Its a bit of a dreary day here in Sheffield but we’re getting into the Christmas spirit and putting up the decorations to make the office look a bit more festive. We also got on to the topic of weather which everyone knows the British are renowned for. It may be our little ice breaker or most used conversation filler but us Brits love nothing more than to have a good chat about the weather. So this got us onto thinking about other typically British traits and whether or not we actually live up to them (a bit like everyone thinking the French wear berets and stripy tops all day).
We decided to ask around the office of what traits were quintessentially English and what were sheer damn stereotype. Some of them may surprise you.
1.We love a good queue.
Yep we’ll hold our hands up. Us British love nothing more than a good queue but it has to be a fast moving one if you don’t want to hear us start complaining. Anything that involves standing in a line and checking our watches to see how long we’ve been stood there definitely gets a big thumbs up from us. We’ve even stood in queues when we’re not quite sure what for or even to enable us to join another queue. And woah betide anyone who thinks they can queue jump. Its practically a criminal offence.
2.A stiff upper lip, you say?
Maybe back in the 1950s but since the birth of TV reality shows such as the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, where ratings basically correspond to the number of tears gushed by the audience or a judge been rendered speechless by a performance, us Brits have definitely traded in those stiff upper lips in preference for wearing our hearts on our sleeves. And for those of us who have yet to surrender to this theatrical performance of emotion, you’ll be sure to catch us crying into our tea cup watching a David Attenborough documentary.
3.You drink a lot of tea, right?
The nation known for its tea drinking has now turned into a nation of coffee lovers. We now buy more coffee than tea and nothing has become trendier in the UK than to set up a café that sells fancy coffees. Whilst the barista spends an age perfecting your chai spice latte or Borgia, the most you’ll get from them is dunking a tea bag into steaming hot water and asking if you want milk with that. Its definitely not the tea making ceremony the Victorians were accustomed to.
Yep we’ll hold our hands up to that one as well, however I did once meet a Texan girl who gave me a run for my money, but in general you can’t go wrong with a bit of sarcasm. Some Brits have perfected it that much that even other Brits aren’t too sure whether they are being sarcastic or actually being genuine. As we’re still not 100% comfortable talking about our feelings (but quite happy to ball our eyes out at talent shows), sarcasm is our perfect form of endearment to loved ones. The more sarcastic we are with you, the more we like you as a human being.
5.Gossiping with our neighbours over the garden fence
A recent poll showed that Britain is becoming increasingly less neighbourly with only 1 in 4 saying they know anything about the people next door. However that doesn’t mean we’re still not up for a good gossip. We’ve just moved it into the office near the water cooler and whilst sat at the bar. Plus its not gossiping. Its giving our opinion on other people’s life choices.
6.Only eating meat and two veg
That was probably correct up until the 1970s when we started to get a bit more adventurous in the kitchen (curry anyone?). In fact, Brits are getting so adventurous in the kitchen that we’re even starting to neglect the matriarch of British Cuisine; the Sunday Roast. These days, you’re more likely to find us whipping up a Thai green curry or layering sheets onto a lasagna than you are seeing us tucking into meat and two veg.
7.Obsession with property prices
Obsession might be taking it a bit too far but we do love to talk about our property prices and the ever buoyant housing market. If we’re not in the process of selling and telling you how much our property has gone up by then we certainly know someone who is. We’re a nation of home-owners and nothing says you’re a responsible adult quite as much as owning you own home.
8.Wanting a good tan
We’ll hold our hands up to this one as well. When you only get 3 good months of sunshine a year and run the real risk of having your vitamin D levels depleted before the first signs of Spring, having a good tan is always preferred to pasty white skin. Whether its real or fake, us Brits like nothing better than to get that golden glow – its a sign of health, right?
This depends on who you ask. For those of us who have to drive into the city everyday then the answer is an undisputed yes. We might get mad but due to our British politeness (yes that is a thing), we’ll let all those pusher-ins in but will continue to curse them for the next 10 miles or so just to make ourselves feel better. Us Brits like to queue and we get easily offended when other don’t. And don’t even get us started on if they don’t say thank you for letting them in…
10.Obsession with the Royal Family.
Love them or loathe them, the Royal family is what makes us quintessentially British. Yes we prefer some members over others but ultimately we do have a soft spot for the Royals. Whether it was growing up on fairytales or the additional bank holidays we get from their weddings, we love the British Royal Family as they have an ability to bring the nation together (99% of TV audiences watched the Royal Wedding back in 2011). We’ve tried the whole Republic thing but even back in 1660, we decided to get the Royals back and we’ve stuck with them ever since.
So all in all we probably do live up to our typical British traits.Even though we’ll quite happily laugh at our country and ourselves or complain about typically British things, we’re immensely proud of our country and traditions which means you shouldn’t make fun of us lightly or at least expect an earful back from a very patriotic Brit.
Until next time,
Katy and the admin team.