British sense of time vs. American

Guest   Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:57 am GMT
It's more a spur of the moment thing. If you happen to be passing by. Of course, we plan things in concrete also. It's like "well since I'm in the area and I have 3 free hours why not stop by my mate who lives round here". This is actually not so common in the city compared with rural areas though.
Guest   Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:43 am GMT
well it looks like americans are very hated on this foum, and not only by the muslims, also by their dadies the europeans...
Damian in Edinburgh   Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:43 am GMT
Hot blooded Latin lovers? - much of the time it's overblown machismo and outward displays of sexual bravado - more posturing and strutting and hot air peacockery than actual substance! ;-)

The outwardly cool, calm and (on the face of it) less passionate lovers from these Northern climes are the real Lotharios all said and done - they can leave the Latins standing, literally, when it comes to action where it matters. Many a time it's been proved that a bloke from Blairgowrie delivers the goods more satisfactorily than some self proclaimed Sexgod Signor from Sorrento.

Yesterday Wayne Rooney married his WAG at a multi million £ bash down at Portofino, as a romantic a setting as you could wish for overlooking the blue Mediterranean. Only the Med wasn't exactly blue yesterday - it actually poured down cats and dogs throughout the whole affair - let's hope the unseasonal Italian rains wasn't some kind of portent for the marriage - I assume Rooney has done the right thing and gone for the full prenups. WAGS have this habit of stripping the assets away from grossly overpaid footballers when things go all pear shaped.
Guest   Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:42 am GMT
"With all due respect, Jerome, that is one of the WORST CONCEIVABLE breaches of etiquette you could commit. Do you have any idea of what you're walking in to? You could be interrupting a dinner for four, an ugly quarrel, a house that's uncharacteristically messy, or the couple could be making love.

To be fair, this rule of etiquette applies to only Americans, but I think the British and Germans observe it, too."

Well, it's something cultural I guess. In Spain people often come round without let you know in advance. I've got no problem doing it myself, especially when I'm alone, and to visit people I'm in close terms with. If not, the last thing that occurs to me is going to their place. It's just saying hello what you doing while you are passing by, not a big deal. If I am with more people, they usually wait outside while we decide what to do the next. Among the things to do there is just go on our way because they are busy, it's no problem. May people live in flats with entryphones downstairs, so you don't even have to be up in front of their door.
Vicky   Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:12 am GMT
Wayne Rooney is the lothario??. heeheehee. Damian is the funny man, yes?.

British people do not say how they feel until they drink to much. In my country it is custom to be direct.
Damian in Edinburgh   Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:20 pm GMT
In no way did I compare Wayne Rooney to a Lothario....he may well be ace at his art (football) but I have no idea what his capabilities are in the art of lovemaking and I couldn't give a hoot about them anyway.

He certainly isn't the world's most handsome hunk and that's for sure but he most definitely has a mega handsome fortune behind him now thanks to his footie prowess and that was clearly demonstrated down at Portofino at his massively lavish marriage to his English WAG. Rest assured it isn't his face, or his other physical attributes, that are the main attraction he holds for his WAG.....which is why these women aim to become WAGs in the first place.

I don't think I'm funny, Vicky. Just a wee bit queer...... ;-0

According to the British Expats web site, British people living in America have been perplexed and irritated by the attitude of Americans to "unexpected callers" at their homes without any prior warning, even from close friends. When they have called on American friends or neighbours in this way, purely on a friendly, social visit, they are met with an attitude verging on hostility, and relations become strained.

This is something the Brits have not been used to before they moved to America, and this may account for the fact that most Brits living in America, according to all the posts you read on the site I mentioned, tend to form friendships predominantly with fellow expatriate Brits, or other Europeans, to whom casual visits to the homes of friends, or even neighbours, is a lot more accepted without going through the whole rigmarole of checking out availability or suitability.

The British women, especially, usually chuckle about the American women not taking too kindly to be "caught out" without full blown make up and smart dresses, and everything in the house isn't all shipshape and Bristol fashion (to use a British expression) or whatever, when people call round, which isn't that much of an issue back here in Blighty where people don't get so wound up over such matters. "Take us as we are" doesn't seem to apply in America. I reckon the whole thing is one of the many cultural differences between the UK/Europe and the United States of America.

George W Bush is visiting us here in the UK over the next couple of days or so...what unbounded joy! ;-)
Jasper   Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:31 pm GMT
"According to the British Expats web site, British people living in America have been perplexed and irritated by the attitude of Americans to "unexpected callers" at their homes without any prior warning, even from close friends. When they have called on American friends or neighbours in this way, purely on a friendly, social visit, they are met with an attitude verging on hostility, and relations become strained. "

Damian, actually I'm quite surprised to hear this. I'd assumed that we inherited this tradition from our British ancestors.

I wonder where we got the tradition? The Germans?

As for relations becoming strained, I already mentioned my Chinese-American friend who just couldn't understand what the problem was; it cost us our friendship.

Dropping in uninvited is rather like an invasion of privacy--somewhat like the feeling you get when someone barges in on you when you are using the restroom.
Briton   Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:35 pm GMT
Statians are strange people.
Jasper   Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:24 pm GMT
Damian, I've just been thinking about our observations. It is interesting to note that, while there are many British expatriates in the US, they don't seem to be very happy here, for some reason. They seem to have the hardest time adapting, out of all the nationalities.

I don't know why this should be, but there you have it--the Brits complain more than all the other nationalities put together. Is complaining part of the national zeitgeist, or is there really that much of a cultural divide between us? Do you know?

As an aside--one thing I can say for the immigrants from Latin countries--they complain very little about conditions here in the US.
Travis   Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:34 pm GMT
>>Damian, I've just been thinking about our observations. It is interesting to note that, while there are many British expatriates in the US, they don't seem to be very happy here, for some reason. They seem to have the hardest time adapting, out of all the nationalities.<<

I've noticed that myself as well. For instance, I have heard of far fewer complaints about and problems adjusting to things in general here by the Germans and Russians I've known here in Milwaukee, even though the English are "supposed to" be far more closer to Americans culturally overall...
Jasper   Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:37 pm GMT
Travis, I quite agree.

I find it curious that German immigrants--who're supposed to be uptight, and all that--complain very little when they come here; in fact, they can become quite pro-American nationalistic when other Europeans complain. "If it's so bad here, why don't you go back?" (I actually heard a German woman say that to someone.)
Travis   Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:38 pm GMT
(Mind you that the experience of German Germans in Milwaukee probably does not fit that of the average German in the US in general... I remember one German foreign exchange student at my high school, for instance, commenting on how weirdly, well, German things were here compared to what they expected...)
Jasper   Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:53 pm GMT
I have before me a book called "European Customs and Manners", written by Nancy L Braganti, aimed at Americans who visit Europe.

Under the heading for Germany: Private Homes, the very first entry reads:

"Call ahead before visiting people; don't just drop in."

So THAT'S where we got the tradition! I might have known; the Germans are known world-wide for their love of privacy.

Even as I say this, however, the entry for Great Britain: Private Homes reads, "Always phone ahead if you're visiting; don't drop in." In view of some of the posts on this thread, this puzzles me. The book was printed in the 1980s; has this tradition changed over the years?

One thing is certain: we inherited this tradition from our Northern European ancestors...

As an aside to all Americans, I'd highly recommend this book; it makes fascinating reading.
Damian in Edinburgh   Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:57 pm GMT
I can't really explain in any great detail the discontent my fellow Brits seem to display over living in America - all I can say with any degree of accuracy is problems and frustrations they encounter when dealing with the American healthcare problems at all with the quality of it (it is very good by all accounts for the most part) - it's the sheer complexities of the insurance cover and paying for it all. Many of them seem to feel a sense of isolation over there in terms of nearness to home (the UK itself) and of course to Europe generally, which is literally on our doorstep, and they seem to miss the availability of Europe and its great diversity of cultures and history. That's another thing - they miss all the historical attractions of the UK as well as the cultural pursuits they are familiar with - things like the "pub culture", for instance, which simply doesn't exist in the USA in anything like the same way - or anywhere else in the world for that matter - they miss the bonhomie and social interractions of the British pub atmosphere, as the pub is not only a place to slake your thirst and feed your face in, but it is also the centre of social life in British society in so many ways - not only to have a good chat and a laugh with all your like minded mates, but also to engage in all the standard pursuits which take place in most British pubs - inter-pub quiz competitions, darts, snooker, pool, skittles, karaoke, musical entertainment or watching sport on giant plasmas in the public bar (by that I mean the hub of the pub as opposed to the other quieter and more secluded bars for those who just want a quiet conversation, or discuss business matters or conduct extra marital affairs in the hope of not being found out.....

As you can expect they also miss a whole array of foods they cannot get in the USA which compares with what they have been used to and brought up with - strangely, they miss things like all the various English cheeses (and Continental ones, too), roast Sunday lunches with all the trimmings and things like bacon, bread, marmite, and this is astonishing - decent coffee! Who'd have thought that that would wind them up - I always thought America was a land of coffee! They seem to whinge about the coffee over there, and naturally enough - "tea like we got back home".

Those who live in certain parts of America, especially, find the attitude of the local people hard to take in so many ways - like the strong influence of religion influencing so much in both private and public life - here in the UK religion plays no part at all in public life - it's strictly a private concern, and you would never, ever hear a British or European politician proclaiming religion to be a major part of his/her life in the hope of garnering votes or seek further approval. It just would never work over here. They also find a peculiar attitude to alcohol - like no having a glass of wine or half a pint of beer with lunch on a working day (universal in the UK and Europe) - virtually regarding it as a major sin - while at the same time being aware of the problems of alcoholism, usually occurring behind closed doors.

Another big bugbear with the Brits is the unreasonable (in their minds) work schedules - long working hours, distinct lack of holidays compared with Europe, and, again compared with Europe, a lack of security in jobs - losing a job in America appears to be far more of a scary prospect over there than it does in Europe, for various reasons. There's no doubt that America is a brilliant country in which to live if you are safe and secure in your job, have no problems meeting the costs of adequate healthcare, need have no worries about life after retirement - if you can afford to retire - can easily adapt to the culture of a very young country in European terms and can assimilate easily without longing for the British or European "way of life" and don't miss too much being never far from the sea (no part of Britain is more than 70 miles from tidal water and Brits are generally very fond of the seaside), or you will never miss visiting old castles or stately mansions dating back many hundreds of years, or wandering through the British countryside which really is unique and varied, and undeniably beautiful, or having tea and scones with strawberry jam and cream in quaint old village tearooms. Or going to watch cricket at Lords or Old Trafford or Trent Bridge, or to Wimbledon in June to watch tennis or to Horse Guards Parade, again in June to watch the Queen take the salute at the Trooping the Colour extravaganza - all those Guardsmen in their scarlet tunics and black busbies hoping like crazy none of them flakes out in the hot sunshine.

They seem to whine about so many things, but you must remember that Brits are pretty good at whingeing and whining about most things anyway - it's a national pastime.

Those in Australia and New Zealand also moan all the time for all sorts of reasons - many find it very boring there after the novelty has worn off - the weather is fantastic until it gets too hot and the flies and creepy crawlies and even snakes in the garden worry them a tad, not to mention deadly spiders lurking in the loo - it's SO far from home and there is nothing to do - everything is so far from anywhere else, unlike the UK where there are far more people, nowhere here is far from anywhere else, comparatively speaking, and generally everything you need is pretty close at hand, and there are buses and trains are never too far away. Not so in Oz and NZ unless you are in the big cities, and the ever whining Brits even find those very provincial and "narrow" in outlook compared with the UK and Europe.

I don't think it's all that surprising to find that those expats who simply hopped across the Channel to go and live in France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy and now, increasingly, Eastern Europe where property prices are still fairly low compared with here in the UK, or any other European country, seem to be the most contented.

Maybe Brits find living in European countries more satisfying because they are more familiar, relatively less stressful, and - very importantly - very much closer to "home" hour or two or three at the most from their new homes on the Continent and they are back in "dear old Blighty".

Of course there are things they do not miss about the UK - the problems we have with binge drinking chavs, social problems, too many people thinking they can live off social welfare benefits, claiming to be "too ill to work"- that will soon be seriously dealt with, especially if, as expected, there is a change of Government in 2010. Also the problem of road congestion, declining standards of public behaviour in certain sections of the population, immigration (at least this is being addressed which is why fruit growers are finding it difficult to find people to pick strawberries and other fruits now that the numbers of people coming in from Eastern Europe are being strictly controlled. Recent incidents of knife crimes among young men in many areas, especially urban areas - fatal stabbings have increased alarmingly over the last two or three years.

And one of the biggest gripes about living in Britain - the climate and weather. But controlling that is impossible - nothing can stop clouds and rain coming in from the Atlantic on all the depressions which seem to find Britiain a nice place to settle over, but when the sun shines here (which it really does more often than you would ever realise) - it's really lovely! Never too hot and never too cold. Some of those Brits in America have to endure much more in the way of climatic extremes than they ever did back home here - something else for them to whinge about with their compatriots over there! ;-)

Right - I'm off down the pub now and then to the Indian for a curry. Working week is over - Cheers!
Damian in Edinburgh   Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:02 pm GMT
I forgot to add this - I really believe that if you choose to go and live in another country you should put up and shut up! You made a conscious choice and you knew what you were letting yourself in for, by and large. I firmly believe in doing as the Romans do when in Rome. But as I say - Brits are born whingers! It gives them pleasure! ;-)