While there are many different habits in different parts of the United States, there are also customs that are common throughout the entire country. What is commonplace to people in the U.S. is truly strange to people in other parts of the world. From tipping generously to having a large portion of every meal, here are some things that Americans do that everyone else finds scary. Scroll down for a list of strange things Americans do that other countries will never understand. You will be shocked at what other countries really think of America.
Smiling at Strangers
Many would say that it is even stranger to question the politeness of American tourists, but the question would be, why do Americans smile at strangers they don’t know and will never meet?
This makes no sense to most people, most Americans smile back, but people from other countries may be surprised to find random people smiling. Some might even leave extra space between themselves and the person with the creepy smile.
Impressed by Ancient History
The United States has a short history compared to the rest of the world, and it is easy for people around the world to forget that when they see Americans rejoicing at ancient historical sites.
Americans’ awe and curiosity about relics and historic sites baffle people abroad. I must say that nothing in our country is thousands of years old.
We wear shorts all year round.
A sure way to tell an American from a foreigner is to look for someone who wears shorts during the strangest time of the year. I don’t know why they do this, but it seems to be a common phenomenon among American tourists.
There is nothing wrong with wearing shorts that are appropriate for the season, but it is not normal to see people’s kneecaps in sub-zero or rainy weather. Regardless of the weather, Americans seem to stop feeling any temperature when they leave the US.
Expect everyone to speak English
There is no denying that English is the universal language, but just because there are American tourists does not mean that everyone from every country must speak English.
Many American tourists do not understand this and get frustrated when they visit other countries and cannot understand the language. Google Translate is a lifesaver, teaching you basic words and phrases without being rude.
Tell them exactly what city you are from.
When I ask an American, “Where in the U.S. are you from?” and you may have heard the answer, “I’m from a small town in Nebraska. Usually they have never heard of this place, but Americans think they know every town in every state.
Remembering so many states and places can easily blur together. So if I say, “I’m from Ramsey,” most people won’t know if it’s north or south, east or west, or even not in this country. Sometimes it is no good to be specific.
Wearing socks and sandals
One trend that even Americans don’t understand is the wearing of socks and sandals. If you want to hide your feet, wouldn’t it be wiser to wear sneakers? People often wear sandals to let their feet breathe, but what is the point of wearing sandals?
I don’t know what inspired Americans to start this fad, but it does look strange. At least if you wear slingback sandals you don’t get sunburned, but even your socks get sunburned, so I don’t know which is worse.
My strange obsession with ranch dressing
Ranch dressing is as American as playing football, using Fahrenheit, or not having enough money to pay for college. Americans are obsessed with ranch and will add ranch to any dish, whether it is pizza, chicken fingers, or ranch flavored soda.
As Americans, we find ranch dressing very satisfying when we pair it with a variety of foods. However, our favorite dip is hard to find overseas. The reason why is that they don’t like or understand how to accentuate their dining experience.
You can get paid to greet people at the store.
One of the things that newcomers to the U.S. find strange is that people pay you to greet them at the store. You are not entering someone’s home or buying groceries, so why should someone welcome you?
Some Americans don’t understand the concept of greeters, but they bring joy to the mundane task of shopping. Perhaps the store thinks that if they welcome their customers, they are less likely to steal from them.
School meals are not edible.
School lunches are different in different countries around the world. The typical cafeteria lunch is different in every country, but the United States is probably the worst. Cornflakes and milk at 11 a.m. are uncomfortable for many people.
With the mysterious meat and slop, it’s hard to understand why people in other countries try to buy lunch in the school cafeteria. Even Americans feel closed to the food they were fed in elementary school.
The big gaping hole in the door of a private restroom
Have you ever walked into a public restroom and wondered if you could have had a better experience if you had made eye contact with the person behind the door? I’m guessing most people don’t think about it that way because toilets are places of privacy.
In any other country, private restrooms don’t have big gaps where you can do your business in peace and quiet. In America, going into a public restroom is like not knowing who’s coming to a show because anyone can see you.
Sharing a dorm room with a stranger
People who go to school in the United States have to share small, closet-sized rooms, sometimes with strangers. There is simply no privacy and no one wants to witness another teenager’s sexual excitement.
In other parts of the world, they live at home or rent a house with friends, but are not usually forced to live in a dorm room with strangers. People around the world are confused by the lifestyle of American college students.
Wearing Hawaiian shirts while on vacation outside of Hawaii
Although Hawaii is part of the United States, it seems to have become a travel stereotype that people who have never been to Hawaii often wear brightly colored button-down shirts when they go abroad.
Hawaiian shirts are usually worn with cargo shorts, a baseball cap and a large canvas bag. And, don’t forget sandals and socks. If you find an American traveler dressed like this, you can pick through the crowd.
All money comes in the same color.
The dollar may be strong, but it’s not exciting. In most countries, money comes in different colors and sizes for each amount, and money with metal trim looks better than green and black designs.
For those who have to take bills out of their wallets as soon as they enter a country, it can be difficult to distinguish between the different values of money.
It is well known that Americans love to eat. It’s fun to travel around the world and eat different cuisines from different countries. It’s an experience you can only have once and never forget.
When people from the United States leave the country, they are confused by the small portions of food. They ask for larger portions because they are not used to eating tapas and Mediterranean food in a country that usually serves it.
The only country that uses the British metric system
Not sure why the US is the only country that still uses the metric system, but people seem to be stubbornly learning it when they leave the country. It’s as if they are allergic to the metric system.
I guess the problem arises when you work across countries because all the other countries use a different scale. Americans must have problems when they go abroad because they don’t know what to measure.
Bringing home leftovers from restaurants
Because of the amount of food available in the United States, there are a lot of leftovers that people get doggy bags to take home. To be fair, this is a commendable practice and people don’t waste the food left on their plates.
If you ask if you can take your leftovers home, you might get a strange look because it’s not something you would normally ask for. In many European restaurants, it’s considered rude to ask for something like this.
Put more ice in your drink than liquid.
Putting ice in most drinks is a uniquely American habit. In many countries, ice is not added, not only because it detracts from the flavor of the drink, but also because of its questionable origin. Ice also takes up space in the actual drink.
Some places will put a small amount of ice in the drink, such as a cold drink at Starbucks, but it doesn’t take up most of the cup. Buying an expensive drink with mostly ice in the cup is not a fun thing to do, so it’s understandable that other stores find it odd.