+
Pop Culture

Non-Americans reveal the things Americans do that they simply do not understand

Here are 19 things they just don't get.

americans, american culture, reddit

Things non-Americans just don't understand.

A recent viral Reddit thread revealed the everyday American customs that people in other countries have a difficult time understanding. There were so many things that were perplexing to people from other countries that the thread had more than 28,000 responses.

But don’t worry, it isn’t a long list of America bashing. It’s a fun list of things people across the world genuinely wonder about that gives a unique perspective on things we all take for granted.

The thread was started by Reddit user Surimimimi, who asked, “What things do Americans like and the rest of the world not so much?” Many of the responses were from Europeans who have a hard time appreciating certain American customs, cuisines and public facilities.


A big thing that non-Americans find unusual about Americans is our outspokenness. The commenters noted that Americans love speaking their minds on bumper stickers, lawn signs or telling somebody in public how they feel.

That’s probably because Americans are much more individualistic than Europeans. A Pew Research study from 2016 found that Americans are much more likely than our friends across the pond to believe they control their destiny and that it takes hard work to get ahead. Americans are also a lot more tolerant of offensive speech.

The American diet is also confusing to a lot of people. A lot of commenters pointed out that they have a hard time understanding America's love of ice-cold drinks and odd food combinations such as peanut butter and jelly or chicken and waffles.

But if everyone in the world was the same it would be a pretty boring place. So, as they say in France, “vive la différence!” which, in American English means, “Do your thing, man.”

Here are 19 things that Americans like and the rest of the world, not so much.

1.

"College sports. Particularly football and basketball. The rest of the world loves soccer, but nobody gives a hoot about it at the university level." — Scrappy_Larue

2.

"Opinion signs outside their houses. Like 'in this house we support...' I find it weird and unusual." — Bitten Onion

3.

"Bumper stickers." — Back2Bach

To which assortednut added:

"Sometimes I get the impression people put their entire political philosophy in the space of a bumper sticker."

4.

"This used to be much more prevalent in the US but food coloring. When I moved from Japan to the US, I was surprised at how colorful their foods were. These days Americans are now more keen to organic natural stuff so I see it less but it took me a while to realize that blue raspberry is not a real thing." — Awesome Asian

5.

"Root beer and ranch dressing. I brought some to Germany and had my friends try it and they said the root beer tasted like medicine. They politely tasted the dressing with celery and said 'Hmmm, interesting' but the look on their faces was that it was terrible ha." — nargleflargle

6.

"Cheerleaders." — liebe_rootBete

7.

"ICE. Filled till the brim before you pour any drink." — locoliga

8.

"24-hour stores. I was in Chicago working with a colleague from Switzerland who suddenly realized around midnight that he needed a network cable to configure a mobile router for a job the next morning. I told him that I'd meet him in the hotel lobby to drive him out to Walmart. He was happily surprised, as he had forgotten about the US's famous chain of Walmart stores." — Fondren_Richmond

9.

"Waffles with chicken." — glori-hallelujah

10.

"MM-DD-YYYY Date format." — javapyscript

11.

"Peanut butter and jelly." — FlyBuy3

12.

"Flags. So many American flags everywhere." — justmyfakename

13.

"Free soda refills at dine-in places." — Lostarchitorture

14.

"Free public restrooms. I know they're gross but they are nice to have." — vebidib774

15.

"Marching bands. If you’d played the flute in a marching band at my school you would have gotten pelted but in the US you can become a state hero." — Fuzzie_Lee

16.

"Handicap accessiblity. Old buildings/towns in Europe are nice, if both your legs work." — boxatel499

17.

"Lawns...what a waste." — TheFarce_Sighed

18.

"I'd like to say optimism, even if it's blind sometimes. The CAN DO attitude is extremely strong. I would also put belligerence up there for better or worse. That 'Get the f*ck out of my face, I'm not paying for / doing that' attitude. Whether you actually can or not, the American culture makes you feel like you can really do anything. Again, it's a double-edged sword but you'll seldom find an American who's just going to lay down and take someone's sh*t or heed someone who says (to your aspirations) 'You can't.'" — facobi8356

19.

"The switch for the bathroom is INSIDE the bathroom." — [deleted]

Toddler helps mom when she's locked out of the house.

Would you be considered human if you haven't locked yourself out of your house at least once? One mom on TikTok found herself in quite the predicament with only her toddler to "mission impossible" his way to unlocking the house door to let his mom, @gesikaaaaaa, inside. The video starts with the camera pointed at a rosy-cheeked toddler on a snow-covered porch.

The boy looks to be no older than 2 or 3 but he's an expert at following directions … sort of. It's all still pretty new to him and, as anyone who's ever interacted with a toddler knows, multistep directions are not the way to go. They tend to hear one thing only and even then are apt to be distracted by a stray piece of lint and not be able to finish the task.

Everything is new to a toddler and it doesn't take much to distract them. And just about anything can be a toy. So when this mom helped her son through an open window in an effort to guide him through the process of unlocking the door, classic toddler cuteness ensued.

Keep ReadingShow less

She chose "spa night."

Have you seen those “pick a card date nights” floating around on TikTok?

It’s usually reserved for romantic couples, and shows one partner picking from two pieces of paper labeled with different activities like “picnic in the park” or “dinner and a movie.” They won’t be able to see what’s on the card until they choose, and it’s always fun to see their reaction after the fact … especially when they accidentally pick a chore. Yeah, some partners go there.

One dad decided to take the idea and add his own twist—taking his young daughter out on their own "pick a card" adventure. Absolute cuteness ensued.

Keep ReadingShow less

Mom's reaction to toddler's self haircut

An unsupervised toddler with a pair of scissors is nightmare fuel for parents.

Will you find shredded books, a hole in your new couch, or a pile of lopped off hair when you emerge from your quick trip to the potty?

Toddlers may still be very young, but they are fast and have a knack for getting ahold of unapproved things quickly, inflicting maximum destruction. TikTok user, @designerluxury4you, shared a video of their toddler proudly showing off the haircut she had given herself.

Experiencing your child giving themselves or their siblings a haircut seems to be a rite of passage for parents.

But the way this mom handled the discovery is showing how gentle parenting is changing the game. It's pretty safe to say that most parents would react in a more expressive way and immediately remove the scissors from the child's hands. This mom responded in the kindest and most respectful way you can imagine and maybe the internet is a little better for having seen it.

Keep ReadingShow less

They're SOUR!

In 2022, kiddo interview series Recess Therapy introduced us to Corn Kid, whose wholesome love of his favorite vegetable took the world by storm. His internet fame led to a viral song on TikTok and even a brand sponsorship for crying out loud.

But it’s 2023 now, and there’s a new veggie kid in town. And her name is Pickle Girl.

From her ecstatic squeals to adorable crunching sounds, Pickle Girl's interview with host Julian Shapiro-Barnum is just too freakin’ cute. But really, it’s her unbridled zest for life itself that will make you wanna watch the video over and over again. Nothing sour about this child, no matter how many pickles she’s allegedly eaten.
Keep ReadingShow less

ASMR videos have millions of views on YouTube.

I'd never heard of ASMR when my kids started talking about how "satisfying" ASMR videos were. They had shared other "satisfying" videos with me, such as machinery making precise movements, Play-Doh being squished through holes, and more. I understood what they found appealing about them and I figured ASMR videos would be similar.

They weren't.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, which refers to the deep relaxation and tingling sensation some people experience from certain triggers, such as sounds. The sounds we're talking about, however, are not the soothing music or birds chirping or ocean waves one might normally associate with relaxation. They're things like hair brushing, scraping fingernails on a plastic water bottle and mouth crackles, all amplified with a powerful microphone.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Our first roundup of 2023 includes awesome old folks, toddlers, dancers, marine mammals and more.

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Happy 2023, everyone!

We're almost a week in. How are we doing so far? Whether you're crushing your New Year's resolutions, struggling to make new habits stick or are ditching the goal-setting altogether, we hope you're making the most of the fresh energy the new year brings.

If adding more joy to your life is on the docket for 2023, you've come to the right place. We are experts in uplifting and specialize in smiles, and we love to share the best of humanity with you all.

Keep ReadingShow less