Americans are often regarded as Europe’s red neck cousin. Have you ever wondered culturally what we do that’s so offensive. Below is a short list of explanations of how we earned that endearing reputation.
American culture is rooted in a me first attitude. We are raised with a desire to be unique or set apart from everyone else. It’s the basis of generations of hard working, reach for the stars individuals. The down side is we tend to think the world revolves our self. As a result many Americans are seen as dressing overly casual. We lounge around with horrific posture. And we treat complete strangers in an overly familiar, informal manner.
Our Society Is Insular
The U.S.A has a land mass of over 3.5 million square miles and population of over 300 million. Put simply we are huge and their are tons of us. We produce our own music, literature, and movies. The media has helped homogenize us into a united way of thought. Many Americans have never left the U.S, learned a second language, or been immersed in new cultures. The media features little in way of international news. Our school systems put impetus on American, not world history. So when traveling abroad many Americans lacks knowledge of world events or cultural phenomenon outside our own. This has more to do with our society as a whole than an individual.
It’s amazing how different languages and accents produce a variety speech patterns and decimals. In general American speak much louder than necessary. We listen to everything too loud as well. It’s not uncommon to spot solitary European travelers wandering about, quiet and unobtrusive. Americans on the other hand, usually travel in jovial groups. We occupy restaurants and public places laughing and conversing in uncommonly high decibels. Being American I find nothing wrong with this behavior. It’s fun. Many Europeans, however, consider this behavior extremely rude. We impeded others speech and project our private conversations on them. They don’t want to want to know the trivial things we discuss or see our idiot selfies.
The Service Industry
In Europe everyone stands on equal footing. Both patron and sales clerks. In America we expect exceptional care from anyone in the service industry. This requires a slight adjustment in ones expectations of service when visiting cafes or shops in Europe.
“Do you speak English?” Many Americans make a poor attempt at understanding the culture they are inmersed in or speaking the local language. They often assume others will accommodate them and that someone must speak English. This is an easy problem to rectify. It takes very little effort to write down a few phrases on a piece of paper. In less than 15 minutes on the Internet one can produce an invaluable list of do’s and don’ts as well as innumerable cultural insights.
For example many Americans will engage in conversations with complete strangers, often divulging a great deal of personal information about them self. Europeans on the other hand are raised to live private lives. They are often viewed by Americans as aloof and smug because they will avoid eye contact with strangers or initiating contact with persons whom they are unacquainted with.