Non-Americans Explain Which Things About America Confuse Them The Most
When Americans visit a foreign country, they tend to notice immediate cultural differences from the minute they step off the plane.
Unique bathroom designs, how you might have to be more specific when ordering coffee in Australia, how many businesses in Spain tend to shut down for a few hours to take a siesta.
Needless to say, this goes both ways, as when people from all over the world visit the United States, they tend to be surprised and amazed by a number of things.
Ranging from the amusing, such as portion sizes and ineffective tea brewing (at least for the Brits) to the truly baffling (HEALTHCARE).
Redditor JuniorGarlic6053 was curious to hear the things about the United States which baffled and confused the rest of the world most of all, leading them to ask:
"Non-American people, what’s a thing that you don’t understand about America?"
You Mean, People DON'T File Their Own Taxes Elsewhere?!?!
"Does every worker have to file their own taxes or am I just confused?"- ThePencil67
"Why they make you calculate your own taxes, if they know what you owe."- redder2023
"So, why do you buy politicians' merchandise? "
"Shirts, caps, banners, stickers, etc."
"They're public servants, not rockstars."
"Also, usually the more boring they are, the better."- akashyyConor Mckenna Influencer GIF by FoilArmsandHogGiphy
"Scottish person here but the work/always available for work culture."
"Minimal vacation time, minimal maternity/paternity leave and the fact you can pretty much just be let go."
"It makes me sad to think about it!"
"But I do love that you guys cram so much into your time off - you guys love a road trip!"- Frosty_Dragonfly_682
Definitely Something To Consider...
"What is up with Homeowner Associations?"
"Why would you pay to let a nosy neighbor dictate what you can and can not do on your own property?"
"I understand living in an apartment block and paying maintenance fees etc, but in a suburban home?"- Skoodledoo
There Are Some Good Observations
"The amount of National Parks!"
"My dream came true in 2017 to make an RV trip southwest off USA."
"Yosemite blew my mind away."- Independent-Ad9787national parks GIF by Visit The USAGiphy
"How you can say the word 'mirror' without the use of any vowels."
I Ordered A Small!
"Why everything is just SO damn supersized."
"My first time in America I went to get ice coffee from Dunkin Donuts, I ordered a large and my friend is like, 'are you sure you want large'?"
"Yeah no biggie, in the UK a large is not overwhelming I feel so I was expecting the same kinda thing."
"Oh my god it was like a god damn bucket of coffee."
"I think maybe a small would have been equivalent to a UK large, lesson swiftly learnt."
Some People Are Lucky To Just Have One Roommate...
"How you have to share a room with some complete rando when you go to college."- ChoppingOnionsForYouRoommates Move In GIF by James Madison UniversityGiphy
Some People Just Can't Stop Talking
"The culture of just talking to people, strangers you don't know and just up and start a conversation with them or join a conversation."
"I'm British, and we go through great lengths to not talk to people, let alone open up and pour our hearts out to a random person."- MrGlayden
In Other Words: Severs Deserve to Be Paid More!
"The tipping culture is so foreign to me, I would be so scared to make a mistake or not tipping enough if I ever go to America because it's not something which is common here in Denmark."- Cupsuu
The Commercials, Maybe?
"I’m American but I’ve worked with a lot of people who aren’t."
"The one thing they always wonder is why Americans are so obsessed with the NFL."
"They think it’s a boring sport."
"They explained 'you wait for 30 seconds, they hike the ball, you get about 5-10 seconds of action, then you wait another 30 seconds, another 5-10 seconds of action, then commercial break'."- yougotthesilver12Kansas City Chiefs Football GIF by Fighting Illini AthleticsGiphy
School Is No Place To Have Fun!
"My mom is from Moscow during the Soviet Era, and she is confused why there is no teacher-student hierarchy."
'She thinks it's weird when teachers participate in school plays or speak to students informally."
"She also DOES NOT GET pajama day."
"To her, it's just the weirdest thing in the world."
"In Russia, there is an important distinction between 'clothes for home' and 'clothes for outside'."
"They have a concept of 'home clothes', like your cozy or ugly clothes, that you are supposed to change into after school or work."
"At bedtime, you change out of your 'home clothes' into pajamas."
"As a result, pajamas, for both adults and children, are considered extra-extra private in Russia."
"My mom perceives pajama day as something extreme like wearing only undergarments to school."
"That's how private pajamas are considered to be in Russia!"- racheltolmach2022
A Debate Which Will Likely Never End
"MM/DD/YYYY"- SuvenPananimation domination calendar GIF by gifnewsGiphy
Living in America comes with a number of advantages and a number of detriments.
Speaking personally though, had I known I wouldn't have to file my own taxes in Australia, I would have expatriated long ago...
We get it, we're all super busy, and sometimes it's really hard to get all the chores done around work and living our lives.
But there are appliances we can have in our home, like a dishwasher, that can make those chores much more convenient.
However, they could really ruin our day, too, if we use them incorrectly.
Redditor Loud-Situation2643 asked:
"What should never go into the dishwasher?"
Can This Go Without Saying?
"The toilet brush! I read a story here about somebody that does that regularly."
"That’s disturbing. I had a landlord tell me to put my cat’s litter box in the dishwasher weekly to keep the cat smell down. I did not take her up on that advice."
"Your toilet brush. My friend found out the hard way her housemate was doing this WHILE DOING THE DISHES."
"Fish. I worked apartment maintenance and a lovely old couple ruined, like, three dishwashers in a row by using them to steam fish. Very gross, considering the pre-wash cycle uses the gray water from the last cycle."
"Smelled pretty bad, too."
"I'll admit, we run some knives through, but only the crummy ones. The good ones, NEVER, and ideally those are hand-washed right away after use and not left to sit with anything on them."
Cast Iron Accessories
"I found a La Creuset Dutch Oven on clearance sale at crate and barrel of all places. I immediately bought it. Still, a lot of money to spend, but it was the best purchase I ever made for my kitchen."
"I fully understand why people pass these down from generation to generation. It’s in amazing condition for the number of times I’ve used it. And it’s dishwasher safe!"
"I still hand wash mine, because it’s like a child to me, and I don’t trust my partner to handle it! I always said I’d be a chef if I didn’t love what I do right now. So the fancy kitchen stuff I have always gets hand washed."
"P.S. their website says it’s dishwasher safe, but they recommend a hand wash for longevity and because the enamel can eventually wear down in a dishwasher."
Also, Wooden Kitchen Accessories
"Wooden Cutting boards."
"This is one of my luxuries in life. Using a machine to wash your wooden spoons will shorten their life by a lot. Hand washed and well cared for a wooden spoon will last decades."
"A set of bamboo wooden spoons is like $12, so I buy a new set every year or two. $12 to not hand wash every night? Yes please."
Liquid Dish Soap. Enough Said.
"My daughter did this once, WOW, what a soapy disaster."
Also, Laundry Detergent
"When I first moved into my own apartment, my mom gave me a sandwich bag full of about a dozen detergent pods as a 'These will help you start off on your own' gesture."
"The first night of living in my own apartment, I fired up the dishwasher. 20 minutes later while playing video games, I noticed this wave of suds moving toward me from the kitchen. When I say a wave, I mean it. I have never seen so many d**n bubbles."
"That’s how I learned my wonderful mom gave me both dishwasher detergent pods AND laundry detergent pods in the same sandwich bag. I had a 50/50 odds and boy did I lose, lmao (laughing my a** off)."
"Needless to say, this happening on my first night living on my own had me questioning what I was doing, and if I would be better off living in my mom’s basement for the rest of eternity."
We Need a Storytime for This One
"The part of the blender that says, 'Do Not Immerse.'"
Protect the Detailed Glassware at All Costs
"All my PRETENTIOUS fancy brewery glasses. Those designs are staying where they are."
"I put a printed shot glass into the dishwasher that was part of a set. It came out clean all right, picture completely dissolved."
That Would Be Terrible
"Your secret cash stash."
Ew ew ew.
"Mashed potato residue. Oh my god, it gets on EVERYTHING. Especially if the chunks are too large to fit through the filter. It just sits in the water and coats everything."
For the 'Friends' Fans Out There
"Paper, snow… A ghost!"
"I found out recently, you aren't supposed to put your girlfriend's collectible Starbucks cups in there."
Reddit's Got Jokes
"As a new father, I wish you'd told me earlier."
And Feathered Jokes
"Who are you that you are so wise in the ways of science?"
While dishwashers were invented to make our lives a little bit easier when it's time to wash the dishes, there are some items that, when placed in there, could really ruin someone's day.
People Describe The All-Time Best Episodes Of Television They've Ever Seen
TV enthusiasts could argue that shows on television are a more compelling and superior form for media entertainment.
A story arc can be played out to its fullest potential without shortchanging the audience with a two-and-a-half hour duration of a film.
While movies are in their own category, TV shows–including short miniseries–can engage an audience over a span of seasons as long as there is more stories to tell.
Some TV shows break away from the formula and can feature anthology–or standalone–episodes that are impressive in their own right.
Whether it's a featured independent storyline or a memorable moment within a show's season, Redditor stevenpost asked:
"What's the greatest episode of a tv show ever made?"
These comedic shows offered up plenty of memorable laughs.
From "The Simpsons"
"Marge v. the Monorail"
That Dark Mockumentary
"What we do in the shadows - 'On the Run' (the Jackie Daytona episode)"
Such A Snakehole
"The snake juice episode of Parks and Rec."
"The scrubs episode with Brendan Frasier. I didn't know a 22 min show could make me cry."
This classic TV show still resonates with newer viewers.
It's Hard To Choose
"The twilight zone episode monsters are due on maple street"
"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices... to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill... and suspicion can destroy... and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own—for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."
"Will the real Martian please stand up is also a classic"
"Incident on a small island, to be believed or disbelieved. However, if a sour-faced dandy named Ross or a big, good-natured counterman who handles a spatula as if he'd been born with one in his mouth, – if either of these two entities walk onto your premises, you'd better hold their hands – all three of them – or check the color of their eyes – all three of them. The gentlemen in question might try to pull you in – to The Twilight Zone."
Here are some hauntingly compelling examples.
Based On The Tragic Event
"Chernobyl- Vichnaya Pamyat"
'... they mistakenly sent the one good man. For God's sakes Boris, you were the one who mattered the most.'
"Not the best line of that episode, but definitely in the top."
Shoutout To Firefighters
"It’s difficult for me to pick a 'best episode' from Chernobyl because in my mind it’s possibly the best television ever made from start to finish. Pacing is fast and there’s literally not a wasted shot in the entire series."
"Open Wide, O Earth is my honorable mention episode just for the inclusion of the firefighters. Full-blown body horror that hits even harder because it’s based on stuff that actually happened. The show has lots of excellent horror sequences but the firefighters arc definitely stands out as the most memorable to me."
Picard's Wakeup Call
"The Inner Light - Star Trek TNG"
The Gripping Tracking Shot
"'Who goes there' of True Detective is a serious adrenaline ride. Great episode from a fantastic show."
The Face Off
"Better Call Saul - Chicanery."
One of the best episodes I've seen recently was from the penultimate episode of This Is Us.
After taking a break from watching the show after being overwhelmed with being behind, I was encouraged to keep watching it. I'm glad I did.
Not only did this particular episode profoundly give the beautiful show a worthy send-off, but it also helped me process a lot of emotions as I continue to struggle to deal with a family member living with a cruel mental illness.
Everyone has insecurities.
Be it speaking in public, wearing beach attire, or even one's profession, very few people don't have at least one topic of conversation that is bound to make them red in the face.
Some people are pretty adept at hiding their discomfort and can manage to persevere through their phobias with their dignity intact.
Others are not so lucky and often go to great lengths to hide their insecurities, only to make them even more apparent.
"What screams 'I’m insecure'?"
The Wisest People Are Those Always Willing To Learn
"When people are unable to admit that they don’t know something."- slimytoadsnot listening no way GIFGiphy
Other People's Success Are Not Your Failures
"Mocking someone else's achievement."- SuvenPan
Never Pick Yourself Up By Taking Others Down
"Belittling others."- Term-Haunting
"Always talking badly about others and trying to make them look weak/bad."- PildithThe Simpsons GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Maybe Honesty Isn't Always The Best Policy...
"When you're quick to be 'brutally honest' with others, but have a meltdown when someone does it back to you."-eF240uKX52hp
Not As Funny As They Think...
"People who tear other people down as a joke but then get mad when they get it handed back to them."
"Clearly they either aren’t joking or are too sensitive to be dishing out sh*t."- babythrottlepop
Being On Top Adds More Possibilities Of Falling Down...
"Trying to one-up people in every conversation."- Flanky_Bwai
"One upping people in conversation."
"If I tell you I had a great trip to X place, I don’t need to hear about your better trip to someplace else that’s ostensibly 'better'."- I_Am_The_Grapevinekristen wiig television GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
Some Things Speak For Themselves...
"Constantly saying what kind of person you are."
"If you were, you wouldn’t have to tell us."- ubereddit
A Little Contrition Goes A Long Way...
"Making excuses and even twisting the facts but never apologize."- SuvenPan
But Enough About Me, What Do You Think Of Me?
"Constant projection and self-serving compliments."- nhabzLook At Me Kiki GIF by The Bachelor AustraliaGiphy
What Are They Even Trying To Prove?
"Revving your vehicle loudly every time you pass another person."- msnmck
Superior By Association
“'You will address me by my husband’s rank!'”- Psychological-Stay16
"Elaborate Instagram and Facebook posts declaring love for one’s significant other over and over and over."- jbmaunHappy Married At First Sight GIF by LifetimeGiphy
Always Needing Validation
"People who can’t think or feel anything without being told that it’s okay to do so."- Diesel07012012
It's sad that so many people think the only way to overcome something which makes them embarrassed or afraid is by embarrassing or demeaning others.
When being open and honest about your insecurities might, instead, result in your finding common ground with others.
And making new, lifelong friends in the process.
People Confess Which Things From Their Childhood They Thought Were Normal Until They Were An Adult
Every family has customs or traditions which are unique to them.
Be it all gathering together to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol every Christmas eve or an annual fried chicken picnic with dark and stormies every fourth of July. They are well aware not everyone does this, which makes it all the more special.
However, depending on the way it was introduced to them, some children are raised to think certain customs or habits done by their family are, indeed, normal.
Only to grow up and realize that theirs might have been the only family in the world which partook in them.
In some cases, this discovery is met with laughs and maybe the tiniest bit of embarrassment.
Other times, it's no laughing matter.
"What's something about your childhood that you thought was normal at the time but realiszd as an adult that it wasn't?"
Seemed Like A Good Idea, Until You Read Why...
"Having a cooler in the car."
"My parents always packed one, there were cokes and waters in it."
"The weird part was there was also always beer in it."
"Didn't matter if we were going 12 hours or 1 hour, they packed a cooler."
"Didn't realize how much my mom was drinking until years later when she become a non-functioning alcoholic."- IslandsOnTheCoast·
Dad Of The Year!
"When i was a kid I thought that all the Korean candy stores were free."
"Like you could go in, take what you wanted and leave."
"I would make friends with other Korean kids, take them to my favorite candy stores and tell them to help themselves. which they did."
"So apparently, whenever we'd visit my family in Korea, my dad would talk to all the candy shop owners in the neighborhood and tell them to put anything me or my friends took, on a tab."
"Maybe it was because i barely even spoke korean, but that whole situation just seemed perfectly f*ckin normal to my oblivious little self."- yaybunz
Boundaries Exist For A Reason
"In hind sight I realize that what I thought was 'freedom' was actually neglect."
"Kids aren't supposed to be left to themselves in such a degree that they end up raising themselves."
"From personal experience doing so leads to a lot of misunderstandings on how things are supposed to be."- Hattkake·
A Little Sensitivity Does Go A Long Way
"Being really sensitive to people's emotions because you never know if they could be in a bad mood."
"Turns out I learned that from my dad to make sure I don't make it worse."- UpstairsDifficult966
Think Carefully If You Have What It Takes To Be A Parent...
"Parents aren't supposed to make fun of their kids, complain about what they have to do for their children, and break down when they don't feel validated by their own child."- Doobledorf
"My mom never cooked, and there would be a lot of nights where I went without food because she didn't buy any."
"I thought it was normal for a mom to sleep the majority of the day."
"In reality she was always f*cked up on painkillers."
"Then, with my grandmother, she was controlling over whatever clothes, shoes, and how my hair looked."
"I always had to look like a good Christian boy."- Additional-Soup3853
"I was in college before I learned that you don't have to get your mother a gift for your birthday because 'she's the one that did all the work that day'."- lylertila
Kind Of Sad To Think Self-Sufficiency Is So Rare...
"Being able to fix things myself."
"My dad is an engineer and throughout my childhood we'd come up with random creative projects to build stuff, he'd show me how to fix things and what safety precautions to look out for."
"Now if something happens at my flat I know how to fix it (or I call my dad and he'll guide me)."
"My boyfriend and friends have no idea how I know this stuff or how to do these things themselves, I always thank my Dad!"
"It's great because I get to save a lot of money, and I've saved money for my friends too!"
"Also, it means a lot to me because at the time and the town I was in girls weren't encouraged to do engineering, but my dad didn't care."
'I was little girl and thought it was essential for me to know how to do these things myself."
'I think he also hoped I'd one day become an engineer!"- imhere2913
Sadly, Not As Common As You Thiink...
"My parents were happily married and our home was happy and loving."- IllChampionship5
"Actually liking your parents/siblings/family."
"Almost everyone I know can't stand the people they grew up with, which I find strange."- ThatDukeGuy
Making A Custom Even More Meaningful
"Every Christmas my parents would buy me and my siblings one Christmas ornament to decorate the tree, which typically highlighted a special event or something important or a topic we were highly interested in that year."
"The tree started off rather bare at first, but after five kids and twenty-five years, that thing was filled from top to bottom, and shows a history of our lives."
"I thought it was how everyone decorated family home Christmas trees for awhile, but apparently it’s pretty unique to us."- RummelNation
Leading To A Massive Vocabulary No Doubt...
"Having a room full of dictionaries."
"I was baffled when I met kids in secondary school (as an adult doing a teacher training course at the time) who didn't even understand the basics of how to use one in their own language, let alone a two-language one."
"My dad was a translator so growing up it was just a normal thing, and I would sometimes just take one and look up random words in different languages for fun."- MrLuxarina
Unbelievable That This Isn't Normal
"Being taught to care about everybody, regardless of race, religion, or politics."
"We were lower middle-class farmers and we played with everyone."
"Everybody was welcome in my parents home."
"We had a ginormous garden and my parents gave our neighbors food out of it."
"My parents taught if you give out love, it’s returned 10 fold."
"Needless to say that bit us in the butt some times."
"But my parents died living and believing that."- SCGranny64
Not Exactly Normal, But Far too Commonplace
"When it would rain we would put pots and pans down to catch the drips."
'I would be sent to go have a slumber party with cousins whenever the electricity would get cut off due to nonpayment."
"I thought it was commonplace for people to go thru stuff like that."- RacksDiciprine
Ultimately, everyone's childhood is unique.
Many are grateful to learn just how unusual or special their childhood is.
For others, the discovery proves to be far too little too late.
Do you have something to add? Let us know in the comments.