English, Scot, Welsh or Irish. While the four countries share many customs, each has its own set of traditions and history. Greetings and meetings When first meeting a Brit, he or she may seem reserved and cold, but that is just an impression. In reality, they are very friendly and helpful to foreigners. A handshake is the common form of greeting, but try to avoid prolonged eye contact, as it may make people feel ill at ease.
Use last names and appropriate titles until specifically invited to use first names. It is proper to shake hands with everyone to whom you are introduced, both men and women; the appropriate response to an introduction is "Pleased to meet you". Time and punctuality British people are very strict when it comes to punctuality. In Britain people make a great effort to arrive on time, so it is considered impolite to be late, even with by few minutes.
If you are delayed, be sure to inform the person you are meeting. Here are some situations when you are obliged to be on time, as well as some situations when it is advisable: For formal dinners, lunches, or appointments you always come at the exact time appointed. For public meetings, plays, concerts, movies, sporting events, classes, church services, and weddings, it's best to arrive a few minutes early.
You can arrive any time during the hours specified for teas, receptions and cocktail parties. The British often use expressions such as "drop in anytime" and "come see me soon". However, do not take these literally. To be on the safe side, always telephone before visiting someone at home. If you receive a written invitation to an event that says "RSVP", you should respond to the sender as soon as possible, whether you are going to attend or not.
Body language and dress code British people are not very keen on displaying affection in public. Hugging, kissing and touching are usually reserved for family members and very close friends. You should also avoid talking loudly in public or going to extremes with hand gestures during the course of communication. The British like a certain amount of personal space. Do not stand too close to another person or put your arm around someone's shoulder.
When it comes to clothes, there are no limits and restrictions on how to dress. Just make sure that you respect the general rules when in formal situations. Observation will reveal that people in larger cities dress more formally, especially in London. Men and women wear wools and tweeds for casual occasions. Slacks, sweaters and jackets are appropriate for men and women.
Do not wear a blazer to work -- it is country or weekend wear. On formal occasions, always select an outfit that fits the dress code. She had a vision of the man she was going to marry: After all, as she put it, "dancers don't make a lot of money. But surely not all American girls thought British men had an endless supply of money? They weren't all obsessed with fame and fortune, were they?
Was American culture really as shallow as my friends had warned? She was a down-to-earth Midwesterner with ambitions in New York City theater. She shattered any preconceived notion I had about both actors and American women. She was the antithesis of the ballerina; insisting she pave her own journey in life, irrespective of who she was with.
Sadly, when we were suddenly thrust into a long distance relationship, the reality set in that it was putting too much stress on our careers. So with a heavy heart, it was the end of a fairytale love affair. Since then, I've spent six years dating American women in the search for "the one". They have come from all different backgrounds, worked in vastly different careers, lived in both New York and Los Angeles; and if there's one thing I can tell you, it's that the stereotype of British girls being more well-mannered is actually false.
American girls—in my experience—carry themselves elegantly; sometimes so much so that it feels rehearsed. Recently, I went on two dates in New York within the space of a week, one with a Brit, the other with an American. The Brit eerily reminded me of myself—she ate quickly, washed her food down with beer, and generally wasn't too concerned about how she might look to the outside world, let alone me.
The American, with seemingly impeccable etiquette, ate slowly and cautiously, ensuring the kale salad she was munching on didn't wrap around her big, pearly white teeth. On the contrary, British girls have no shame picking kale salad out of their teeth on a date. It just took me a while to realize that this might have nothing to do with etiquette at all, but rather, it might be because American women are more anxious than British women.
They worry more about their appearance, political correctness and how others perceive them. There is more emphasis on "keeping up appearances," especially on the West Coast where I have been living for the past six months. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Similarly, American girls are much more lavish in their approach to life; and this includes the restaurants and hotels they expect to be taken to. Money and salary is brought up frequently, and name dropping is prevalent in a good portion of conversations, especially in Los Angeles where status is paramount.
British girls, meanwhile, do not spend the same amount of money on themselves as American girls, nor do they expect you to spend a lot on them. I've always loved this approach: This does not happen in American culture, where women rarely make fun of themselves. Which brings me to American girlfriend number five, who was paralyzed by her hoards of self-help books.
British Dating Etiquette
Culture and social etiquette in United Kingdom
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