Twelve common misconceptions about British people

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Tuesday 26 July 2016 14:30
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Picture: WPA/Getty

The weird thing about a lot of national stereotypes is often they're perpetuated by the people themselves, appropriated as a weird badge of pride.

Often these things are untrue - particularly about British people.

Avoid these lazy casual remarks, and raise your talk from small to medium.

1. We all drink tea

Lots of people do drink tea, of course. According to the UK Tea & Infusions Association (yes that is real) the British drink on average 165 million cups of tea per day. But having said that, we don't all drink it, all of the time, and anybody who uses 'tea-drinker' to describe themselves needs to stop it. That isn't a personality. We know writing internet bios are hard, but for the love of god no.

2. Our teeth are nasty

In fact, a 2015 study which compared British and American gnashers showed that Brits usually lose fewer teeth than the average American. The work, undertaken by University College London and Harvard, showed that despite the perception that British people have bad teeth, on average American oral health is the worse of the two.

Picture: Kat1990's channel/YouTube

3. The beer is warm

Technically, the colder something is the less you can taste it. So that's why Corrs is terrible. So there. But anyway, lager is very popular in the UK. Everyone says yes to Carling. But even the growing varieties of real ale and specialty beers are not warm. Long gone are the days when punters had their own specific glass hanging in the bar, or a 'regular' was even a thing, and so too has gone the way of warm, flat beer.

4. The food is bad

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Get out.

5. Our accents are sexy

For every Carey Mulligan or Sean Bean, there is a Ken Dodd and a Keith Lemon. This is a useful stereotype, granted, but the constant demand to 'Oh my god, say something British' can be grating.

6. We love to queue

Nobody does. We just do it, and respect the authority of the line.

Larry David explains 'The Chat and Cut'. Picture: MrBagsyTV/YouTube

7. We apologise too much

Well excuse us for being polite. Also, this is misconception, because lots of other people are polite. Germans are polite, Americans are polite, Canadians are polite. And secondly, nobody says 'F**k off' quite like someone from Great Britain. We do it well.

8. We are uptight

Nobody says 'C you next Tuesday' like a British person either. Aussies come close, but they're basically our padawans. We also love a good laugh at anything.

9. We binge drink

Plenty of people are teetotal. Also, according to WHO statistics from 2015, the United Kingdom is 6th in world rankings of alcohol consumed per capita. That's behind four other European countries, and Australia, so there.

Picture: Getty

10. The weather is wet

There are seasons. Get over it.

11. Britain and England are the same

Even this list has had to treat many of the 'stereotypes' as if they were about Britain, when really they just apply to England. Don't Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland deserve a look in when it comes to national stereotypes? Share the ill conceived prejudices. And stop thinking we all hate one another.

12. We all love the Royal Family

Mostly people are indifferent. HRH Prince George is a little pudding, but for most people the Royal Family are out of their daily thoughts. There are some keen beans who collect anything ceramic if it's got a picture of the Windors slapped on it, and there are the sort of posers who join Republic, but most Brits are not bothered about a changing of the guard, if asked would keep the monarchy.

More: The British stereotype map of Europe (according to Google)

More: Twelve incredibly British phrases the rest of the world doesn't understand

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