A netizen recently asked, “What characteristic screams American?”. Have a look at the top responses below!


Suit Shape

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“When I worked in China – suit shape. Our American partners would usually have a more relaxed fit while the European partners would have more form-fitting suits.” 


Friendly, Talkative, And Fast-Paced

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“I’m considered chatty and bubbly by European standards. By American standards, I’m an introspective wallflower. It was a weird culture shock for me. 

Overall, Americans are friendly, talkative people. Small talk, greetings, and smiling are our cultural norms.

We also are fast-paced. We eat faster and walk faster. Recently, in Italy, it felt like the service staff was purposefully trying to teach us to slow down. They take a long time to get you a check. We learned to chill a bit more and just enjoy the company.” 


Physical Size

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“Often physical size. There are a few people who are generally as big as us, Icelanders and the Dutch for example, but in many places, I’ve been above average in muscularity and physical size when traveling even if I’m relatively unremarkable in the US.” 


American Accent 

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“How we talk. I’m not a linguist, but I feel like the American English accent is more distinctive than other English-speaking accents. Like folks from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and South Africa all sound like they’re cousins of each other (obviously there are differences, but you know what I mean). American English sounds like a distant relative.” 


Baseball-Caps And College T-shirts

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“Speaking as someone who’s lived in Germany and gone to school there, plus being engaged to a European national, it’s baseball caps and college t-shirts.

Europeans (at least Germans) wear brimmed hats for utility, and Americans wear them as a fashion accessory. I’m not talking about trucker hats or snapbacks. I mean the curved bill, full skull-cap hat, they scream American.

On the t-shirts, we Americans love our alma mater. It doesn’t matter where you are, but when you see someone walking around with a Roll Tide shirt on, you know where they’re from.

Slight exceptions for colleges like Harvard or Yale, because they’re so well known I think some people wear them for the style.” 


The “Energy”

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“I don’t know what it is but there is some sort of energy that I can almost always pick up on right away. Today I got on a metro and saw a guy dressed in what a Spanish guy of the same age would wear but immediately clocked him as an American. No idea why.

Something about the ‘energy’ lol. More concretely, there are some clothing choices and mannerisms that obviously seem American (at least to other Americans). I’d be hard-pressed to say exactly what the mannerisms are, but it’s sort of a ‘you know it when you see it’ sort of thing.” 


Drinking Coffee In Go-To Cups

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“Trying to drink coffee in to-go cups. Lots of places expect you to stay and drink it in the store and find the idea of drinking it on the go absurd.

Also, calling it ‘to go’ instead of ‘take away’.” 


‘Forgiveness Over Permission’ As A Way Of Life

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“An assumption that you can just go do something vs. seriously worrying about whether or not you need to get permission from some authority.”, said one user. 

“Yes, ‘forgiveness over permission’ is a way of life and the thought that we can just reason with the other person/impacted party after the fact. I’m generally timid, but I still incorporate enough of this into my work to surprise some of my non-American colleagues.”, another user added. 


Eye Contact

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“Eye contact/staring. Americans will make eye contact with the person to whom their speaking and then look elsewhere. Europeans stare without interaction.

Startling because it feels like a nonverbal request for attention when in reality they are just looking about.” 


Americans Are Loud

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“I am an American. I lived abroad for years. Americans are loud. Not a bad thing in America, just very noticeable in Europe.” 

“It’s true, we’re loud. I was embarrassed to discover this on a trip to the UK.” 


Walking With A Starbucks Paper Coffee Cup

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“Walking on the sidewalk with a paper coffee cup, usually with a Starbucks logo. My Japanese and European friends told me that they thought it was weird we carry our coffees on the go.” 


Switching Knife And Fork Hand

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“Switching knife and fork hand and even more so-Americans tend to place one hand on their lap while eating and Europeans don’t- the second hand (even if not holding a knife) is on the table. Once you notice this you can’t under it.” 


The “Scared” American 

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“In crowded situations, Americans are looking for the way out when things go wrong. I was at the Eiffel Tower for NYE. As it got more and more crowded–with people firing off fireworks in the middle of the crowd–I could tell which of us were Americans, because we were looking for cops/security to shut that crap down.

The cops were WAY off, along the perimeter. Every now and again, there would be a bang, or something would happen and people would cheer–except the Americans who all had a ‘Is this it? Is this how we die…?’ look at their faces.”


Being Extraordinarily Woke

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“Pro-gun, freedom of speech, cultural Christianity, friendly (mostly in the deep south from my experience), talk about racism 24/7, hunting, interracial marriage, etc.” 


Saying ‘Ouch’

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“Saying ‘ouch’. No seriously.  I was overseas with a bunch of other folks getting immunizations in preparation for yet another country and when I said ‘Ouch’ the doc said, ‘Ah, a fellow American’.”

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The article was originally published on Mrs Daaku Studio.


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