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Identity

Non-Americans are sharing the ‘dead giveaway’ someone is American and they are pretty right

The dead giveaway is when they call me "honey" or "sweetie" or "darling."

americans, american tourists, acting american
via Flickr, Flickr, and Flickr

Three American tourists enjoying the sights.

One of the most interesting things about traveling the world is noticing how people from your country are a bit different from the place you’re visiting. In America, you’re mostly around fellow countrymen so it’s hard to notice the things that make us stand out.

But when you travel abroad, you quickly notice that no matter how hard you try to blend in, there are a lot of dead giveaways that show people you’re from the states that go way beyond your accent.


A Reddit user named ILoveTallWomen asked the online forum “Non-Americans of Reddit, what is a dead giveaway that somebody is American?” to see what they think makes us stand out. “I'm not American and am curious about what other foreigners think,” they added.

There was one answer that people in the thread repeated over and over again—Americans are very friendly people. Countless commenters noted that Americans will approach anyone and start up a conversation. As a person from the U.S., I think that’s a positive stereotype. There’s nothing wrong with being overly friendly.

​People also noted that Americans tend to carry themselves with a lot of confidence and have an abundance of infectious enthusiasm.

On the negative side of things, a lot of people also noted that Americans are loud and have questionable fashion sense. We stand out abroad because we love staying comfortable by wearing white socks and sneakers on just about any occasion.

Maybe we’re happy because our feet don’t hurt?

Here are 17 of the best responses to the dead giveaways that someone is American.

Upworthy Podcast: Dead Giveaways Someone is American

On a recent episode of Upworthy Weekly, hosts Alison Rosen and Tod Perry discuss the internet's hottest, most uplifting and most amusing topics - including d...

1.

The most popular poster shared a list:

  • Wearing sneakers with anything
  • Big smiles, firm handshakes
  • Lots of Northface products
  • Renting Segways for sightseeing tours (sometimes using those on cobblestone)
  • Using big adjectives generously ("Wow, your aunt's kidney stones sound awesome!", "This Euroshopper beer tastes great!")
  • Clapping and cheering
  • Telling one's whole life story within 15 minutes of meeting them
  • Loving stories and narratives in general (which makes them fun companions) — [Deleted]

2.

"Apart from the accent? Mostly its the 'prepared for anything' look they have about them (fanny pack, backpack, bottled water, camera pouch) compared to various other tourists - Asians tend to herd together for safety, while Europeans vary between blend-right-in Scandinavian to designer-brands-everywhere French and traffic-laws-are-for-others Italian. But Americans are the only ones who seem to view a perfectly civilised, modern city like some kind of uncharted jungle that doesn't have places to shelter in the rain or buy cheap bottled water." — Yorkshire_Pudden

3.

"Incredibly loud but incredibly friendly." — kevio17

4.

"I asked my wife (Japanese) she said 'In Japan I can spot Americans by the way they dress. Compared to Europeans, Americans tend to lack fashion sense.'" — RegionFree

5.

"When you can hear them before you see them." — C1t!zen_Erased

6.

"'On the streets they are instantly recognizable. They walk in an ugly indifferent manner, usually with their hands in their pockets. Or they're leaning against a pole or wall with a newspaper in their hand and gum in their mouth. According to the people who met them they are more human than the English, for example, whenever someone needs help they do it quicker and better than the English.' — My Grandpa in the Netherlands. In a letter to his sister. June 4th 1945." — MidnightWineRed

7.

"North Face jackets. I went to college in the US (I'm not American) and when I went home for my first winter break wearing my brand new North Face jacket my friend asked me if I was given American citizenship with the purchase." — merbonobo

8.

"I'm English, but I've lived here for 14 years. It's pretty obvious just from your demeanour. Americans generally are more confident in the way they present themselves, most other countries tend to be more reserved. Walk into a room full of different nationalities, I guarantee the American person will be the first to introduce themselves. It's a confidence thing, and I admire it." — zerbey

9.

"When I was visiting Germany in college, a girl said to me, 'Do you know how I know you're an American? You wear white socks.' Needless to say, I haven't worn white socks since." — ars3nal

10.

"We (Americans) describe distances in driving time, as opposed to miles or kilometers. My European relatives always make fun of me for having no clue how far away the next town is, but knowing exactly how long it takes to get there." — hbombs86

11.

"Canadian here...the dead giveaway is when they call me 'honey' or 'sweetie' or 'darling.' I fucking love Americans and I love those terms of endearment!" — AraEnzeru

12.

"Dead giveaway: They're surprised we can drink a beer (or any alcohol) in public in my country." — P1r4nha

13.

"European here ... there's a noticeable trend among Americans to wear jeans, t-shirts, and hooded sweaters when they're abroad. Lots of branded goods too (North Face, A&F, Hollister, Ed Hardy mostly). And in summer, a great percentage of the cargo-shorts-wearers are Americans. But among all that, visible tattoos on otherwise 'normal-looking' people (i.e. not looking like street thugs) are a common indicator too. Americans love tats." — I_AM_A_IDIOT_AMA

14.

"In WWII, my grandpa's company had a problem with German spies. At night the guards could not tell if intruders were returning patrols or enemy soldiers; especially since the spies spoke with flawless American accents. Before opening the gates, they tried asking questions like "What's the capital of Nebraska?" but it didn't always work since the Germans were highly trained and could answer most of the trivia questions. Finally, they stumbled upon a simple but effective test. They would ask them to sing the 4th verse of the Star-Spangled Banner. He told me 'If they start singing, then you shoot 'em. No American knows the 4th verse.' Turns out the whole song had been included in one of the German espionage training manuals." -- [Deleted]

15.

"They ask you what you do." — Askalotl

16.

"They say 'like' a lot and seem to start sentences with 'so' for no apparent reason. Good bunch, though." — [Deleted]

17.

"MM/DD/YYYY." — dusmeyedin


This article originally appeared on 2.20.23

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