Things Americans Do that Confuse the Rest of the World

Americans often forget that the way they do things isn’t always the way it’s done everywhere else. To many, it’s either the American way or no way. This doesn’t mean the American way is bad but Americans feel that what they do is pretty common. Diet Coke with breakfast? A glass of milk with dinner? A World Series with local teams? Peanut butter and Jelly Sandwich? Ask anyone if this is normal, and they’d all say yes. We asked some foreigners to share their experiences during their visit to the US and they did not disappoint at all. Here are some things we do in the US that people from other cultures might find a little strange;

1. Drink Coffee On the Go

Drink Coffee On the Go

Anywhere you go in the world, you can find a Starbucks or a local coffee shop in the neighborhood. However, only in America would you find people holding an extra-large paper and plastic to-go cup full of coffee on the move. In Europe and other regions, coffee comes in a much smaller serving and usually people sit and enjoy it with friends or colleagues.

2. Super-Size Everything

Super-Size Everything

In the US, our meals come in three sizes; larger, larger and largest. Drinks are no different. While fine dining follows international standards of quality over quantity, restaurants with bigger servings are given the preference most of the time. So much so, that you could walk into a restaurant to compete in different food challenges in order to win a prize or score the meal for free.

3. Require A Ton of Ice

Require A Ton of Ice

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether Americans like drinks or simply the ice in the glass they are served in. Ask any non-American, they love a cold beverage but will write off ice as something that waters down the drink, or takes up a huge percentage of it. As a result, most people avoid adding it to their drink.

4. Hold a World Series

Hold a World Series

It doesn’t get any weirder than this. Every year, American baseball teams compete in the World Series Championship while being the only country that participates in it aside from just one Canadian team. According to different studies, this is simply a marketing ploy to bring in more fans and relevancy to the sport.

5. Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

This is something that actually begun to make noise on the international level. Although, many people find it kids and adults dressing up in costumes weird, many are rather envious. Even though Halloween is an example of our tendency to commercialize everything, it’s still fun.

6. Tip Almost Everyone

Tip Almost Everyone

A trip to a restaurant is a bit odd. Tipping is just another things Americans do. This may sound unfair, but then again, if you’re from Europe, you should know that the service industry pays employees higher hourly wages.

7. Talk to Strangers

Talk to Strangers

Americans like small talk and this can put off a lot of people who are not from here. It can be as simple as asking about the weather or whether they watched the game last night. Do that in Europe or the Middle East, it may be considered invasive except if asking for directions.

8. Still Use the Imperial System

Still Use the Imperial System

Over 200 countries in the world, and America is one of the only three countries that follows the imperial system instead of the metric system. No one really knows why. In fact, Americans would measure things in everything but Kg or meters.

9. Go into Debt for a Degree

Go into Debt for a Degree

College in many European countries such as France and Germany is free. This is why they balk at the cost of college in the US. Student debt is one of the major concerns of young Americans especially at the beginning of their careers.

10. Tailgate


When Marshall from How I Met Your Mother had a barbeque with his dead father at the cemetery, you’d think that is just stuff for television. Tailgating is a big thing here, and you can find food stalls in parking lots outside stadiums and concerts set up by fans.

11. Advertise Everything

Advertise Everything

Only in America will you find commercial for lawyers, Saul Goodman style. Plus, it is illegal to advertise prescription drugs in most places in the world but not here.

12. Work all the Time

Work all the Time

Too much work is one of the many strange things Americans do. 25% of American workers don’t have any guaranteed paid leave, and those that do only get an average of three weeks. In Spain and Germany, employers are required to offer workers a month of paid vacation days every year.