20 Annoying Habits of Americans the Rest of the World Can’t Stand

Americans seem to do things a bit differently from the rest of the world. As one of the most influential countries on earth, its no surprise its presence is so widely felt.

Thanks to the influence of US TV and movies, some perceptions are slightly misguided. Nonetheless, these bizarre habits and unusual stereotypes make for some amusing perceptions. 

Here’s a look at some of the hilarious and bizarre things the US does differently that drive the rest of the world mad!

The Tipping System

Close up of hotel employee wearing uniform holding money cash taking payment from customer while working in hospitality industry, selective focus. Waitress receiving tip from generous client
Image credit: DC Studio / Shutterstock.com

What’s with all the tipping? Many foreigners are baffled by the demanding tipping culture. They often question the weird unspoken rule, especially when service and tax aren’t included in the meal price. 

Not to mention, many find it ridiculous that it’s based on a percentage rather than the quality of service and don’t understand the rules. 

National Pride

Woman holding American flag against the background of an industrial plant
Image credit: BearFotos / Shutterstock.com

No one seems to do national pride quite like Americans. The idea of having to say the pledge of allegiance every morning at school is a truly alien and frankly quite a dystopian concept to many Europeans.

Overly Friendly

Customers being rude to retail worker
Image Credit: DC Studio / Shutterstock.com

Given that most service industry staff work on commission, it makes sense to Americans that they are always over-attentive. However, for non-Americans, the helpful staff is frankly a bit off-putting. It’s not normal outside of America to constantly be asked how your days are going, and to be honest, it feels a bit invasive.

Thinking Europe Is A Country

people looking at a globe
Image credit: Pressmaster / shutterstock.com

One thing that drives the rest of the world crazy is America’s lack of geographical awareness. Europe is not a country; it’s a continent, and the UK isn’t in Europe. Saying you’ve been on holiday to Europe literally doesn’t mean anything nor indicate what you were doing.

Talking To Strangers

Happy teen greeting waving hand and friend ignoring her in the street
Image Credit: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

The rest of the world finds it very unusual how people openly converse with random strangers. Outside of the States, most people keep their heads down and are taught to mind their own business, something Americans don’t seem to understand.

Volume

Women are already strong. Shot of a young woman screaming into a loud speaker while protesting in the city.
Image Credit: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A / Shutterstock.com

Americans have developed a reputation for being notoriously loud and brash. For the most part, the rest of the world finds this lack of self-awareness incredibly annoying.

Spelling

Teacher explaining to student at language training
Image credit: Elnur / shutterstock.com

For some reason, there’s a distinct difference in how Americans spell certain words, which other English-speaking countries like the UK and Australia can’t stand. 

Walking

Retired senior couple walking with dog
Image Credit: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A / Shutterstock.com

Especially for Europeans, the fact that nowhere in the US seems to be pedestrianized is very odd. Not being able to walk to the shop or having to get in a car to go anywhere is an unnatural concept. 

Healthcare

Hand arranging wood block with healthcare medical icon. Health insurance - concept.
Image credit: REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock.com

The lack of free or even affordable healthcare is bizarre. Having to pay for the ambulance or emergency services to come out just seems morally wrong to the rest of the world.

The Accents

Doubting dissatisfied man looking at woman, bad first date concept, young couple sitting at table in cafe, talking, bad first impression, new acquaintance in public place, unpleasant conversation
Image Credit: fizkes / Shutterstock.com

It’s all subjective, but given there are countless different accents across the States, some foreigners find specific ones very jarring and sometimes difficult to understand.

Drinking Age

Stop Drinking Alcohol
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

Most foreigners find it bizarre that you can be conscripted into the army, drive a car, own a gun, and get married, all before you can legally have a drink.

Cars

Rush-hour traffic approaching the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge
Image Credit: Aaron Kohr / Shutterstock.com

Not only is nothing pedestrianized, there seems to be a serious lack of public transport. The only way people seem to get around is by car, which means there’s constant traffic and terrible pollution.

The Silent H

Split personality. Angry young woman screaming at herself with quiet finger on lips gesture. Negative human emotion face expression
Image Credit: pathdoc / Shutterstock.com

Calling herbs ‘erbs’ really riles up the Brits. The ‘h’ isn’t meant to be silent; otherwise, it wouldn’t be there.

Eating Contests

Photo credit: Doucefleur / Shutterstock.com

Watching someone gorge themselves to the point where they are in pain, all in the hopes of getting a free meal with a side of temporary glory, seems like a uniquely American concept. 

Excessive Ice

Refreshing summer drink, iced lemon
Image credit: Irina Rostokina / Shutterstock.com

Ordering any kind of cold beverage in the US is the equivalent of getting a glass of ice with a bit of added flavoring (which they’ll then charge a fortune for). Not to mention, putting ice cubes in wine is a surefire way to wind up the Europeans.

Imperial Measurement

person calculating gravitational waves
Image credit: Aree_S / Shutterstock.com

While the rest of the world uses the metric system, Americans seem content with being different, making it a nightmare for foreigners to ever understand what they’re talking about, especially regarding the weather or speed limits.

Arrogance

Angry boss shouting to an employee
Image Credit: Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com

The rest of the world finds Americans to be pretty loud and obnoxious. There’s a common disdain for US tourists when traveling abroad, thanks to their reputation for being arrogant and entitled, especially when it comes to their beliefs that the customer is always right. This is a concept that much of the rest of the world just can’t stand.

Supersized Food

Surprised young woman receiving paper boxes with hot pizza from unrecognizable courier male on doorway at home. Rear view of delivery man delivering boxes with food to female client at apartment.
Image credit: Dikushin Dmitry / Shutterstock.com

Small doesn’t seem to exist in the US. The jumbo-sized food portions are frankly concerning for most foreigners. While some enjoy larger servings, the constant excess is pretty overwhelming, given that the options are usually limited to something between a large and XXL. 

Soccer

Die-hard sports fan watching football
Image credit: ViDI Studio / Shutterstock.com

It’s not soccer; it’s football. The fact that Americans call football soccer and have a whole other sport called football is bizarre. Especially given that American football doesn’t even involve using your foot in anywhere near the same way as the actual version, it truly baffles non-Americans.

Pharmaceutical Commercials

Middle age senior woman sitting at the table at home clueless and confused expression with arms and hands raised. Doubt concept.
Image Credit: Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

Commercials for pharmaceutical drugs are a weird American concept the rest of the world doesn’t get. Advertising prescription drugs, especially on daytime TV channels, seems very wrong to many outside of the US.

Not All Bad

Cheerful generation z friends having fun together outdoors. Group of multiethnic friends smiling at the camera cheerfully. Vibrant young people making happy memories together.
Image Credit: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

Of course, this list is a generalization (much like believing Europe is all one country). Still, because of how popular and appealing the US is as a country, it’s no surprise that people have developed a few issues with it. Like with life, there are pros and cons to everything, and when it comes to a clash of cultures, you will undoubtedly get some funny outcomes. 

More From SewCanShe

Woman reading the law
Image credit: Studio Romantic / Shutterstock.com

17 Iconic Headlines in the 80s that Shaped History for Generations to Come

Older woman watching the news in the 80s
Image credit: KONSTANTIN_SHISHKIN / Shutterstock.com

15 Bizarre And Untrue American Stereotypes That Are Believed Worldwide

Mature African American man with a concerned look.
Image Credit: pixelheadphoto digitalskillet / Shutterstock.com

20 All-American Dishes The Rest of the World Needs to Try

People sharing a New York slice of pizza in the Flatiron District of NYC
Editorial Credit: Brian M Photography / Shutterstock.com

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂