“Hey! You alright?”
“Hey! Yes I… aaaand you’re gone…”
Since coming to England I have had several awkward encounters with British people. The one above seems to be how Cornish people greet you, and you are not really supposed to answer them. I fall for it every time. And the few times I am able to answer, and then politely ask them back, they look bewildered as if they were not really ready to engage in a conversation. Haha, oops.
Other differences that have made some things awkward for me are:
- Ordering food
- Paying for the bus and leaving the bus
- Walking through doors
- Walking through crowds
Basically, they all involve the same thing: being polite.
I am not saying I am not a polite person, but there is quite a difference between Norwegians and British people when it comes to this.
When I am with someone and we are ordering food, I will tend to forget to say please and thank you as much as I should do. Thing is, in Norway we usually only say thank you once and that is when… you get your food? or receipt maybe. Depends on who you are as a person of course, I am only saying we do not say it as much as they do here. It makes me feel bad.
Also, this is the same when I pay on the bus and leave the bus. I learnt quite quickly that you should say thank you both times, but it is just the fact that British people do this that amazes me. I think that if people started doing this back home, the bus drivers might start smiling and be happy instead of being cranky.
In my flat there are mostly British people, but we are also two Norwegians. Together, we have experienced the ultimate difference when it comes to being polite, which was when we were all leaving the kitchen. Our flatmates all held the door open for each other and said ‘thank you’ as they left, but as we were the last to leave we managed to exit the door at the same time… And got stuck.
That moment just proved to me how different we are.