Britons are used to the stereotypes thrown our way. According to the rest of the world, we have bad teeth, we sound like Colin Firth and there’s nothing we love more than a well-organised queue.
But now, thanks to the internet, our American cousins have a better idea of the true psychological terrors that visit us every day: the overbearing politeness, the self-sacrificing propriety and the innumerable instances in which we feel obliged to say sorry.
An online trend in which members of the public post one-line “British People Problems” has gone viral, with a selection of the posts on US website BuzzFeed attracting more than 230,000 views in 24 hours.
Among those who responded to the article were empathetic Americans who professed to sharing our difficulties (“I’m not British, just deeply socially awkward”) and Britons who felt they’d hit the nail on the head. One student from Kent commented: “Once I was so alarmed when someone bumped into me that I panicked and squeaked ‘Thank you!’ by mistake.”
The posts were all submitted by users of Reddit, a social-news website responsible for a substantial proportion of the internet memes that can baffle and confuse outsiders. But in posting their British Problems, contributors (or redditors, as they call themselves) appear to have struck a chord.
Jack Shepherd, who wrote the BuzzFeed post, said: “If we had any biscuits in America, it would essentially be a national motto to always take the last one, so these terrifying and confusing insights into the British psyche are going to take a while to process.”
It shouldn’t happen to a Brit: A selection of 'British people problems'
I live outside the UK so when I say “With all due respect” nobody realises I’m insulting them
I asked if anyone wanted the last biscuit. Someone did.
I accidentally rang the bell on the bus at the wrong stop, and instead of explaining my predicament to the driver, got off and walked the rest of the way home
I was visiting a friend’s house for the first time and I couldn’t find the toilet so I came down, pretended I did and now my bladder is going to kill me.
I don’t feel well but I don’t want to disturb my doctor.
People who don’t leave one step empty between people when going up the escalator
The police in Dartford are now driving around in Smart cars and I now cannot take them seriously.
The email from the National Lottery gets my hopes up too much
Heard an announcement at the train station: “We are sorry.” Just that, nothing else.
I picked out something that wasn’t in the meal deal so I had to pay full price for everything as I didn’t want to go and change it.
I said ‘thank you’ as a warden handed me a parking ticket.
Michael Portillo is wearing a bright pink blazer over a lime green shirt
There’s no etiquette for using an umbrella in crowded areas during wet weather.
My pre-packed sandwich packet is impenetrable
I never know whether to say thanks to people that stop at a zebra crossing
My cat meowed during the 2 minute silence.
I accidentally touched another commuter’s hand on the handrails on the tube today.
I was looking forward to a nature documentary I recorded but when I sat down to watch it the narrator wasn’t David Attenborough
My girlfriend claims to be ‘neither here nor there’ on Marmite. Now I can’t trust anything she says or does.
Every time someone says ‘PIN number’, I want to strangle them. But I don’t.
My housemate finished the Heinz ketchup, and replaced it with Tesco own-brand.
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