When you jet off around the world it’s important you know what you’re letting yourself in for, and a part of that is knowing what the world thinks of you.
That stranger in the bunk bed, the lads on your tour bus and couple in the corner may not know you yet, but once you say you’re British they’ll make a few assumptions. These are just a few of those typical British stereotypes you’ll have to either live up to, or battle off on your gap year.
1. British people drink a lot of tea
This is one stereotype that, most of the time, is actually right. We Brits love to sip, slurp and gulp down tea while occasionally dunking a digestive in there too. The fact that those abroad know about our love of tea means no one will be surprised when you whip out the Tetley’s.
If you want to take it a step further, stick your pinky out when sipping to ensure you fulfil the stereotype of a British tea-drinker.
2. We’re all friends with the Queen
Many foreigners you meet will ask if you’ve ever met the Queen. For most of us, the answer is obviously a big fat ‘no’, but that won’t stop your new foreign friends from quizzing you about the rest of the royals. No, you don’t party with Prince Harry or shop with Kate, but you do know a person who knows a person… or, you could just make up some big elaborate story about how, yes, you were there for the Royal Wedding, and yes, Harry is a Facebook friend.
3. We’ve never seen sunshine
Yes, it’s true, our weather isn’t the best and that’s something most travellers you meet will be able to trump you on, but that’s OK. We have David Beckham, Downtown Abbey and One Direction so a lack of sunshine is something we can live with. And there’s always that one day in the summer.
4. We can’t handle said sunshine
As a result of the bad British weather, the general consensus is that when Brits are exposed to the sun we just can’t handle it. It’s tops off, tanning oil and no sunscreen so our white skin goes straight from pale to pink. Battle this stereotype by getting the perfect tan through constant sun lotion application, over a prolonged period of time, and show them exactly who’s been kissed by the sun.
5. The Brits watch a lot of TV
For some reason around the world, we’re thought of as couch potatoes addicted to our tellies. Yeah sure, we love a period drama and get glued to the X Factor or a bit of Strictly but we’re not all about the little screens.
6. And speak rather posh
Accents obviously vary from town to town in GB but it’s still a common misconception that all Brits speak like The Queen. This leads to a lot of confusion when you say you’re British with a Yorkshire / Geordie twang. Prepare to do some explaining…
7. We’re mad about football
With all of our football teams, sports bars and international stars you can see how other people might believe it’s all we think about. If you’re not a fan, you’ll quickly learn to pretend you are and arm yourself with a make-believe favourite club, because overseas locals love to ask who you support.
Or in my case, you just have to shut down any footie related conversation with the revelation that you’re a Brit who doesn’t even know the rules of football, let alone have any interest.
Perhaps it’s the amount of pubs we have, our legal street drinking or the fact that bingeing is our weekend habit – whatever it is, word has got around that Brits love the booze. This means you may get a few furtive glances if you’re not on the liquor but it also means you’re unlikely to be challenged at drinking games. The Australians think they can take top place on the leader board, but we know different.
9. We’re super polite
That would be correct – polite and proud. We are overtly appreciative and profusely apologetic, but it’s what makes us so darn nice. We’d encourage you not to try to prove this one wrong. Thank you, please.
10. We eat terrible food
With fish and chips, Sunday dinners and Nando’s, it’s hard to believe that other nations think the UK doesn’t serve up good grub. You should defend our foodie goods to the death and if they don’t believe you, ask your new travel buds to visit you back home where you can show them that nothing beats a Saturday night kebab.
11. We live in castles and cottages
Movies have a lot to answer for when it comes to stereotypes and it’s because of flicks like Braveheart, Harry Potter and The Holiday that others around the world believe our accommodation options are very twee and traditional. They haven’t seen the new build cul de sacs or council house estates where the majority of us dwell – up to you whether you feel the need to enlighten them or not.
12. Us Brits are emotionally stunted
Again, this could be one brought about by the movies or those awfully posh accents we’re believed to have, or Hugh Grant; either way it’s thought that Brits aren’t the best when it comes to showing their emotions or even saying what they mean. We know that we’re far from emotionally dead and love a good cry at Corrie, but to the rest of the world we stay tight-lipped, always keep calm and just carry on. A great philosophy for life if you ask me.
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