Winston Churchill perceptively said of the British “We are masters of the unsaid words but slaves of those we let slip out”. This characteristic manifests itself in various socially awkward situations and dilemmas in our everyday lives that define how Brits often see themselves and was even the subject of a humorous Channel 4 programme a couple of years ago. For those who have moved abroad to work, study or live, it made us think… which of these very British problems do you still grapple with as a Brit abroad:
1/ Extending the never-ending arguments about the best way to make tea or the Marmite debate to your non-British friends, much to their bewilderment
2/ Not being able to eat a Jaffa Cake or even talk about it without raising the cake vs. biscuit debate
3/ Not quite catching someone’s name, meaning that you can never speak to them again
4/ Saying sorry to the person who just walked into you as if it was your fault
5/ Not wanting to use an exclamation mark yet worrying you’ll come across as miserable if you don’t
6/ Attempting to keep your birthday quiet at work so you don’t have to buy everyone cakes
7/ Avoiding stepping into an empty shop for fear you’ll end up buying something out of politeness
8/ Attempting to confront a queue jumper by staring fiercely at the back of their head
9/ Replying ‘Yes, we should definitely do that sometime’ to mean it’s never going to happen… ever
10/ Declaring to the waiter that your meal was ‘lovely’, having complained to everyone else at the table that you were thinking about sending it back
11/ Consciously turning a full 180 degrees and staring determinedly into the distance while someone enters their pin code
12/ Noticing one small bit of blue sky and immediately buying strawberries, cream, Pimms and sun cream, whilst organising a weekend to the beach.
What other aspects of your Britishness have you taken with you and how has it gone down in your host countries?