From Drive-Thrus to Ice: 21 American Quirks That Fascinate the World

Americans sure have their quirks, but what flies at home doesn’t always get a pass on the global stage. From supersized meals to the casual invasion of personal space, our everyday norms can sometimes leave the rest of the world scratching their heads. Ever wondered what American habits might not sit well abroad?

1. Tipping Everyone for Everything

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In the U.S., tipping is practically a religion. Whether it’s your barista or your barber, not tipping can be seen as rude. But in many countries, like Japan or South Korea, tipping can actually be seen as insulting!

2. Ice in All the Drinks

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Ordering a soda in the States? Expect a cup half-filled with ice. This chilly preference is puzzling to many in Europe, where drinks come with minimal or no ice. More drink, less iceberg, please!

3. Turning Everything into a Drive-Thru

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Americans love convenience, to the extent of having drive-thru pharmacies and banks. In many places abroad, this car-centric culture is less prevalent and often frowned upon due to environmental concerns.

4. Overly Friendly Small Talk

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Chitchatting with strangers is an American staple, whether in line at the grocery store or on public transport. In many parts of Scandinavia and Asia, however, such overt friendliness is uncommon and can be uncomfortable.

5. Gigantic Portion Sizes

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The U.S. is infamous for its generous food servings. While it might be great for your Instagram, in countries like France or Japan, where moderation is key, the portions can seem excessive and wasteful.

6. Wearing Shoes Inside the House

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Walking into your home with your shoes on is normal in many American households. In contrast, countries like Canada, Sweden, and Japan consider it unclean and almost always prefer shoes off at the door.

7. Baby Showers and Gender Reveals

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Elaborate parties to celebrate impending births are big in the U.S., but in many European countries, such events are seen as overly extravagant and sometimes even tacky.

8. Jumbo-Sized Soft Drinks

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A large soda in the U.S. can be up to 44 ounces. In contrast, places like the UK have implemented “sugar taxes” to discourage large servings of sugary drinks due to health concerns.

9. Using Credit Over Cash

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Americans often prefer swiping a card to paying with cash. However, in Germany and other cash-loving countries, this can be annoying and sometimes not an option.

10. Prescription Drug Advertisements

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In the U.S., it’s normal to see commercials urging viewers to “ask your doctor about” a specific drug. This practice is legal only in the U.S. and New Zealand and can seem bizarre and risky to foreigners.

11. Casual Work Attire

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In Silicon Valley, jeans and a T-shirt might be considered business attire. In places like London or Tokyo, such casual dress in a business setting is often deemed inappropriate.

12. Squeaky-Clean Sidewalks and Manicured Lawns

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The American obsession with pristine sidewalks and lush, green lawns is not as appreciated in places like Australia, where water conservation efforts often limit such practices.

13. Loud and Proud Patriotism

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From giant flags to national anthem renditions at every event, overt patriotism is distinctly American. This can be viewed as nationalistic or even aggressive in many parts of the world.

14. Constant Refills and Freebies

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The endless refill is a beloved American restaurant feature. Elsewhere, like in Italy, once you finish your meal, that’s usually it—no free refills.

15. Asking “How Are You?” but Not Waiting for an Answer

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This American conversation starter is often rhetorical. In other cultures, such as in Russia, if you ask this question, be prepared for a real answer.

16. Obsession With Perfect Teeth

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The pursuit of a Hollywood smile with perfect, white teeth is very much an American thing. In Europe, natural and less “perfect” teeth are often embraced.

17. Large, Flashy Vehicles

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Big SUVs and trucks are a staple on American roads. In many European cities, where streets are narrower and parking is scarce, such bulky vehicles are impractical.

18. Frequent Job Switching

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In the U.S., changing jobs frequently is often seen as a way to climb the career ladder. In many parts of Asia and Europe, however, job loyalty is more valued and expected.

19. Expensive Medical Care

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The high cost of healthcare in the U.S. is notorious. This system is baffling to many from countries with universal healthcare, where medical bankruptcy is virtually unheard of.

20. Complicated Coffee Orders

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The half-caf, no-whip, extra hot latte might roll off the tongue in Seattle, but in places like Italy, it’s just espresso or cappuccino. Keep it simple!

21. Plentiful Public Restrooms

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Americans might take for granted the availability of public restrooms. In many parts of Europe and Asia, finding a free, clean restroom can be a real challenge.

Rethinking the American Way

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It’s funny how what’s normal for some can seem utterly bizarre to others, isn’t it? Perhaps understanding these differences can lead us to be a bit more mindful—and maybe even change a few of our “normal” habits. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?

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Grocery shopping can seem like a science experiment, with many products packed with artificial additives instead of nutrients. While convenient and tempting, have you considered what’s really in these items? 21 Everyday Grocery Items That Are Loaded With Chemicals

18 Must-Eat Foods for a Longer Life

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22 Cheap Foods Only Americans Love

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In America, where creativity knows no bounds in the kitchen, some foods are both cheap and uniquely American, raising eyebrows in curiosity. Let’s explore these budget-friendly eats that have become staples in the American diet, for better or worse. 22 Cheap Foods Only Americans Love

20 Places Where You Can Enjoy an Old-Fashioned Life

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Escape to places where time stands still and tradition thrives! From cozy American towns to serene countryside getaways worldwide, these destinations offer a break from the chaos of modern life. Whether you’re seeking a simpler lifestyle or a nostalgic retreat, these spots promise affordability and undeniable charm. 20 Places Where You Can Enjoy an Old-Fashioned Life

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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