The Most Outrageous Things Americans Do: A List of 50+ Shocking Habits

Racheal Snow - January 9, 2023
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33) Having Little Vacation

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In the United States, work never stops. Research by the Center for American Progress discovered that the U.S. is the most overworked country in the developed world. Americans work the longest but have the shortest vacation time. Even when given some time off, Americans still don’t take advantage of it. Other countries offer at least six weeks of paid vacation.

34) Impressed with Ancient Historical Sites

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The United States is young compared to countries like the United Kingdom, France, and Portugal, but people around the world tend to forget about that. Americans are overjoyed when they look at ancient historical sites and artifacts. People from other countries are baffled by the love Americans have for history even though they don’t have a thousand-year-old building or historic site.

35) Wearing Shorts 24/7

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One surefire way to tell who an American is in a crowd in a foreign place is by their dress. Americans love wearing shorts at the weirdest times of the year. Even in their country, wearing shorts, all year round seems a norm. Wearing shorts is normal if it’s seasonally appropriate, but when it isn’t, it attracts the surprised gaze of foreigners. In other countries, this isn’t the norm.
Another thing that Americans do that other countries consider weird is wearing socks and sandals. Americans are so fond of wearing socks and sandals that it makes foreigners question the motive of the trend. Often, people wear sandals to allow their feet to breathe, so what’s the aim of putting on sandals? It’s a bizarre trend.

36) Expecting People to Speak English

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This is obvious. Americans expect everyone they converse with to speak in English, whether they are tourists or in their country. While English is a universal language spoken by billions of people globally, it doesn’t mean that everyone can speak it. Other non-English speaking countries don’t have those expectations from their tourists to speak the official language. If you can’t understand what the other person is saying, you can rely on Google Translate. It can help you with basic words, so you don’t appear rude.

37) Giving People a Thumbs Up

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Do you know that giving a thumbs up is not accepted outside of the United States? Yes! It’s common in the U.S., and people don’t find it offensive. However, people outside of the United States can get offended when you use a hand gesture. In countries like Italy, Greece, Iraq, and Iran, giving a thumbs up could mean something else. In Afghanistan, for example, giving thumbs-up is equivalent to giving a middle finger which is a sign of cursing. When next you are on a plane to another country, be careful of where, how, and when you use this sign.

38) Joining a Fraternity/sorority

Fraternities only exist in America, so it’s obvious that the rest of the world finds it odd. People from other countries don’t get why college students pay so much money to make friends and join societies like that. Some countries consider it fascinating though. People only hear about them when there’s arson or a serious accident in the news. There are benefits to joining sororities, like getting post-college job collections and participating in charity work.

39) People Getting Paid to Greet Customers at the Store

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One of the bizarre things that Americans do that’s different in other countries is people getting paid to greet you at the store. Once you enter a grocery store, you will be met with someone that will greet you at the store. Some people don’t understand the essence of this. Perhaps, it’s to bring cheer and friendliness to customers so they can continue shopping. Some believe that welcoming customers will reduce the chances of stealing. It’s a fantastic marketing strategy though.

40) Using Coffee Creamer

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In other countries, people add some kind of milk to their coffee to sweeten it. In the United States, a coffee creamer is used instead. People don’t know the actual content of this creamer apart from sugar. It’s the perfect way to cover up the not-so-good taste of the coffee, which is quite smart considering that the United States doesn’t have the most delectable coffee choices like its European and South American counterparts.

41) Being Specific about Where They Come From

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Americans are fond of stating the same place they come from. If you ask an American, “Where are you from in the States,” you’ll get a response like, “I’m from New York City, New York.” Why be specific about where you come from? Sometimes, specificity isn’t useful. You probably have never heard of New York City, but Americans think people should know every city and town in every state. With several states and cities to remember, some places can be blurry. Foreigners in other countries will probably say the state they come from. Some only mention their country of origin, and that’s all you get from them.

42) Sharing a Dorm Room With a Complete Stranger

This is one occurrence that doesn’t often happen in other countries. In the United States, students are expected to share a small-sized room with a stranger. There’s a lack of privacy, and sometimes, you may have to dress up in front of a stranger. Who wants that? No one! But you have no choice if you are schooling in America. In other countries, people live at home or rented houses with their friends but don’t get shoved into dorm rooms with people they don’t know from Adam. Their concept is quite strange to people from other parts of the world. Maybe Americans are trying to just be friendly to other foreigners. In America, you can still stay off-campus if you have the means and the resources but if not, get ready to share your room!

43) Putting on Hawaiian Shirts Outside of Hawaii

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Just like wearing shorts all year and putting on socks and sandals, Americans love to put on Hawaiian shirts with cargo shorts and a basketball hat when they go abroad or stay outside of Hawaii. The interesting part is that some of these people have never been to Hawaii. So what’s their reason for putting on these brightly colored shirts? You can easily pick an American from the crowd by spotting people wearing this combo.

44) Having a “World Series” But Only the United States Participates

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Have you ever considered why the World Series is called so even though only baseball teams from within the U.S.A participates? Just like how the United States is often called America, Americans call the competition involving baseball teams from within the country World Series. The tournament involves a team from the National League and the American League, all within the United States. The title makes it look as if the world revolves around the 50 states. Does it? Maybe it does. Americans are self-absorbed people and pride themselves in that. In other countries, they give names and titles to things that reflect the country’s culture and heritage.

45) Tailgating for a Sports Match

This is another weird American practice that people from outside of the United States can’t comprehend. In America, nothing gets people more excited than tailgating. When a college or professional sports game is about to kick off, you will find hundreds to thousands of Americans there who just want to tailgate rather than watch the actual match. The vibes and brews are what get people excited, and that’s their only reason for being present. People from other countries find this odd. Why prepare such elaborate setups if you are not there to support any of the teams? Welcome to America!

46) Halloween

Halloween has just begun to rub off on other countries, but it was the United States that started this bizarre tradition. Some people from other countries wonder why Americans celebrate Halloween. They say it’s another tricky way to observe a holiday, but we think they don’t understand the essence. In which country where you knock on a stranger’s door to offer candy for free? Halloween is such a unique period, but weird to foreigners.

47) Eating Peanut Butter and Jelly

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Another way to separate an American from other people is from what they feed on. Americans love the classic combination of peanut butter and jelly. The salty and sweet taste is something they can’t get over. Americans are to peanut butter and jelly as India is to Cricket. Foreigners don’t know why Americans are never tired of this combination. It almost seems the meal gives them some secret superpowers. Some of them don’t know if jelly is the same thing as jam. The classic PB and J is an American thing that will remain for years to come.

48) Turning Right When it Shows Red

I think this is one of the strangest things in this post. When it comes to road rules, each country has its own. In America, you are allowed to turn right at a red light. Unless there’s a sign that says you shouldn’t turn right on red, and there’s no sign of oncoming cars, you can go through a red light. This is weird in other countries as they only go when the green arrow shows up.

49) Hopping in the Back Seat

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In America, sitting in the back seat of a taxi is common. You’ll never see someone hop in the front seat with the driver unless the back is occupied. Americans take this behavior abroad, and this leaves other people puzzled, especially cab drivers who are used to people sitting in the front seat with them. Americans believe that it will be weirder to sit in the front seat if you aren’t looking to have a conversation.

50) Having Different Laws in Each State

This is something Congress needs to work on. What’s up with every state having its laws? Shouldn’t there be a universal law governing all states? How are people supposed to remember the laws when they travel? I guess they will have to read the laws before coming. It would be much easier if all the states had the same laws. Well! It’s almost as if Americans enjoy making their lives more difficult.

Conclusion

As you can see, the United States has so many unique customs and traditions that are not widespread in other countries. While lots of them are weird, it doesn’t take out the fact that they give the country some uniqueness and defines its culture. If you are coming to the United States as a first-time tourist, be ready for a whole new experience.

 

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