Wealth of Geeks wrote a tongue in cheek article about how people identify Americans in foreign countries.

Generally, being inconspicuous isn’t our strong suit. We have quite a few traits and qualities which make us subjects of fun and mockery. On a more serious level, some are critical of Americans for acting like the world revolves around them, and for expecting others to kowtow to their needs, even when the Americans are the guests in a foreign land.

If you type “what do foreigners think about Americans?” into the YouTube search bar, you’ll find scores of videos. It seems like everyone has thoughts, including Koreans, Africans, Germans and Brits.

You shouldn’t be expected to change who you are when traveling. Just understand that what may fly back home, might cause awkwardness or contention elsewhere.

Do any of the things on this list ring familiar? Are there others you would add?

Speaking Loudly

Photo by Alena Jarrett

We’re loud AF, apparently.

Yes, there’s nothing quite like being at the National Portrait Gallery in London or the Louvre, and hearing an American voice cut over the hushed tones of others.

One person remarked, “oh my God, they’re so loud! Their talking volume is our screaming for help volume!”

According to Speeli, “in the American culture, introversion and humility are considered to be signs of weakness. As a result, Americans became extroverted by nature.”

A second theory is linked to American exceptionalism.

Speeli explains, “because Americans believe they belong to a great nation, it motivates them to try to get noticed, especially when they travel abroad.”


Wearing Baseball Caps

Photo by Lautaro Andreani

Whether your baseball cap bears the logo of the Yankees, the Red Sox or the Phillies, others will peg you as American.

One person recalled an interaction they had with a Brit.

“[He] once told me he knew I was American because I was wearing a baseball cap backward.”

Another said that when in England, Australia and Singapore, locals guessed his nationality for the same reason.




Making Small Talk

Photo by Samantha Sophia

Americans are friendly, and that extends even to people we don’t know.

When you go down South, for example, saying “good morning,” or “good evening,” to strangers is considered mannerly.

But this really won’t fly in places like France, Germany and Switzerland. People there reserve the pleasantries for those they know.

“I tried to be polite and chat with a cashier at a market in Germany,” one user said. “He looked baffled and didn’t know how to reply.”

Asking For Ranch Dressing

Photo by Gift Habeshaw

Ranch is a beloved American condiment, but don’t expect to find it anywhere else.

According to Thrillist, “to call America obsessed with ranch is an understatement. At least a third of American households have some kind of ranch product in their house at any given time.”

As shared by Wealth of Geeks, an American woman went to France and asked for ranch dressing. She was aghast when the waiter told her there wasn’t any available. She made such a scene, that the waiter told her to go back to her own country if she had to have it.



Wanting To Tip

Photo by Kenny Eliason

Tipping is the norm throughout the U.S. We do it for taxi drivers, delivery people, tattoo artists, bartenders and waitstaff.

Foreigners find this perplexing and wonder why we don’t just push for living wages.

An American said, “every time I visit my relatives in Italy, they say, ‘don’t ruin it for us.’ They don’t want the whole tipping thing to catch on.”



Saying "Y'all"

Photo by Andra C Taylor

This contraction is a dead giveaway.

“I said it when I went to Europe,” wrote one American online. “Immediately outed me.”

Plenty of folks in the South use it, as well as folks who speak African American Vernacular English (AAVE).

The Grammarist writes, “although the word is generally considered out of place in formal writing, writers from regions that use the contraction sometimes use it in writing to affect a folksy or very informal tone.”


How We Describe Distances And Handle Measurements

Photo by Mike Walter

Generally, when talking about road trips, we refer to the hours between points rather than the miles.

When someone on Quora asked why, an American named Chris Everett wrote, “because it’s a more useful measurement. Miles doesn’t really reflect things like traffic or road conditions in a way that hours can.”

We also have no interest in adopting the Metric system. The U.S. is one of very few nations which use the Imperial system.

There’s nothing wrong with this. But hearing “feet, inches and pounds” overseas might make locals scratch their heads.