17 American quirks we don't realize are super weird to people from other countries.

Americans are often criticized when they go abroad for being ignorant of other languages, cultures, and geography.

While some see it as a sign of arrogance, it's also a symptom of America’s physical isolation from the rest of the globe and its political and cultural dominance over the past century.

To put it simply: You probably don’t need to speak another language when almost everyone else speaks yours.


However, as a younger nation preoccupied with itself, America has yet to develop the self-awareness that older countries have had for centuries. Blinded by a misplaced sense of superiority, many Americans don't realize that some of the things we do are bizarre to people abroad.

Many are put off by our overzealous patriotism, expensive health care, violence, and gluttonous eating habits. While, conversely, they love our friendliness, creativity, and business savvy.

To help Americans develop a better sense of how the world sees them, Reddit user timetofeedthemonster asked non-Americans on the online forum: “What are some quirks Americans don't realize are super weird?

Here are 17 of the most eye-opening responses.

  1. News
Your news stations and reporters telling people how to feel. Like when something bad happens the reporters will describe it as shocking and horrific and go on to talk about the emotional aspect of the event, etc often throwing in their own personal comments in between. I watch a lot of different news sources from a lot of different countries and America is the only country of seen where the news has a subjective aspect to it, rather than reporters simply objectively reporting current events

Also news stations blatantly having a political bias

— Reddit user, TheRealDTrump

2. Alcohol laws

Why are alcohol laws so strict? Having to be 21 to drink alcohol and being able to drive at 16 is just absurd in my opinion. Also why can't you enjoy a beer while going for a walk outside?

— Reddit user, MemeDeli

3. We're overly excited

Shouting "WOOO" every time something happens.

— Reddit user, ilvoitpaslerapport

4. Bathrooms

You have like a 3" gap around all your bathroom stall doors for everyone to see in. It's like you may as well not bother with the doors all together.

— Reddit user, redisthemagicnumber

5. Education

Keep paying your college studies until you are 40.. wtf

— Reddit user, OpeThO

6. Health care

Your health care system.

— Reddit user, MacLenski

7. Our legal system

Americans use suing as a threat. I heard a lot of stuff like "If that happened to me I'd sue their ass" from Americans and never from any other people. Do you really sue each other often?

— Reddit user, nothing_in_my_mind

8. Food portions

Been living in US for nine years now and the food portion sizes still baffle me. I mean, I'm down for leftovers anytime, but holy shit, they're still excessively large. Also, I don't understand why slippers haven't caught on. I mean, they're comfy af.

— Reddit user, Unheroic_

9. The pledge

Reciting the pledge of allegiance in schools. It feels like something right out of North Korea.

— Reddit user, ChickenInASuit

10. Our views on heritage

How you think you’re Italian and Irish if your great great great grandparents were.

Reddit user, NoviceCaprica

11. The volume of our voices

Why are American tourists so damn loud? They always act like nobody else can understand English.

— Reddit user, MemeDeli

12. Ass touching

American athletes slapping each others arses.

— Reddit user, JADO88-UK

13. Excessive patriotism

Flags everywhere. What, do you forget which country you are from?

— Reddit user, Stats_Sexy

14. Patriotic correctness run amok

How "un-American" is probably the worst insult possible.

— Reddit user, Hunter40505

15. The whole states thing

Most Americans answer with the state they're from when asked, instead of country. As if all American states are known worldwide. Most of you wouldn't have a clue if the rest of the world did the same.

— Reddit user, PhilNEvo

17. Over-indulgent Christmas decorations

Extreme X-MAS decorations.

— Reddit user, Neutrum

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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