10 Things That Are Considered Normal in the U.S., But Weird Everywhere Else

Some of the most common practices in America are actually considered pretty weird for people in or from other countries.

Tal Garner
Created by Tal Garner
On Jun 9, 2021

Americans are obsessed with some practices that really make no sense to people from other countries and cultures. From filling half your cup with ice to eating portions normally made for multiple people, it's just not a way of life most of the world is used to. It doesn't mean these practices are wrong or bad, it simply means that what we believe is common isn't actually common. Check out what people from overseas might think is pretty weird...

1

Putting ice in your drinks

One thing that Americans like to do is put a lot of ice in their drinks. Soda, ice coffee, ice tea, etc all have large quantities of ice. When you visit Europe, you notice that ice doesn't typically come with your drinks and you'll only get some if you ask for some. Interestingly enough, there's been quite a few articles on this topic and some experts believe it may be part of the 'more is more' mentality.

Do you prefer ice in your drinks?

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2

Hanging and flying American flags... Everywhere

Businesses, historical sites and residential homes alike enjoy hanging American flags. Other countries don't really have this obsession, but the U.S. does...

3

Smiling at strangers

The U.S. has a reputation of being almost overly-friendly to strangers. With businesses boasting 'service with a smile,' it's become very common for American children to be taught that smiling at others is the polite thing to do. Walking down the street it's normal for people to smile and say 'hi' to anyone who passes by... It's just a part of the culture at this point. Even when someone bumps into you at the store, many will likely brush it off with a smile. It's the most default facial expression.

How do you feel when strangers smile at you?

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4

Writing the date starting with the month

In the U.S., people typically write the date out with the month first, then day, then year. However, people in other parts of the world (like the UK and Europe), write it out in the format of day first, then month, then year. To Americans, writing the day out first is quite confusing, but to much of the world, not putting the day first just doesn't make sense.

5

Eating bread that almost always tastes sweet

Americans are accustomed to sweet foods, and while many people (Americans alike) wouldn't consider bread a dessert, it's actually loaded with quite a bit of sugar. This isn't the case in most of the world though, as other cultures wouldn't dare make bread with tons of sugar and prefer it to be a savory food. What do you think about sweet bread?

How do you prefer your bread?

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6

Taking leftover food home from a restaurant

In America it's commonpractice to ask a server for a to-go box if we can't finish our meal in the restaurant. Many people will even go to a restaurant with friends or family and order a meal knowing they will only want it to-go to eat at home later.

7

Planning events months in advance

How much of a planner are you? Americans typically like to plan way in advance, as in months ahead of any event. 4th of July? People already know what they're doing in May. Christmas/Winter break? Oh, don't worry, that's already been planned at the end of summer. It's not common for most Americans to do things last-minute, unless they've come from a different culture and understand different practices. Otherwise, forget about it, the event's invite will be there 2 months ahead of time.

How early do you plan events? (For ex: a birthday party)

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8

Throwing baby showers

While baby showers are a big deal in the U.S., it'd be hard to find anyone in another country doing the same. Outside of the states, some people find them really weird and even kind of rude.

9

Tipping is expected

Not tipping in the U.S. is extremely frowned upon and let's just say... Definitely expected. In other parts of the world, tipping can be quite the opposite - as the service is included in the cost. In fact, some people even think tipping is rude.

Do you typically leave a tip?

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10

Eating giant portions of food

In the odd case you didn't know, food portions (and honestly many other items), are huge. People who come to the U.S. from other parts of the world can't believe how big American portions are. Sodas come in jumbo sizes, candies can be extra-large and hamburgers that are the size of your head are typical.