Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Oh America, please think before you speak. Sometimes I wonder why God gave us voices.

I understand curiosity about foreign lands, but more often than we realize we're being rude with our questions, even with a jovial mindset and good intention.

We can't just throw out whatever pops into my head. And honestly, some things are best to simply google.

Also, perhaps we should wonder what we'd rather not be asked about our land and culture and apply it.

Redditor u/esq__ wanted hear from people who have been surprised by American inquiries by asking:

Non-Americans of Reddit, what's the weirdest thing an American has said to you?

I am never shocked by the tone deafness of others, especially Americans. I worked in hospitality in NYC, an international hotbed, and the things I've heard people ask others, with a straight face... makes me laugh.

Ancient

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"A middle aged American was surprised to find out Venice was so old (and an actual city for centuries), and not built in the 20th century for tourist purposes."

- gingerPB

Jolly Fools

"Englishman, living in the US for 15 years now. I've been asked a lot of bizarre things but one of the best was someone who asked what language we speak in England, and how long it took me to learn English when I moved here. They gave me a confused, rambling mess."

"They thought all the English speakers had come to found America and left behind the masses of other people who spoke European. Which, to them, was why America wanted independence, to not be ruled by Foreigners who didn't even speak properly."

- zabraxuss

Welcome to Sweden

"When I visited a friend in the US they told me about this amazing furniture shop they had there called IKEA. I'm Swedish."

- AnimalDisco

"Why are there so many Americans who don't know Ikea is Swedish? I'm American and am disappointed that I've seen like three or more comments about Americans who don't know Ikea is Swedish. The store is literally yellow and blue and they have at least a couple Swedish flags around the store, also all the products are in Swedish."

- Blared_Unicorn

"They don't have Guinness there"

"I'm British, was travelling in the states. Got talking to a guy at a bar while we're waiting for service, and he recommended I try a pint of Guinness while in the US. He informed me they don't sell Guinness in the UK. I politely explained that they do indeed have Guinness in just about every pub in the UK."

"He disagreed, adding that he's never been himself but his son in law went to London on business and told him so. I explained I'd lived in the UK including London my whole life. He looked at me lost in thought for a few moments, and said: "They don't have Guinness there," and walked away."

- promunbound

And Youda?

Happy Life Is Good GIF by CANAL+ Giphy

"I once had an American tell me I need to try the "real" Gouda cheese they have in the US because everything else was fake Gouda… I'm Dutch and actually lived near Gouda."

- urafakebetch

We really should be walking around with body cams. This way when we go to rest each night we can review our behaviors. And learn and adjust accordingly. I hope y'all are taking notes.

Oh Lady

Canada Conan Obrien GIF by Team Coco Giphy

"Wow you speak American very well for a foreigner." Thanks lady, I'm Canadian and "American" is the only language I know!"

- stoopio-oh

Once in a Lifetime

"An Austrian friend and I were told about about this magical thing they have in America called Fireworks and how we should go see it at least once in our lives."

- Alarmed_Scientist_15

A lot of countries have centralized fireworks, in the Netherlands a lot of households buy their own and set them off. If you're looking out over a city/town from a bit of height, you just see fireworks everywhere."

"In 2019 Dutch people spent 77 million euros on fireworks for new years eve. (Last year fireworks were forbidden to avoid casualties putting even more pressure on hospitals because corona.) That said, more and more people want to restrict fireworks because it causes a lot of injuries and property damage."

- godonaflatbread

Parents Explain Why They Regret The Name They Gave Their Child | George Takei’s Oh Myyy

What about... Lyft?

"Why do you brits (I'm not British) call an elevator a lift when it goes both up and down?"

"I responded that Americans didn't call an elevator a descendevator when it moves down."

- MonkeyMode

"Do you know where the word elevator comes from? The word elevate which means "to raise or lift something to a higher position." It's literally called a lift for nearly the same reason it is called an elevator."

- ParaYouKnowWho

Excuse me?

In my teens, a friend and I (both males) had met an American girl while visiting the US side of Niagara from Canada. After some small talk, she asked "What kind of jobs do you have?" I responded "I work part-time at Sportchek." For context, Sportchek is a Canadian sports goods and apparel store and as a teen."

"I had no idea it was Canadian only. After explaining to her what Sportchek was, she responded with "Cool, do you guys have Dick's?" For further context, Dick's is an American Sports and apparel store and at the time, I had no idea. I thought she was asking about my penis."

- tranv

Stop talking...

Reaction GIF Giphy

"The typical stuff. Do you have cars trees/dogs/in Germany. Another favorite: Is Hitler still alive?"

- UnhappyCryptographer

2 American ladies...

"I was in a bar in Colorado and I had 2 guys call me a liar when I said we don't have bears in Australia.

Also when I was in England 2 American ladies on a day tour to Stonehenge got stroppy when they couldn't use USD in a shop and then told the tour guide that he didn't sound English because his accent 'wasn't English'. He proceeded to explain and perform all of the various accents from different regions of the UK. It was quite incredible."

- lkm81

Being 7

"Canadian here. I was 7 and in Florida telling my new also 7 year old friend about our money system. I told her we don't have dollar or two dollar bills they are coins and called a loonie and a toonie. She goes and asks her parents and they told her I was lying."

- honeywrites

The Thames

Frustrated Skip Bayless GIF Giphy

"An American asked me if he needed a passport to cross the river Thames as he thought it was the English Channel and that south London was France."

- Individual-Gur-7292

oh no, honey...

"A friend was dating an American, and a bunch of us went out for a pub meal (UK). Now, there's a stereotype that Americans can be a little loud. And, unfortunately, this was the case with this girl. Literally everyone in the pub was giving her side-eye, but no one says anything because that would be rude. My friend very subtly tries to make her aware of the noise level, and she talk-yells, "oh no, honey. I'm not loud. All y'all are just too quiet! Such a quaint little country, y'all need to use your outdoor voices!" We were quite clearly inside."

- CrazySnekGirl

In the South

"I live in the southern hemisphere. Talking to an American online in December, and I mentioned it was summer for me. She kept asking which month I was in (kept insisting it must be June) and couldn't seem to wrap her head around the idea that it was simultaneously December and summer in the southern hemisphere."

- sad_choochoo_train

????

Ummm... media1.giphy.com

"Ah, you're from Denmark. Where in Canada is that again?"

- Al_Capwned13

Let's Chat

"You speak real good English for a foreigner" - I'm British and she knew that.

"Edit: because a lot of people seem to think that no American could ever say this and mean it: it was a lovely, sweet, older woman who thought she was paying me a genuine compliment. We sat and chatted in her garden for about an hour as she plied me with her homemade lemonade and asked me about my life and what brought me to Washington State. I thanked her, because she was saying something lovely (albeit weird), and we continued chatting."

- UnicornCackle

Inches

"So an American lady who stayed in my apartment building asked to borrow my picnic basket and wanted the measurements. I gave it to her in cm and she asked for it in normal standard units. I gave it in inches and explained that normal units are cm."

"Her response was "no trust me everyone uses inches, only the English use cm because they need to be different. American inches, feet and miles is pretty much the way to go everywhere else." I then sent her the link to the invention of the BRITISH imperial system and how only 3 countries use it. She blocked me."

- Reeeaz

This Land

Captain America GIF Giphy

"I met an American tourist who was adamant that my country was a home ruled territory under the US government. He said this during our nations independence day."

- AlleywayGum

France

"Poking fun at me with France stereotypes. I'm not from France, my parents are not from France, and I've never been to France. My first language is French, that's enough for Americans to treat me like I'm from France."

- marie-llama

When in doubt, don't speak. Also, leave strangers alone unless you're just going to dish out compliments. This is why we have a bad wrap about being friendly.

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