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11 Daily Habits That Define the American Way of Life

Eager to identify an American abroad or delve into the intricacies of American culture? These 11 telltale signs offer a glimpse into the American way of life.

We took to our favorite forums, and here are the top picks:

1. Talking To Strangers

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Americans are known for their friendly nature and if you spot someone friendly with strangers, they are probably from the U.S. 

“As my Mexican wife says… you Americans will talk to anyone. Just walk right up, and before you know it, they are your buddy from so and so place, and you are going off with them for a while” shared one. 

“Americans absolutely love talking to strangers. I find it hilarious when this clashes with the British imperative to avoid talking to strangers! I enjoy seeing Americans on the tube in London, prattling away to British commuters who look like they are dying inside” shared another.  

Related: 10 Common Items Non-Americans Assume Every U.S. House Has: Are They Right?

2. Baseball Cap

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“A British man once told me he knew I was American because I was wearing a baseball cap backward” shared one.  

“Or just wearing a baseball cap, period. When I was in Iceland, a lady told me they knew I was American because only kids and teens wore baseball caps…” shared yet another. 

There is no doubt that baseball is a popular sport in the U.S. 

Related: 17 Things Non-Americans Thought Was A Rumor, But Turned Out To Be True About America

3. Tipping

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“Every time I visit my relatives in Italy, they say, “don’t ruin it for us.” They don’t want the whole tipping thing to catch on” shared a user. 

Related: 10 American Quirks That Americans Think Are Typical, But Aren’t

4. Asking For Ranch 

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Ranch dressing is a popular American sauce that is creamy and made with a blend of herbs, spices, and buttermilk. According to the Slate, it’s been America’s best-selling salad dressing since 1992. 

“Stopped at a steakhouse in Frankfurt, and a salad came with my meal. They asked if we wanted Italian or American dressing. American was ranch”, said one. 

Someone working in my office went to France and told me she asked for ranch dressing at a restaurant. They told her they didn’t have ranch dressing, and she was shocked and asked how it was possible they didn’t have RANCH. The waiter told her to return to America if she wanted ranch dressing. I died of embarrassment, and I wasn’t even there” shared another. 

5. Saying Y’all

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“I said “y’all” when I went to Europe. Immediately outed me. It’s so easy and makes the meaning clearer. Now, to normalize the double contractions “allure” and “y’all’ve” shared one. 

“Remember the almighty ya’ll’n’t’ve. You all would not have compressed into a single word” said another. 

“Personally, I’m a fan of “Y’all’d’ve” shared yet another. 

Related: 6 Simple Things That Americans Take For Granted (But Really Valued In Less Developed Countries)

6. Gleaming White Teeth

What not to do in the US

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This may definitely sound weird, but one user said “Gleaming white teeth.” 

“Americans are all about cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics; the ones that aren’t are probably unable to easily afford international travel, so we don’t see a lot of Americans without perfectly aligned, iridescent white teeth in the UK or Australia” said another.  

“The difference is how white. In Portugal, I leave my whitening treatment with natural-looking teeth. Some Americans have unnaturally white teeth, like actually white, not “tooth color” said yet another. 

Seems like white teeth is a distinguisher. 

Related: 8 Things Non-Americans Find Confusing About America

7. Talking About American laws

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“Talking about American laws before asking what country you live in” said one. 

“Always presuming everyone is American online in general. I visit r/architecture a fair bit (I am an architect). It’s a pretty international sub, and there are often posts about how to become an architect, what the degree is like, etc. Anyone, not American will say where they’re from – e.g., “what’s the process to become an architect in the UK?” Americans never tell where they’re from and assume everyone else is American. It’s always just “what’s architecture school like?” The answer is very different depending on where you’re from! I’ve also seen them answer a question by someone from a different country, completely ignoring where the OP is from” shared a user. 

“lol, this reminds me of literally every time someone in r/antiwork starts giving legal advice only relevant to Americans” added another. 

8. Talking Slowly With Hand Gestures

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This is definitely something we all do or have at least noticed others doing.

“I am trying to communicate with other languages by speaking English but slowly and making way too many hand gestures” explained one.

“I have a stepmother from Thailand, so I see this a lot. She has a very thick accent but is 100% fluent in English and can speak very well. People talk slowly and loudly at her all the time, and I’m so used to the way she says I hear her perfectly fine, lol” shared another. 

“As an American living in Egypt with limited (but actively learning) Arabic, hand gestures help most of the time. And Google images/translate. But it is an American thing, especially talking slowly in English like it would help. Thankfully I’ve only done the talk slowly if I’m being sarcastic to other Americans here. It’s beautiful” shared yet another.

9. Describing Distance

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“I’m an American that works for an international company. Europeans are often amused by how we describe distances. Instead of saying, “we’re x number of miles from that city, “we’ll say, “we’re two hours away,” or “that’s a four-hour drive.” They’re also universally blown away once they realize how big the US is” said one.

“That’s an American thing in general, like all over the Americas. I don’t think I’ve ever said, “oh, this is 5kms from here,” even back in Lima. You always say, “it’s about 30 mins from here.” said another. 

Related: Don’t Waste Your Time: 8 Overrated U.S. Tourist Destinations to Avoid

10. Asking For Ice

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“I was once in a rural cafe in France where an American was patiently explaining, in really very good French, that he wanted frozen water in a cube form to put in his drink” shared one.

“The cafe owner thought he was dangerously insane or was messing with him” shared another. 

“I was at a restaurant in France, and they brought me warm soda in a glass. When I asked them for ice, they got a tiny bowl of ice with a little set of silver tongs and put 2 ice cubes the size of sugar cubes into my glass, which melted immediately.” added another.

11. Volume

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“The volume of their voice. Whenever I’m with my American friends, I am shocked at how loud they are” shared one. 

“They’re deafening but very thankful and just wonderful people, from what I’ve experienced in Australia” clarified a user. 

“Usually, they talk very loudly, even if they’re beside each other.” added another. 

We hope you like this Reddit discussion what are obvious immediate giveaways that someone is an American? Do read Debunked: 19 Frugal Myths That Don’t Actually Save Money

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.