Americans, quit trying to hide your culture when traveling abroad. These amused foreigners share what makes an American so easy to spot.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Mutts Making Conversation
One Dutch resident can spot an American if the conversation goes something like this: “Oh, you’re Dutch?! Cool, I’m part Dutch too! My great great grandmother’s cousin’s nephew twice removed was Dutch.”
An American commenter agrees, saying, “We’re just a bunch of mutts trying to make conversation, plus it helps me choose who to support in the World Cup.”
2: No Time for Vagueness
A classic giveaway that someone is American is when a foreigner asks where they’re from. “They will almost never say they’re from the US but the state that they live in.” An American defends the comment, saying they’re often met with “‘Well, yes, of course you’re from the US, I meant what state are you from?'”
3: Sporting the Goods
A British resident who grew up in a small village says people could spot an American “when you see a grandad wearing a baseball cap.”
4: Pearly Whites
An Asian American says locals in Asia can tell they’re American by their smile alone. “One time, I was riding a train by myself, and a businessman sat down in the seat next to me. We made eye contact and I smiled at him, and he was really taken aback…He knew immediately I wasn’t a local because Americans are a lot more willing to interact with strangers.”
5: Three Options
A Finnish person explains when a stranger smiles at another stranger on the street, locals immediately think of one of three things: “A. You assume he is drunk; B. He is insane; C. He’s an American.”
6: What a Queen
Using the words “ma’am” and “sir” is utterly American, according to one British observer. They love it, saying, “Being called ‘ma’am’ makes me feel like the Queen.”
7: Maximum Enthusiasm
“Being overly enthusiastic” is an ultra-American trait, many foreigners say. An American agreed, saying at home, people comment on how little emotion they show, and yet in Europe, people kept commenting that they were “always emotional.”
It’s hard to pinpoint a bigger American giveaway than a group of people abroad who start chanting “USA!” One person jokes that so many Americans start chanting that it expands the “area that is legally part of the United States.”
Americans show no fear, according to a commenter who says this is how they’ve heard Russians have seen them. “They just walk around happy and enthusiastic and expect nothing bad will happen to them.”
10: Good for Who?
A German says that the saying, “Good for you!” is a huge giveaway that someone is American. It’s jarring to them, given that the German translation is basically the equivalent of “‘Nice for you, but nobody cares.'”
11: Pitches Are for Baseball
A foreigner says when they hear “someone randomly do a high-pitched ‘WOOOOOOO’ in a public place,” they know they’re dealing with an American.
12: Answer in the Question
A Brit says Americans chat about where they’re from when making small talk, whereas their culture talks about the weather. They muse it “seems like it should swap because American weather is far more interesting than British weather and Britain is much smaller, so there’s more chance of having a mutual friend or area with a stranger.”
13: Happiness Factor
Americans “generally come across as a lot happier” than where one foreigner is from. They describe cheeriness and being upbeat as classic giveaways that someone is from the U.S.
14: Comedian Fail
A foreigner commented that the phrase “That’s funny” is a giveaway they’re talking to an American. It strikes them as odd that Americans would say it instead of laughing. Some Americans chimed in, advising that their fellow citizens were likely being polite since their comments likely weren’t funny enough to laugh at.
15: Metric Uh-Ohs
A classic American giveaway is “when they don’t use the metric system,” according to one foreigner. Hard to argue with that.
16: Hear Me Out
Americans are so darn loud, making them easy to spot, according to one foreigner. Another commenter agreed, saying, “Italian Americans especially.”
17: Running Shoes
Americans are “always wearing running shoes,” says one foreigner. An American responded, pointing out that when they were in Europe, wearing anything but running shoes wasn’t an option since they walked 10 to 15 miles per day.
18: Let It Sink In
One foreigner sums up an American giveaway with a single line. An American is an American if “100 years is a long time, and 100 miles is a short distance.”
19: No Guessing Needed
Who has time for guessing? “Don’t worry, they’ll tell you” if they’re American, says a commenter. Another disagrees, saying, “No, you are thinking of Texans.”
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