The new hit Channel 4 programme, ‘Very British Problems‘, has shed a lot of light on how us Brits are so awkwardly wonderful in such a similar manner that we can actually devote an hour of viewing into our tea-loving, painfully-holding-door-for-too-long lives. If you’re already British you may relate to the list below but if you’re not, here are some tips if you fancy being socially backwards.
Be polite at all times. If someone holds a door open for you without saying thank you, bizarrely, the ultimate come back is ‘you’re welcome’ in a muttered tone. We are even polite in moments of pure rage. And if someone truly pisses you off you say ‘thank you very much,’ making sure each word is clearly pronounced. The angrier you are, use the nicest words in the meanest way and you have clearly demonstrated your point – just make sure they don’t hear because then you’re the rude one.
It is always your fault. If you just so happen to get pushed over or even shot, you will apologise for ‘getting in the way’, “gosh I’m so sorry, are you okay, I didn’t see you about to run me over with your car.”
Speak in the exact opposite way to what you really mean. Just so you don’t come across as overly pessimistic but still hugely effective. Here are some key phrases:
•I’m not too bad! – I have been given three and a half weeks to live.
•They’re lovely in small doses – annoying prick, don’t get involved with them ever.
• I’ve got a soft spot for them – I’ve named our children and furnished our house in an online IKEA basket.
•Yeah I understand where you’re coming from – do you need a lobotomy, you stupid twat.
•Maybe another day! – This will literally never happen if I have my way.
•Sorry he/she’s a bit tired! – my child is Satan in its strongest form.
• Aw, don’t apologise they’re fine! – your dog/child is a prick.
•Right, *rubs hands for no reason*, I best let you get on! – please let me leave your house.
Two time hearing rule. It’s awkward telling someone you didn’t hear them, it’s sort of okay the second time “oh gosh sorry I didn’t hear you again” but a third time and you have to fully accept you are not having a conversation with this person ever again and you may actually be deaf. Smile and say ‘yeah’, keep the faith then do your best ‘what am I like’ laugh when they say “you didn’t hear me again, did you?” What a fool you are but what an absolute British comic ending.
Queuing. British people will be the only people to accidentally stand in a non-existent queue. You’ll stand behind browsing shoppers only to ask ten minutes later “are you queueing” to find out they’re not. But imaginary queuing is much better than pushing in. If you dare push in, you DARE, you do not want to know what’ll happen. Well, we will turn to the person behind us raising our eyebrows in pure disgust. But we will probably do the exact same thing if anyone actually tells the person upfront they pushed in because that’s rude too. You either say the exact opposite to say how you feel or you say absolutely nothing at all and squish your face up to resemble a raisin.
We hate other people. Unless we are drunk, anyone striking up random conversation with strangers that isn’t about ‘squeezing past’ or directions, is weird. Anything more than ‘good morning,’ you are assumed as psychotic. The most interaction you will exchange with a stranger is when another stranger is being rude – e.g queue jumping or poor public transport etiquette. This is the time where you and a stranger will roll your eyes at each other. And if things are EXTRA HORRIFIC (someone’s bag is taking up a seat on a busy train) then a tut will slowly emerge loud enough to confide in other disgusted strangers but not loud enough for the guilty person.
Greetings. We need our space, whilst the French will kiss people on both cheeks they just met, the British will merely raise our head upwards or mouth ‘hi’ with a weirdly shocked expression, at people we went to school with for seven years. The less effort it takes is absolutely fine, even one simple word ‘alright?’ is cool and you just weirdly walk away unsure if the conversation should have continued. We wave too but nothing makes us want to leave the country more than waving to the wrong person or someone who doesn’t see us at all.
Tea. Tea methods are commonly discussed, the order, the shade, do you put in sugar and if it’s no sugar are you vomiting inside your mouth because they said “I’m sweet enough.” The thought of a cuppa makes you lovingly tighten up your face and say ‘ooo wouldn’t that be nice’. And if you don’t like tea you feel openly ashamed and embarrassed and try to avoid any tea related conversation.
Being awkward. If you want to appear British, just communicate in the most awkward way possible. If you see someone walking towards you, walk the exact same way as them and then do an odd little dance and laugh as you go the same way. When forced to talk to people do not be interesting whatsoever talk about what a horrible/nice day it is and if you’re a bit crazy maybe even dive into complaining about poor timing of the public transport. As long as you don’t look like you have social skills, you are doing it absolutely right. Before any interaction, stop and think ‘how can I make sure I regret this moment for the next ten years of my life?’
P.S the only way to walk is FAST, to avoid the pure and deathly silent rage of the British.
Oh and Mary Berry is a blessing to each and every Brit.