American optimism / British stiff upper lip…..
Recently there was a chat by British expats and others via the Twitter hashtag #mindthechat (from BBC America) about American optimism and British negativity, for which we are renowned and quite aware (almost proud?!) of. Are the Americans just dreaming the dream and reaching for the unattainable, and are we Brits just a bunch of glums who are more realistic in our outlook?
I’ve developed a sense of optimism out here that I can achieve things I’ve wanted to do for ages, like write stuff (ooh, look that’s what I’m doing right at this moment!) and much of what I have set out to do I have accomplished.
An American friend said I was more American in my thinking, but to be honest I can still have that British voice going on in my head that reeks of cynicism. Someone commented that I should become a motivational speaker when I return to the UK, but I can envision it now – me telling a bunch of Brits that change really is possible if they put their heart and soul into it, and they surely can do that thing they want to do (thinking Tom Cruise in Magnolia….) because it is not impossible.
The response from my British audience? They’d all be sitting there wishing it was the tea break, shifting awkwardly in their seats and sighing inwardly at the nonsense I am spouting forth. I just don’t think that kind of thinking sits comfortably in the British psyche. Our cultures and outlooks really can differ so.
Some of the best comments from the Twitter chat are worth sharing about the American optimism and the British pessimism (read as ‘stiff upper lip’). Enjoy!
– My US husband’s optimism balances out my [British] pessimism – it works well.
– In Britain people will moan about rain for months, then, when one hot day comes along they instantly complain about the heat.
– Do Brits maybe equate happiness with stupidity, whereas Americans think the exact opposite?
– British expats are happier in the US… UNLESS they decide to moan about how happy everyone else is!
– Stiff upper lip = perseverance. Brits are happy just not in a “I’m going to shout it off the mountain tops” way.
– When I think of Britain I think of depressed people in the rain waiting at bus stops holding a plastic carrier bag.
– I once said living here [in the USA] is like living with 350 million Labrador puppies!
– I’ve actually come to enjoy the “Have a nice day” culture of the US. Certainly beats the constant misery of British shopkeepers.
– Americans always seem to over-share both positive and negative stuff. I just smile and nod, obviously.
– Living in the US has had a profound effect on my outlook.
– Americans don’t complain about their kids like Brits do.
– In the US it’s OK for parents to boast about kids and in UK it’s more the done thing to complain.
Interesting stuff, hey? Comments welcome!
I have a need to go to a Dude Ranch. I don’t know why, because I don’t ride and don’t much like horses, but I like the idea of what it all has to offer.
But, I have one request for the Dude Ranch, and it is quite simple and very shallow: the cowboys must be young and hot in a John Ross from Dallas kind of way, and not old and gnarly and farty in a Blazing Saddles kind of way. 😉
If anyone knows of such a Dude Ranch, please let me know…. 😉 .
Yesterday I posted this picture of Gary’s flags.
Apparently, Gary has defied the rules here. How naughty! Etiquette dictates that the American flag flies first (to the left) when in the host country. So now we know!
American date confusion
Yesterday I thought it was my 40th birthday in the USA because the date was written 3/12/2014 in the American stylie.
But it wasn’t, since it was obviously March 12th and not December 3rd.
So, I was gutted in one way not to have a party, but I guess also happy not yet to be 40!
“An American friend said I was more American in my thinking…” I resemble that friend me thinks!
Personally, I think you should stay here and be a motivational speaker!
Didn’t know that about the flags. Interesting.
Now how can I convince my other half…?!
We can do an intervention at lunch. 😉
How many times have I been made to suffer ridiculous ‘team building exercises’ or ‘role playing scenarios’ and all I did was shift awkwardly in my seat, sigh inwardly at the nonsense I was suffering through and curl up in embarrassment when I had to partake. Sometimes being British over here is a real burden! 😉