"My German Friends Couldn't Hide Their Disgust": People Are Sharing Things That Are Totally Normal To Americans That Are Actually Bizarre To The Rest Of The World

If you're from the US, there are probably a ton of common practices and societal norms that you've witnessed for so long that they are like second nature. But if you're a non-American, these common tendencies, preferences, and habits might actually seem totally bizarre or confusing. So redditor u/Surimimimi asked, "What things do Americans like and the rest of the world not so much?" And people chimed in. Here are the "American" things that are actually quite confusing or abnormal to the rest of the world.


1."College sports, particularly football and basketball. The rest of the world loves soccer, but nobody gives a hoot about it at the university level."

An ACC men's basketball game
Mike Stobe / Getty Images

2."Bumper stickers. Sometimes I get the impression that people put their entire political philosophy in the form of bumper stickers on their car."

A car covered in bumper stickers
John Greim / LightRocket via Getty Images

3."Ice, which is usually filled to the brim of a glass before any drink is poured."

Pouring a soda over ice
Tetra Images / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

4."Food coloring. When I moved from Japan to the US, I was surprised at how colorful American foods were. These days, Americans are now more into organic, natural stuff, so I see it less, but it took me a while to realize that prevalent blue raspberry is not real."

Machines full of colorful soft drinks
Jennifer A Smith / Getty Images

5."Peanut butter and jelly. It doesn't help that outside the US, 'jelly' often refers to a gelatin dessert like Jello. Some folks who hear Americans eat peanut butter and jelly are therefore horrified."

A PB&J on a plate
Image Source / Getty Images/Image Source

6."Root beer and also ranch dressing. I brought some of both to Germany and had my friends try them, and they said the root beer tasted like medicine. They politely tasted the dressing with celery and said it was interesting, but the look on their faces said they thought it was terrible."

A root beer float
Henry Horenstein / Getty Images

7."Stores open 24 hours. I was in Chicago working with a colleague from Switzerland who suddenly realized around midnight that he needed a network cable to configure a mobile router for a job the next morning. I told him that I'd meet him in the hotel lobby to drive him out to Walmart. He was shocked."

Neon "Open 24 hours" sign at night
J2r / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."Chicken and waffles. As a non-American, I saw this on the menu at an American restaurant a few months ago and ordered it out of curiosity. I'd never seen it before, but it was awesome, and I can't wait to go back and eat it again."

Chicken wings and waffles served with butter
Tanya Isaeva / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9."Signs outside people's houses stating an opinion or belief, such as, 'In this house we support...' As a non-American, I find it weird and unusual."

A Trump sign outside a private home
Mark Makela / Getty Images

10."MM-DD-YYYY date format. 😅"

A woman filling in a calendar
Andreypopov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11."Flags. So many American flags everywhere."

Houses with American flags hanging outside
Chad Warpinski / Getty Images/EyeEm

12."Processed cheese. There are so many delicious cheeses that are actual cheese. Why eat the gross fake stuff?"

A close-up of processed American cheese
Watcha / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13."Driving everywhere you go. In rural America, you are not walking anywhere. Not even to your own mailbox."

Universal Pictures


14."Delis. All of the places I’ve visited so far in the US have the best delis. I don’t know if I could live somewhere without a great Jewish or Italian deli."

A stacked deli sandwich
Sebastian Kopp / Getty Images/EyeEm

15."Commercials about pharmaceuticals. 'Ask your doctor about taking xyz...side affects can include everything under the sun.' It's honestly such a wild American concept."

A jar of pills
Tetra Images / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

16."Ranch dressing. Ranch is effectively unknown in Europe, where, on Doritos packages, 'cool ranch' is labeled 'cool American' flavor."

Plate of Buffalo chicken wings with ranch dressing
Grandriver / Getty Images

17."How mainstream it is for Americans to eat extremely sugary desserts for breakfast. Donuts, pancakes, most cereals, Pop-Tarts, etc. All contain huge amounts of sugar and little nutrition. There is literally Oreo cookie cereal that kids eat for breakfast."

Chocolate chip pancakes with powdered sugar
Shohei Takada / Getty Images/EyeEm

18."Walmart. I went to buy a SIM card and some groceries, but I discovered that I could also buy pet fish, car parts, and shoes...all in one building?!?!"

Shoppers outside a Walmart store
Jeff Greenberg / Jeffrey Greenberg / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

19."Casserole. My mother, who is British, thought casseroles were weird and disgusting. Once, her British friend came to visit the US and asked that we not eat one of those dishes 'where all the food is mixed together in an awful jumble.'"

Maccaroni casserole with tuna fish, mushroom, red bell pepper and cheese
Pingpongcat / Getty Images/iStockphoto

20."Handicap accessibility. Old buildings and towns in Europe are nice...if both of your legs work."

A handicap accessible sign
Malachite Photography / Getty Images

21."Americanized Chinese food. I'm Chinese, and I crave American orange chicken."

A platter of Chinese food in a takeout container
Manley099 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

22."Desk lunch. People in the US have lunch at their desks, and usually it's just a snack. Where I come from, lunch is the most complete meal of the day."

Eating a healthy avocado, berries, and salmon salad at work
Volanthevist / Getty Images

23."Unyielding optimism. Ted Lasso is an excellent representation of the relentless, annoying American optimism in the face of European practicality."

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24."All the things you can do in the US before you can legally drink. You can get into lifelong debt with a mortgage or university fees, you can drive a car, you can buy a gun, you can have kids, you can join the Army and kill people, and you can get married. But at the wedding, even having done all of the above, when the father of the bride makes his speech and ends with a toast, you're at the kids table raising a glass of orange juice because you're not allowed champagne!"

Paramount Pictures


25."Having an average of only 10 days of PTO per year...and sometimes even being looked down on for taking it."



26."Saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school. It's like a brainwashing tactic. Does any other country do this? If a teacher tried something like it in the UK, they’d be laughed out of the classroom."

An American flag hanging in a classroom
Glasshouse Images / Getty Images

27."The imperial system. The whole world uses the metric system, but y'all just had to be different."

A handheld digital thermometer
Grace Cary / Getty Images

What's something commonplace or beloved in the US that the rest of the world finds confusing or bizarre? Tell us in the comments!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.