Some common stereotypes of the British public

Sitting in a cobbled alleyway, outside a busy bar in Croatia, a friend and I got chatting to two Swedish boys and conversation soon turned to the inevitable discussion on languages, accents and gen

Sitting in a cobbled alleyway, outside a busy bar in Croatia, a friend and I got chatting to two Swedish boys and conversation soon turned to the inevitable discussion on languages, accents and general differences between nationalities.

“What do we stereotype British people as? OK, well firstly you’re all ugly, secondly you all have bad teeth and obviously you all get so drunk.” Wow.

My friend and I found it hilarious if not a tad offending as the boys emphasized the fact that we both broke the stereotype with our good teeth but mentioned no breaking of stereotype when commenting on the ugliness of the English…charming. 

Here are some stereotypes that a lot of us Brits can probably relate to:

1. Queuing

Ever joined a queue and then asked what it’s for? Pretty sure I have, although it probably ended up being a line for the toilet.

Queuing is a well-known British trait. We don’t like to queue but it is the polite thing to do and you can be sure to piss off a Brit if you try to jump a queue. Brits hate queue jumpers. Queue jumpers are despised even more than the queue itself.

Brits resent queuing just as must as anyone else. However, they have respect for the convention and loathe anyone who tries to manipulate it. We will huff and puff and complain until the sun goes down (or whilst the rain pummels down in our countries case), but we will stand and wait in that queue. Everyone is equally miserable in a queue and that suits the average Brit just fine.

2. Polite/shy/reserved

Most British people are very polite. If I were given a pound every time I said thank you to someone, let’s just say I’d be pretty well off. Some would say the Brits are too polite; is saying thank you to a traffic warden when he gives you a parking ticket too far?

It is also known that British people are shy and reserved, we don’t spark up conversations with strangers—if you go on a tube, everyone will be sitting or standing, reading a newspaper or looking at the floor, avoiding eye contact with everyone!

3. Weather

We converse about the weather…A LOT. This is true, but hey if you lived in a country that rains as much as it does here, you’re going to talk about it. It’s a sort of national obsession and not that we often do but if you were to begin a conversation with a stranger, the weather is an excellent place to start.

4. Drinking culture

Across Britain, getting hammered is the norm, and binge drinking takes place widely every Friday and Saturday night (and Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for most students). I mentioned before that the British are perceived as reserved but when the drink starts flowing, this is certainly not the case.

Britain has some of the highest alcohol consumption levels in Europe and binge drinking is now regarded as a public and social health problem in some areas of the country—and don’t the rest of the world know it! There seems to be a perception that the British need a drink to relax, meet new people and have a good time. I believe that this can be true for a lot of British people. Alcohol is often used as a social lubricant. However, a lot of us take it too far and result in giving the rest of the population a bad name.

5. Drinking tea

We might drink a lot of alcohol, but we drink even more tea! I for one cannot get out of bed without a nice cup of Rosie lee in the morning. If you work in an office, someone will offer you a brew every 10 minutes (even if it is just to get a break from work). In Britain, it is custom to be invited round a friend’s house for a cuppa tea and a chat. We even have a UK tea council!

6. British sense of humour

Some love it, some hate it and some simply don’t understand it. One thing is for sure though, the Brits certainly have their own unique sense of humour and it is renowned worldwide.

Sarcasm and self-deprecation are both prime examples of the negative humour used by British people that some nationalities just don’t get! Think The Office and The Inbetweeners—you just wouldn’t find this humour in American sitcoms (have you seen the American version of The Inbetweeners? If you haven’t, don’t bother!).

Note how revelations from the Swedish boys do not appear in my list. I am going to dismiss their views of all Brits being ugly and having bad teeth and put it down to Sweden giving Jeremy Kyle too much airtime.

What do you think? Are these common British stereotypes? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.