Yeah, but what does "shocked" really look like.  My guess is that the real life conversation was "Oh, you're American.  I didn't realize." This becomes "absolute shock" in the retelling. It could have been something as simple as they just assumed a person was another nationality until they heard the accent.

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10 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

I've just been reading along but have to jump in and opine that of the two sorts it's the red squirrels that are the villains.   Sure, there are more gray squirrels and they are bigger and not as cute, but they pretty much limit their annoying behaviors, like raiding the birdfeeder, to the great out-of-doors. I'm not even sure what it is they do that's annoying other than that, which is honestly a very minor annoyance.  I've never had a squirrel of either sort bother my garden - that's the woodchucks and bunnies and deer.   Red squirrels may be a bundle of cuteness, but they gnaw and nibble their way into your house and outbuildings and then gnaw and nibble and poo all over the insides of your house and insulation and wiring and all the stuff you have stored in your attic and garage...    Red squirrels are real stinkers.

Well, of course. Everyone who's ever read Miss Suzy knows that. 😉 Amazon summary: "Miss Suzy, a gray squirrel, lives 'in the tip, tip, top of a tall oak tree'-until a throng of mean red squirrels displaces her. She retreats to a dollhouse and meets some toy soldiers who help her reclaim her house."

One of my favorite childhood books.

Sorry, so random, I know. 🙂 

Carry on.

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35 minutes ago, Garga said:

 

Some of the stories on this thread have made me feel a little unsettled:  Particularly all those stories from the beginning of the thread where Americans traveled abroad and other people were “shocked I was an American.”  So, if you’re a decent person, people are shocked that you’re an American, which has the subtext that decent people can’t possibly nasty ol’ Americans? That was a bit difficult to read. Ouch. Maybe like when people are bad-mouthing homeschoolers in front of you and they say, “Well, not YOU of course...” but you wonder if behind your back, they absolutely do mean you.

 

 

I have thought that many a time, when people say a stereotype about a group I am a member of (religious, homeschooling, area of country, etc) and say, "but of course I dont mean you!!!!" Especially if the stereotype is an observation + judgement, or if there is a "two sides to the same coin" faults are similar to our virtues, type of thing. For instance, I am not good at conflict. That is a neutral observation. "Anne is doormat who cannot defend herself and is a terrible mom who would let strangers yell at her kids for no reason" is a judgement on that observation. The positive side of not being good at conflict is that I tend to go out of my way to not give offense and I retreat quickly. The bad side is that I tend not to stick up for myself. 

 

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5 hours ago, StellaM said:

No, I give up. Nobody listens, and they don't listen because they don't care. That's about the size of it.

(Plus I used up my squirrel story)

I think I listen, and I think others do, too. Really!

Also, yay squirrels! 🙂 

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3 minutes ago, MercyA said:

Well, of course. Everyone who's ever read Miss Suzy knows that. 😉 Amazon summary: "Miss Suzy, a gray squirrel, lives 'in the tip, tip, top of a tall oak tree'-until a throng of mean red squirrels displaces her. She retreats to a dollhouse and meets some toy soldiers who help her reclaim her house."

One of my favorite childhood books.

Sorry, so random, I know. 🙂 

Carry on.

Miss Suzy is one of my most favorite books ever! ❤️ My kids love Miss Suzy, too!

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20 minutes ago, kdsuomi said:

Another huge issue is that to many in the U.S. it is considered extraordinarily rude, mean-spirited, discriminatory, and even racist to slap a stereotype onto people from another nation just because of how some tourists act. Newsflash, you admit you only notice the loud and drunk American tourists from cruises, but you're missing a whole lot of well behaved Americans and putting everyone into the bad category. You can call us thin skinned all you want (but then go around and act the same when when saying that non-Americans just should talk or should create a dark forum) but to so many here the attitudes being shown are considered to be absolutely uncalled for because of how we approach these topics in the U.S. 

Regarding the bolded... if you are claiming that Americans are never rude, mean-spirited, discriminatory, or racist in the way they talk about people from other countries, then you must live under a rock. I mean there are pretty much daily tweets from, uh, "highly placed people in the US," that use terrible discriminatory language about people from other countries — and create policies that align with that language. So I find the whole "OMG we Americans would never be so rude as to talk about people this way!" pretty ironic, because I see Americans saying FAR worse things about foreigners, as well as fellow Americans with different values and beliefs, every single day, every time I open my laptop.

Also, I haven't seen any references to drunk American tourists, just some who are loud, sometimes obnoxious, and often clueless about local cultures. I believe the drunk comments were made by Aussies about what they assumed to be some of the stereotypes other countries might hold about Aussies. I've seen very few drunk American tourists, but lots and lots of loud, culturally insensitive ones. Of course I've seen nice polite American tourists, too, but the loud obnoxious ones certainly stand out more. Some of the worst examples of human beings I've ever met in my life were Americans who were adopting from SE Asia at the same time I was — I could tell some "Ugly American" stories that would truly blow your mind. But no one on this thread has ever said that ALL Americans should be "put into the bad category." Seriously — no one said that. So if you're not a loud, pushy, insensitive American when you travel abroad, then no one is talking about you. 

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I will also say that I live in a part of the US that I am not particularly fond of (we move a lot) and that many people not from here have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with. I have had to be very careful in monitoring how I speak of my feelings about this part of the country to those who are born and raised here. Other transplants can sympathize with me and some of the crazy out here, but a lot of what drives me crazy about here is unnoticed to those who have always swum in these waters (most of whom are lovely people).

When I travel to other places and people start bad-mouthing where I live and the people who live there, I am quick to defend the innocent! Not everyone who lives here is a total nutjob!!! Many of us think this place is crazy, too. But please dont disparage me because of a couple high-profile nutters.

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5 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:
7 hours ago, Mbelle said:

As an american who goes to Aus a lot and is married to one....

Australians tease and make fun of each other A LOT from my perspective.  They also use a lot of sarcasm.  Of course certain parts of the US use sarcasm too, but where I live it's used much less often and milder.  Anyway, all that can come across as a bit of bullying if you aren't used to it.   It's like many things with a cultural difference it's just the way it is.  

So true.  In Australia if we are polite to you we probably don’t like you.  If we like you you’ll know because you’ll have an insulting nickname and we’ll tease a tonne.

thats a stereotype but it’s also kinda true.

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2 minutes ago, parent said:

My favorite childhood story was squirrel Nutkin... but I hate squirrels.  Horrible nuisance, damaging things by chewing.  Any in our yard fall to peanut butter in a rat trap.

Wow, I wish I could broadcast a warning message to squirrels in your neighborhood.

They are just living their little lives, you know.

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5 hours ago, Mbelle said:

I was shocked when I first went to Aus to find out how much these 2 countries get on each others nerves.  It is well beyond US/Canada (although I'm southern and Canada is so far away that kind of thing doesn't really exist here like border states)   Anyway, when I first went to AUS I heard how the Kiwi's were weird, had a chip on their shoulder and defensive and there's something wrong with them.  I couldn't believe it.  I thought they were making it up, but they weren't.

edited:  I mean by making it up that I thought they were Aussie teasing.

Honestly as someone who has parents in both cultures this is mostly in fun.  Just don’t talk about underarm bowling or pavlova.

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I don't mind talking about stereotypes, or taking them seriously, or judging other peoples or cultures, or talking about the factual bases for differences in behavior between different groups of people.  What I mind, I guess, is the idea that you can only "punch up" - perhaps that comes from a perspective of being largely in the majority/ruling class, but it is what it is.  What I find dismaying is the idea that we can make fun of Americans, or talk about their failings, their stereotypical behavior and how we've seen examples of it in our own experience, etc., but it is morally wrong to do the same for other groups (to the point of I wouldn't be welcome on these boards if I applied this standard to various minority groups, and a thread about it would go very differently than this one has).  To some degree you can talk about the good/exceptional/successful stereotypes or generalizations about other cultures (Mexicans immigrants in America are family-oriented, Asian immigrants are hardworking, etc.) but not about the negative aspects of other cultures, races, religious groups (unless they are majority or popularly despised), and so on.

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52 minutes ago, StellaM said:

Sorry for being hyperbolic.

I would like to see a red squirrel one day.

Ah, but now you have to clarify, do you mean a virtuous tufty-eared European red squirrel (aka Squirrel Nutkin variety), or the villainous American red squirrel (aka Miss Suzy's tormentors?)

image.jpeg.a87bcec1537610eeb0f89baa0b175790.jpeg    vs        image.jpeg.2298629e4cf3a55fb49d156534916fbf.jpeg

Edited by Matryoshka
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18 minutes ago, MercyA said:

Wow, I wish I could broadcast a warning message to squirrels in your neighborhood.

They are just living their little lives, you know.

😥 They can come live in my yard, I put food out for the squirrels and possums and raccoons by the back fence. I had a semi-pet squirrel when I was little, he would run up and down the screen door in the kitchen at breakfast time, and I'd feed him cheerios. My dad had a pet squirrel that even lived in the house when he was a kid.

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This thread makes me never, ever want to travel out of the U.S. I live in the largest touristy destination in my state and see people from countries across the world. I have never once thought poorly of them regardless of how they behaved because I assume that their culture is different than ours. I'm sad to see that citizens of other countries can't accept that the American culture is different from theirs and instead are so easily offended by the difference.  Last week I ran into a group of German tourists. This was their third trip to the United States. They said the US was their favorite place to travel because, generally speaking, the people were so nice.  

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