Even though most instances of such faux pas might be rooted in good intention, it is sure to be awkward for the foreigner who finds themselves in such situations.
Thanks to the marvel that is the internet, today we can be well versed with foreign lands, their customs, languages, cuisines, cultures, etc. without even leaving our couch. The multitude of travel programs out there is more than enough to educate us about literally anything one might need to know about a particular place and the people who call it home. And yet, some Americans seem to have a special knack for simply assuming things about a particular country and unabashedly showing off their supposed 'knowledge' to folks belonging to that country.
Even though most instances of such faux pas might be rooted in good intention, it is sure to be awkward — and sometimes even insulting — for the foreigner who finds themselves in such situations. Some of them recently shared their experiences in response to a question posed by Reddit user esq__ in the AskReddit community. "Non-Americans of Reddit, what's the weirdest thing an American has said to you?" the Redditor asked.
Here are the top 25 responses to this question:
"I’m British, was traveling in the states. Got talking to a guy at a bar while we’re waiting for service, and he recommended I try a pint of Guinness while in the US. He informed me they don’t sell Guinness in the UK.
I politely explained that they do indeed have Guinness in just about every pub in the UK. He disagreed, adding that he’s never been himself but his son-in-law went to London on business and told him so. I explained I’d lived in the UK including London my whole life. He looked at me lost in thought for a few moments, and said: 'They don't have Guinness there,' and walked away." — promunbound
"Canadian here. Worked for AT&T. Where I worked in Windsor, I could SEE America. The number of questions about snow and igloos whenever anyone found out was too high. I swear I spent 15 mins trying to convince a woman FROM Detriot that the criss crossing lights in the sky came from Ceasars Windsor and that there is no snow here right now, it's July." — Deminla
"I'd say it's a toss up between: 'Is England in London?'
'Do you still like, drive horses to get around in Europe?'
And a guy trying to smack talk on Xbox who after I told him nobody cares said 'Who cares what you think?! You're foreign!' I said 'So are you?' And he laughed and said No r****d, I'm American.'" — Dr_McKay
"Had a taxi driver in New York ask how we got there (from Ireland). When we said by plane, he was like, 'you have airports?!' Also thought we were still getting round on horses." — vokuhilaisainmdom
"'How long did you take you learn to use metric instead of normal measurements?' He genuinely didn't understand that metric was a system we actually used every day, we weren't constantly having to mentally convert meausrements to feet or pounds to understand how big they really were." — InscrutableAudacity
"Had a Black american assume that I was 'African-American also' because I'm Black. I had to explain to him that the ethnically specified title 'African-American' is only used to describe Black people from america, not Black people from other countries, and that Black people from other countries are not specifically labeled by heritage, race, or ethnicity. Afterward I revealed to him that I am actually Bahamian. Despite all that explaining, he still proceeded to ask 'Oh! so you're an African-Bahamian then?' I felt the vein on the side of my head twinge a little lol." — CLHiddenInPlainSight
"I met an American tourist who was adamant that my country was a home ruled territory under the US government. He said this during our nations independence day.
[I'm from] Iceland. He assumed we shared a similar status with Puerto Rico. He was convinced of the error of his ways after confronting two other natives and a Google search." — AlleywayGum
"I was on a student exchange between my German school and a school in San Francisco in the late 90s. When the Americans came to visit us, we had a welcome party for them at a friend's place. That friend had a dog, and at some point he gave the dog a command in German. The dog obeyed, and one of the American kids asks how we managed to teach German to the dog. He wasn’t joking either, he seemed convinced that all pets are somehow born with knowledge of the English language, but all other languages need to be taught to them." — Heiminator
"'You speak real good English for a foreigner - I'm British and she knew that. Edit: because a lot of people seem to think that no American could ever say this and mean it, it was a lovely, sweet, older woman who thought she was paying me a genuine compliment. We sat and chatted in her garden for about an hour as she plied me with her homemade lemonade and asked me about my life and what brought me to Washington State. I thanked her, because she was saying something lovely (albeit weird), and we continued chatting." — UnicornCackle
"I once had an American tell me I need to try the 'real' Gouda cheese they have in the US because everything else was fake Gouda... I'm Dutch and actually lived near Gouda." — urafakebetch
"'Ah, you're from Denmark. Where in Canada is that again?'" — Al_Capwned13
"'Are your parents Democrats or Republicans?' Eh, [we] have different political parties here, love." — UpstairsHope5
"As a Brit, I had to bite my tongue when asked 'Do you celebrate Independence Day?'" — TAFKAPepeSilvia
"'Wow you speak American very well for a foreigner.' Thanks lady, I'm Canadian and 'American' is the only language I know." — stoopio-oh
"A middle aged American was surprised to find out Venice was so old (and an actual city for centuries), and not built in the 20th century for tourist purposes." — gingerPB
"Englishman, living in the US for 15 years now. I’ve been asked a lot of bizarre things but one of the best was someone who asked what language we speak in England, and how long it took me to learn English when I moved here." — zabraxuss