British Mannerisms: 10 things only Brits will understand

I have noticed that I have a large international reader base and having a wider audience is a great way to connect around the world, yet the British culture is full of mannerisms, subtleties & unwritten social rules that I thought it would be fun to list 10 very ‘British’ things that exist in British society. 

1. Breakfast: the good old full English breakfast, scrambled and fried egg, bacon, sausage, hash browns, black pudding, tomato, beans… and toast. There is nothing better than a fry up, good for hangovers, brunch and ‘all day breakfast’ means it is acceptable at all times. 

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2. Understatement: huge catastrophes are a “bit of a pickle” and no matter how bad life is, we “mustn’t grumble” as hey “it’s not that bad”, we’ll be ‘fine’. 

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3. Illogical well-loved phrases: “the bees knees” “bobs your uncle” and “bog standard” all having unique meanings and I’m currently “cream crackered” meaning exhausted, but hey not everything has gone “pear-shaped” yet. 

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4. Our apparent love of queueing: one of my favourite comedians, Michael McIntyre gave the analogy of queueing in an airport, with free lanes and empty ropes, the Brit in us would still walk our way around the queue despite the emptiness. 

This is the link, I highly recommend you watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Fq631ADMM

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5. Why we apologise so much: “Oh, excuse me, sorry”, “Sorry, would you mind please passing me that?”, and even when we’re rude we start and end with “Sorry”.

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6. What is it with the weather? – 90% of conversations will start with, “oh the weather today is horrible… meant to rain all week”, it’s a sort of comfort blanket, a conversation starter to end all awkward silences

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7. Avoiding confrontation: As a stereotypically ‘polite’ nation, avoiding confrontation is key, especially in public settings, not hearing someone’s name the third time you ask, receiving a bad present etc. For example, say you order a meal and it is not quite right, the waiter comes around and asks, “Is everything okay?”, there would be no other response other than, “yes, everything is lovely”. The thought of daring to saying no is way too daunting. 

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8. Irony and Sarcasm: the British humour is one to treasure, but it is full of sarcastic remarks, sexual innuendos and ‘taking the piss’ out of comical and accidental mishaps. 

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9. Talking on public transport or to strangers in general. We do not deem striking up a conversation as polite and friendly, if a shop assistant strikes up a conversation, abort mission! The difference is very apparent when you visit America, keep yourself to yourself buddy.

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10. And perhaps, most stereotypically but accurate is the Brits love of tea. It is not so much a drink but a social tool. It is offered in times of need, sadness and joy. English breakfast tea, Earl Grey, builder’s tea, green tea, herbal tea, camomile tea – with milk and 1 sugar. 

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