Americans are a diverse bunch, but as a culture, we can skew towards an overconfidence-bordering-on-outright-arrogance that's less than likable on the world stage. We also have that whole "ugly American tourist" stereotype to contend with, not to mention our wonky politics as of late, so it can feel like we're viewed with disdain or pity more than admiration by our fellow humans on planet Earth.
However, when Reddit user u/Rebuildingz asked this question: "Non-Americans of Reddit, what do you admire about Americans?" the answers were kind and lovely enough to make us feel proud of our unique contribution to our global tapestry.
Here are some of the more than 7,000 comments, many of which are more about the U.S. itself than the American people, but still nice to see:
"How the national identity is so culturally mixed. it seems like If you move to France, you don't become a French; you just become a foreigner. While everyone who lives in America at all is American." – lTheReader·
"The hospitality. Americans get a bad rap for being xenophobic, which I think is unfair and just based on the bad incidents we've seen in recent years. I go to the USA pretty often (I'm Irish/British), and everyone I meet is always so welcoming and friendly. Well, not EVERYONE, everywhere has bad people, but it just seems like Americans generally are a lot more open and hospitable to strangers than I'm used to at home. Like, they'll just strike up a casual conversation with you just while you're standing at a street crossing or whatever. I remember one afternoon I went into a bar in Austin for a beer, and the guy next to me just sits down and says "Yep. So I just drove a truck down from New York. Helluva trip." and we chatted for like an hour about his road trip hauling wood (or something, I can't remember lol). That doesn't happen where I'm from; just shooting the breeze with a stranger."
"The Smithsonian Museums. Very cool and very fun to walk around and see. And they're free." – GullibleIdiots
"I had lunch with some Chinese friends who gushed and raved about the National Parks system. And I asked them What about China? China is as large (larger?) than America and has all the beauty, history, and different geography, etc. They said that unfortunately there is no National park system like in America. That if you want to visit a beautiful mountain range, for example, you have to pay an entry fee to access each individual mountain. Not just a general entry fee for the whole park, mind you. Everything costs money. Made me realize how fortunate we are to have the system in place. My husband gets a National Park annual pass for Christmas from his mom every year and it's so awesome to visit a park and just whip that card out and get waved through. Highly recommended." – crabblue6
"Your national parks. There are so many parks that I want to visit down there. Hopefully soon after the border restrictions pass....." – IamMillwright
"Having lived in 6 countries across EU and Asia, I can say the thing I admire most about America is that I can literally get anything I want. I may have to pay for them when other places offer them for free (e.g. health insurance), but whatever desire/need I suddenly form, I am 99.99999% certain I can get it. And sometimes it's not even that unique of a desire; sometimes they're just everyday things some take for granted. Like:
- I want to video call my family but i can't use Skype/Facetime because governments have their own paid version they force us to use.
- I want [to] buy arts and crafts supplies but I'm limited to a local bookstore because we don't have an infrastructure for e-commerce.
- I want to ship packages to my family abroad from a 'tech hub' in EU but it's a hassle because nowhere sells shipping boxes.
In comparison, America does not have the aforementioned issues and allows for satisfying the most complex or specific needs as well. Are you an immigrant who wants a taste of home? There are likely mini insert-your-country-here parts of town (even if it's a random supermarket that sells specific ingredients). Develop a unique interest or hobby? Odds are there's a convention happening within a few hours drive in the next few months. Thinking of getting some cosmetic work done? You'll probably have a pool of specialists with online ratings to choose from. Want to give up on society and live off of what you grow? There's plenty of land to choose from. Want a pet tiger? You can and will be offered a Netflix series.
America has its problems but damn I have never felt more able to pursue anything I wanted anywhere else." – Nut-Flex
"Drinking fountains everywhere. And nearly all public toilets are free." – bounded_operator
"The scale and grandeur. I'm used to nature being small, but everything in America is bigger - bigger storms, bigger mountains, bigger horizons. Even the sky seems more. People in America are casually dealing with everything from alligators to bears, pitching tents on the sides of cliffs and walking their dogs through literal wilderness, I genuinely feel like a hobbit watching Aragorn saunter through Middle Earth like it's nothing while I've never been beyond the end of farmer Maggot's farm before. I love it." – coffee_up
"It's like each state is a whole different country and I'd like to visit them all." – F*ck-tiktok·
"Fruity pebbles." – Z00TH0RNZ
"How madly diverse it is. Admittedly I've only seen it on tv but the fact that the bronx and Texas are the same country is mind boggling." – cdbman
"New York City. Hot Dogs. Your Friendliness. Hollywood. Yellowstone. Baseball. Ford GT. Road trips. Coke. NASA. Southern BBQ. Burgers. Yosemite. Your infectious love of the outrageous. Jaws. Your love of English accents ;). Harrison Ford. Rock and fuckin roll. Nike. Magic Mountain. Pamela Andersen. Red Vines. The Video games / animation industries. Dr Pepper. Maine Lobster Rolls. Skateboarding. Ralph Lauren. The Sopranos. Jack FM. Baskin Robbins. Car park cookouts. Wake boarding. Ruby's Diner. Long Island (Iced Tea). Eddie Murphy. Technological innovation. Soul. Southern California. Star Wars. Bronco jeeps. Key Lime Pie." – liam_crean
"The power and quality of their film and TV industry. They can make dreams and fantasies come to life. Jurassic Park to me as a child was like all my dreams had come true." – SaveSwedishBeauty
"Americans always know how to get a conversation going! "Hey, where are you from?" And then they are genuinely interested in hearing the answer even if perhaps they've never heard of that place. They are great at small talk, and friendly (doesn't matter if it is "fake" sometimes, e.g. the waitress, it is still a skill to be that friendly and welcoming, in my opinion). They make people feel like a million bucks." – BaileysBaileys
"I think that Americans are often quite friendly compared to Europe where I live." – balticromancemyass
"Entrepreneurial spirit. In a lot of countries, including my own, failing at a business you started is seen very negatively, to the point most people will never try, as opposed to the USA where a business failing is seen as a normal part of the process and you just keep trying, taking the lessons you learned forward." – Rarotunga
"I like how open-minded the people are and how much they seem to enjoy varied interests. I've found in my country, we tend to be pretty judgmental of anything we aren't used to seeing, and most people have basically the same hobbies." – purple-nomad·
"That a lot of Americans are pretty chill, open, and kind people. You wanna just talk about nothing? You can do that. You have mental health issues? People aren't gonna judge. There's a problem going on and you wanna talk about it? You can do that.
In my family's culture, you must always keep to yourself if something's bothering you, always tell white lies, put up this facade of your life being rainbows and unicorns, and mental illness/disabilities/neuro divergence is frowned upon and shows you're weak. It's so suffocating." – TakenByDeletedAccou
"I've always admired the American sense of rugged individualism. I've met a number of Americans and they all seem to have it to one degree or another. In its best form, it shows up as a kind of honesty that comes from supreme self-confidence and self awareness. It also includes selflessness, a kind of 'I've got all my stuff together, so I can help you out, friend.' These are the folks that worked together to tame the wild frontier, as it were. Even though he wasn't born American, I see Arnold Schwartzenegger as the ultimate American. Tom Hanks is another great example most people know.
At its worst... you get Karen." – Ken_Meredith
There we have it. National parks, free restrooms, open-minded people, Arnold, Tom Hanks, and a few Karens thrown in so we don't get too big for our britches.
The U.S has its flaws and so does its people, but there really is a lot to love about us. High five, fellow Americans.
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