JOIN
OUR EMAIL LIST!

As we know, "norms" is a misleading term. What is normal is far too relative for that word to carry much certainty.

Normal is defined by the social environment, a context that comes in a variety of sizes. The context could be a particular home, workplace, town, province, cultural group, or even an entire country.

A recent Reddit thread focused on the various norms of daily life established in all different countries. The common, ever-excepted mundane details of a nation apparently compel people to assume those quirks happen across the whole world.

So it's an eye-opening moment when one realizes that common trope is actually unique, weird, and rare literally everywhere else.

getfookenrekt asked, "What is a common thing in your country but rare in others?"

Spanish Rhythms

"Such cheap olive oil. And eating incredibly late. Lunch is more or less at 1-3 pm, and dinner at 9-10 pm. That is why in Spain we have snacks between foods" -- prepelde

"Isn't the reason for eating late having to do with an old dictator's rule or something? I remember reading about that." -- Talldadmn

"I'm sure that's part of it, but Italy operates on more or less the same schedule. It might just be more of a Mediterranean cultural thing." -- HorseMeatSandwich

"It's a bit of both. Especially in summer in hot countries late dinner when it's not as obnoxiously hot just makes sense too" -- ndop

Sweat | Noise | Power

"Saunas in most apartments or at least apartment buildings, haven't lived in a building that doesn't have one."

"A lot of great well known (and underground) metal bands."

"And a nuclear power plant that is at this point 11 years behind schedule and according to Wikipedia the 3rd most expensive building in the world."

-- Under_the_Red_Cloud

Northern Delights

"Poutine. Goddamn are you guys missing out on poutine. Seriously unhealthy, but also good for the soul, so is it really unhealthy? Yes. Yes it is. But you're still missing out."

"For those wondering, it's fries topped with gravy and cheese curds."

-- LookAtMeImAName

Sugar and Fat

"In Colombia, hot chocolate is served with slices of salted cheese in it." -- Damagingking7

"I feel like that is something that sounds disgusting but actually isn't that bad." -- b17pineapple

"It's really good actually. Specially because sugar and fat goes really well together." -- Arturosas

Closed, or Thorough?

"People don't talk to new people here for some reason" -- therealCyborg2300

" 'I'd rather stand than sit on that empty seat next to a stranger' -Every swede ever." -- ithinkericssonhitus

"I remember striking up a conversation with a stranger in Scandinavia."

"She said, 'You must be American. Only Americans talk to strangers. That's one thing I miss about America when I lived in Los Angeles for a few years. Here nobody ever talks to anyone unless they have been formally introduced.' " -- Adam0018

Sudden Darkness

"Scheduled blackouts to reduce pressure on the electrical grid" -- MealieMeal

"Especially the kind they just surprise you with at a random time in the afternoon. Stage tw-four! HaHA, had you going there! Now pay my exorbitant fees, peasant." -- Cereal_Experiments45

The Horrors of Daytime Television

"Pharmaceutical ads." -- cant_help_myself

"And the grocery list of potential life ending side effects they come with." -- XxsquirrelxX

"Antidepressant commercials like: 'You're gonna feel great if you don't get fat, impotent, and violently suicidal! Good luck!!!' " -- hannibalstarship

Necessities

"Bagged milk, legal weed and fermented maple syrup." -- MagicMushroomFungi

"Bagged milk was a mystery I loved in school. Lil square pouch and you'd just shank it with the straw and SUCK" -- S0LDIER-X

Fizzy Paste

"Root beer. In America this is widely available and basically universally liked, but give it to someone from another country, especially a European country, and they will hate it." -- Talldadmn

"My Brother in law is from Denmark and he says root beer tastes like their toothpaste. He hates root beer and cant understand why we love it so much." -- alternateunicorn

Keeps Mental Math Sharp

"Tax not included in advertised price" -- UltimateAnswer42

"Land above you does that too. Greetings from Canada." -- iamthemicx

"Had no idea this wasn't normal up until now tbh. I thought most western societies did this, not just us Canadians and America" -- chowder7


Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Gary Pratt/Flickr

There are few things more annoying than when you are seeking advice and someone responds with a boring platitude that helps no one. Believe it or not, if you choose to provide advice, it needs to be specific to the situation and shouldn't be dressed up in trite phrasing. Does saying, "Keep your head up" actually contribute anything if that's all you have to say when someone comes to you in search of a listening ear?

But this goes deeper than just advice, to be fair. Some of us are sick of greedy corporations that stress the importance of being a "family" while refusing to pay proper wages. Still more of us are tired of people using certain language when other language can suffice.

After Redditor BensReddits asked the online community, "What is a phrase you absolutely hate hearing?" people shared their stories.

Keep reading... Show less

Dating is difficult––and truth be told, I don't know how anyone can do it right now, what with a pandemic going on and all. Just the thought stresses me out. Dating is especially hard for people who defy expectations in a heteronormative society. Take bisexuals, for example.

Keep reading... Show less

We all know someone who really cannot figure out even the most basic thing without copious amounts of help. But when you meet someone who is completely and totally past all help, how do you even begin to try to help them get along?

Keep reading... Show less

We're all well aware of the weird, horrible, predatory things men do when attracted to women. But what about when women are the culprits?

Keep reading... Show less