Ever wondered what British stereotypes are accurate and which ones are totally “bollocks”? Find out which of these 16 are the real deal.
Ayup bruv, yawright? Wa’s gwanin’ on this fine morn, chuck? If you didn’t understand any of that, then fear not. It’s purely a mish-mash of British slang that some can translate, and others are baffled by. There are many British stereotypes, words, traditions, and traits that need decoding when viewed by someone who’s not native to the country. Even some UK citizens have been known to struggle with some!
I have spent most of my life living all over the UK, but I was born in the magnificent southern city of London. One of the most culturally diverse cities, in a country that gave the world amazing fashion, phenomenal music, spectacular acting talent, dark humor, and polished etiquette. But as proud as I am, there are still a lot of speculations and misconceptions about the great land they call Britain.
16 British stereotypes: Spot on or dead wrong?
To an outsider, there are plenty of British stereotypes. As much as I hate to admit it, many are true and based on quirks and lifestyles the Brits just came to accept.
That being said, a fair few are completely untrue and a weird concoction of chinese-whispers, misunderstanding, and presumption. I say all this, sitting here with my umbrella, in my bowler hat, holding my bulldog, and eating a crumpet. And you know what? It’s bloody spiffing, if you ask me.
#1 We’re all best pals with the Queen. Believe it or not, we aren’t all friends with Ma’am. Sadly, we aren’t on first name terms with her corgis, and we haven’t been to Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty generally doesn’t interact with us “common folk” that often. Don’t expect us to pop in to see her for her tea and scones any time soon. [Read: Funny conversation starters: 40 lines to fit right in]
#2 We’re incredibly sarcastic. Brits can be cynical and dry-humored and, some might say, have an almost intellectual darkness to our humor. But this doesn’t mean we’re all doom and gloom. We’re just slightly more realistic. Although, we do have wit as sharp as a razor, so make sure not to get into a war of words with us—you won’t win. [Read: Dry sense of humor – 20 signs you’ve mastered the dry funny bone]
#3 Our teeth are terrible. Anyone who’s seen Austin Powers will be aware of this stereotype, but it simply isn’t true. Some have dental work that still needs to be attended to, but that’s no different to other countries that don’t have that stereotype attached to them. Our teeth are just fine the way they are.
#4 We love a good cup o’ tea. This one… happens to be completely and utterly spot on. Almost all Brits love their tea and are very specific about how they like it made. If you ever visit a British household and they don’t have stacks and stacks of tea bags in their cupboard then leave immediately. They’re either imposters or demons.
#5 We’re obsessed with talking about the weather. Brits have been known to talk, or mostly complain, a lot about the weather. The main reason we do this is because we get about two weeks of sun a year. The rest of the time it’s just rain or clouds. Sorry if we complain about it too much, but we just can’t help ourselves.
#6 British cuisine is gross or weird. A scotch egg, yorkshire pudding, or a chip butty with mushy peas may sound disgusting to you, but to us, it’s absolutely to die for. Maybe it’s an acquired taste, or maybe it’s just how we’re raised. Either way until you’ve had the chance to enjoy most British food, you’re missing out. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. [Read: 15 reasons why you should travel at least once a year]
#7 Apparently, we all live in castles or cottages. If anyone says we all live in palaces, then show them my apartment *or my “flat”*. It barely qualifies as a house, let alone a castle, so this stereotype is totally made up.
Sure, if you take a stroll through somewhere like Kensington or Mayfair you’ll see folks living in fancy houses. The majority of the population live like regular people.
#8 We’re mean and rude. Like anywhere in the world, certain parts of the country have people who are friendlier than others. But the majority of Britain is filled with absolutely welcoming, lovely folk. Unless you go to London during rush hour–you won’t do well if you like making eye contact with strangers or don’t like being pushed out the way when trying to get on a bus. And DON’T stand on the wrong side of the escalators. [Read: 10 simple ways to avoid being rude, no matter what the situation]
#9 We drink a lot of alcohol. The Brits are known for their drinking abilities. This stereotype is incredibly accurate.
There is a pub on every corner of every street, and each time there’s a party, BBQ, or event, you can guarantee there will be pints of booze there. We drink most people under the table, so don’t challenge us to any drinking competitions. [Read: What your favorite drink says about you?]
#10 It’s like it is in the movies. A lot of people who aren’t from Britain seem to think that we’re straight out of Mary Poppins, but oddly enough the streets aren’t filled with delightful nannies and chimney sweeps. Equally, we don’t have to often worry about James Bond holding up traffic as he speeds after villains on the M25 motorway.
#11 All buses are only double deckers. There are plenty of double deckers to go around, but we also have smaller buses that are far more common. We do have a pretty decent public transport service when it comes to buses, especially in London. But god help you if you end up on the Railway Replacement bus. It’s a complete nightmare.
#12 We’re super polite. This is pretty true. If you ever bump into a Brit or accidentally push past them, there’s a huge chance that they’ll apologize to YOU! We’re massively into queuing, saying thank you and sorry, and holding doors open for other people. We can’t seem to stop doing it, it’s just the British way. [Read: 20 positive ways to create a chain of goodwill]
#13 Everything is like it is on Downton Abbey. I don’t know a single person that has a butler or acres and acres of land. Sure, a lot of the British countryside and royal manors look like that. We’ve definitely evolved as a nation since those times and sound a lot less posh.
#14 We all love the Beatles. I for one absolutely love The Beatles. But sadly, it’s not the same for the entire country. Some people just march to the beat of their own drum and prefer The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, or Queen. In fact, sadly, most people here are just obsessed with One Direction now!
#15 Brits use a lot of slang. Every part of the UK has a different dialect, accent, and slang, so it can be a bit tough to decipher what people are on about. We say “mate” instead of friend, “shag” instead of sex, “chuffed” instead of pleased, “gutted” instead of upset, and “skint” instead of broke. It all seems a bit confusing. It’s all part of what makes the country so unique. [Read: The 26 naughtiest things to say in a foreign language]
#16 We have a stiff upper lip. If there’s one thing you can say about Brits, it’s that we know how to get on with things, without letting problems get to us. The phrase “keep calm and carry on” is an inherently British phrase for good reason.
When things are a bit rubbish, we know how to soldier on with a resilient attitude and a determined outlook. We don’t let anything get us down. We’re pretty tough!
Now you know what British stereotypes you should expect from the UK. So, next time you meet a Brit, make sure to offer them a cup of tea and a biscuit, or even better—a pint of ale! You’ll have made a new friend in no time!
Liked what you just read? Like us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.
Becki is from the big city of London, but is a small island girl at heart. She is of mixed-race heritage, and has wanderlust flowing through her veins. She work...