Author Topic: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????  (Read 20906 times)

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Offline Stephanie303

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #60 on: May 26, 2013, 09:27:01 PM »
I expect you didn't mean this to sound condescending, but I found it to be exactly that.  Who are you to judge whether people are civil, kind, polite, nice, based on whether or not they smile at you?  You don't know their life.  Who are you to say that they find it "too much of an effort" to smile at you?  Maybe they don't want to put any social pressure on a stranger to respond to their unsolicited gesture.  Not smiling at strangers doesn't mean that you don't acknowledge them as human beings, it just means that you don't expect them to want to interact with you just because you're feeling friendly.  That pushy, intrusive kind of "friendliness" just doesn't exist here in the UK and I for one am glad of it.   

Well I did say it was my opinion that people outside of London in general are more polite and they don't find it such an effort to be so.  For example, if another person and myself happen to catch each other's eye as we are walking towards each other on the sidewalk, path, trail, walkway, bridge, stairway, hallway, whatever and I nod or smile, or god forbid perhaps even be so pushy and intrusive as to maybe say a hello or good morning and they walk right by me as if I do not exist, as if they find it too much effort to nod, smile, twitch an eyebrow, to make some sort of an acknowledgement, then yes, I will think that the person at that moment, is not a particularly civil, kind, polite or nice person and that is my opinion.
 Same as if I held a door open for the person behind me and they walked right through and never said a thank you, then I would also think that is not a particularly civil, kind, polite or nice person, again, that is my opinion.
I am not talking about walking along a place such as Oxford Street or Times Square and nodding and smiling at every person I meet, I was saying, how in my observation, when I walk around my husband's quiet neighborhood in London and I meet the odd person on the same side of the street that very rarely does that person meet my eye (I am not staring that same person down waiting for them to look at me either).
I have lived/worked in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx and if I happened upon a person on the sidewalk in a residential neighborhood, more often then not, one of us would nod/smile or say hello to the other person and continue on our merry ways, so when I saw the way it was in my husband's neighborhood, I found it odd. 
I will continue to nod/smile/or say hello to random people if we happen to catch eyes, I will also continue to hold the door for the person behind me, say please and thank you, say hello to the bus driver or taxi driver, waitress/waiter or the cashier at the store, not talk loudly on my cell phone, keep my elbows off the table, expect other people at my table to do the same and take their hats off, give my seat to the elderly/pregnant or disabled on the bus/train/tube, help someone if they are struggling with a stroller or their bags,  actually write a thank you card, rsvp when and how I am asked to do so, be quiet in the movie theater, pick up after myself, not litter, not leave the clothes I try on in the changing room for someone else to deal with, have respect and patience for my elders, use my directional, not tail gate, not cut someone off and let another car merge while  driving, let the person behind with one item go ahead of me if I have a full cart to check out at the grocery store, not take someone's parking space, say excuse me if I walk in front of someone and generally try and travel through the world in a civil, kind, polite and nice way.
So to think that I am condescending towards people who don't respond to a simple nicety are not civil, kind, polite or nice and that they are so self absorbed that they can't be bothered or it is too much effort to be civil, kind, polite and nice in return, well, you have your opinion and I have mine.  As for me saying that I do sometimes actually nod/smile at a odd person that I pass on sidewalk if we happen to look towards each other & catch eyes and having to defend myself for saying this and finding it not to be polite if the same person doesn't respond in some way, well, I dunno, sadly maybe I am in the minority for thinking its an okay thing to be polite.

Offline Sara Smile

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #61 on: May 27, 2013, 01:02:12 AM »
sadly maybe I am in the minority for thinking its an okay thing to be polite.


You aren't in the minority for thinking politeness is a good thing. Others just don't think smiling to strangers is a measure of politeness. IME whether or not you smile at strangers is very culturally driven.

Offline historyenne

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #62 on: May 27, 2013, 01:46:04 AM »
Stephanie, in your rush to judgement of other people, what you don't seem to understand is that not everyone views "politeness" in the same way that you do.  Why do you think it's OK to force someone else to smile at you, when they may not be in the mood for it?  Maybe you should try a little cultural sensitivity instead of insisting that if people don't see things your way then they must be rude? 

I live outside of London, in a small village in Dorset.  We nod and say hello to our neighbours, and maybe exchange a few comments on the weather, but these are people we know at least by sight.  No one smiles at strangers they see on the street.  People here mind their own business, and that's what they consider polite. 

IMO, politeness is being considerate of other people, not forcing them to change their behaviour to suit you.  You mentioned holding the door for someone.  That's fine, if the person is right behind you.  But what if someone is ten feet behind you and you hold the door for them.  Is that polite?  I'd argue no, because you're forcing them to hurry up in acknowledgement of your "polite" gesture, when they would have been perfectly capable of opening the door themselves and in their own time.  If you smile at someone who doesn't feel like smiling or doesn't want to interact with a stranger, then you are forcing yourself and your standards on to them.  Is that really politeness?  You say that you don't think it should be "too much bother" for people to respond to you, but have you considered that it's not that they find it too much trouble but that they simply don't want to have an awkward exchange with someone they will never see again?  Why is your way the only way? 

The UK is different from New York, as I'm sure you must have noticed.  Maybe imposing your own cultural viewpoint on a different city in a different country is not the best approach? 
On s'envolera du même quai
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Offline Stephanie303

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #63 on: May 27, 2013, 05:20:00 AM »
Historyenne, so it seems the way you see it, if two people are walking towards each other on a sidewalk and for whatever reason both end up looking at each other in the eye as they are approaching each other and one of those people happens to be me and I nod and or smile at the other person because we are looking right at each other and we both keep on walking on our way, that is considered an awkward exchange that I initiated and forced on another person all because I nodded at a stranger and or smiled?
I am not stopping in front of this person, I am not forcing this person to have a conversation, I am simply nodding at someone that I am already involved in an interaction with by them looking at me in the eye and yes, if that person just stares at me as we pass, I do consider that to be rude and no, I don't think that is a cultural difference, I think that is just a rude thing no matter whether it is in the US or the UK.
From what you write, you disagree and think that it would not be rude to not respond in anyway whatsoever. Well, that is your opinion, that is not my opinion. Your opinion of me is that my being polite and expect others to be polite that makes me condescending, pushy, intrusive and judgemental. My opinion of you on the other hand, is that you are just being incredibly condescending towards me.





 

Online sonofasailor

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #64 on: May 27, 2013, 07:58:50 AM »
I found this study to be very interesting:

Smiling men less attractive to women

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/05/24/science-smile-men-attractive.html

Nothing to do with politeness I suppose....
Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across - Sun Tzu

Offline NoseOverTail

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #65 on: May 27, 2013, 12:27:13 PM »
I think that is just a rude thing no matter whether it is in the US or the UK.

Emphasis mine. This is the whole point. You think it's rude, and that's fine. But historyenne's point is that it's unfair to apply your concept of rude to others who may not have the same ideas about what's polite as you do. Smiling and nodding at someone, and then judging them as 'rude' if they don't reciprocate is forcing someone into a box of 'well, this person has poor manners because they don't do what I think should be done'. Unsurprising, people think differently about all sorts of things, including what is and is not rude.

In a city, I generally keep myself to myself. Lord knows what you could be inviting yourself to if you smile and nod at the wrong person. I once briefly smiled at someone I was passing in a crowd and ended up with a guy following me down the street telling me I look like Superman's brother. So, if some stranger on the street finds it rude that I don't engage with him or her, so be it. Frankly, I don't really care what a stranger on the street thinks!
"It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing and stretching one's arms again."

Offline Stephanie303

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #66 on: May 27, 2013, 03:11:17 PM »
Emphasis mine. This is the whole point. You think it's rude, and that's fine. But historyenne's point is that it's unfair to apply your concept of rude to others who may not have the same ideas about what's polite as you do. Smiling and nodding at someone, and then judging them as 'rude' if they don't reciprocate is forcing someone into a box of 'well, this person has poor manners because they don't do what I think should be done'. Unsurprising, people think differently about all sorts of things, including what is and is not rude.

In a city, I generally keep myself to myself. Lord knows what you could be inviting yourself to if you smile and nod at the wrong person. I once briefly smiled at someone I was passing in a crowd and ended up with a guy following me down the street telling me I look like Superman's brother. So, if some stranger on the street finds it rude that I don't engage with him or her, so be it. Frankly, I don't really care what a stranger on the street thinks!


Yes, exactly, that is the point, it is my opinion, it is how I, myself rate the  politeness/rudeness of others to myself and I am not chasing after people and smacking them on the knuckles with a ruler if they fail to be what I consider to be polite, I am not standing on a soapbox shouting about what I think the rules of a polite society should be, the only thing I did was post my opinion on this thread..... I think what I think about people in my own head and apply whatever concepts I think about politeness/rudeness against them, again, in my own head and carry on with my life!

NoseOverTail, I like that people think differently, it would be a boring old world if we all thought the same, what I don't like is being made to think that I am forcing my opinion onto others, either here on this forum or in real life, which I do not feel that I am doing, the only person I force good manners on is my own son! Everyone else can do what they like, but I am not going to apologize for saying I do like it when someone is polite, as there are plenty of rude, obnoxious, self absorbed people out there who are just not nice, that I do not like and not going to apologize for thinking that way either.
I hope I am making it clear that this is what I think and this is what my very own opinion is, I am not making anyone else think the same way I do.
I also don't believe that I told anyone that they are in the wrong for thinking the way they do in any of my posts, I made it clear that this is my opinion and tried to explain what my opinion is on my own interpretation of politeness over and over again and said over and over again that this is my own opinion and as far as I know, I am allowed to think whatever I want to think in my own head! I do realize that since I posted my opinion on this thread, that now I have to defend my opinion, I have not told anyone else they are wrong for not having the same opinion as me, but for some reason I seem to be fair game and am being told I am judgemental, condescending, pushy, intrusive and apparently culturally insensitive, for, wow, having a different opinion then some others about smiling.

By the way, I also keep to myself in the city and yet again, I am going to say again, that I am not running around jumping in front of people nodding and smiling forcing them to engage with me! I am a fairly quiet person who wanders around doing my own thing and if in the course of my day I happen to catch someone's eye, I might nod and maybe smile and depending on the situation, possibly say hello or good morning and yes, if they don't respond back I will think to myself, hmmpf, that was rude and I do not think it is "unfair" to think that way, since that person was looking at me! I do not nod or smile at a person just because they are passing me, I do it if we happen to be looking at each other, that is what I have been trying to explain.
That is the point I am trying to make, if someone is looking at me and I at them, at that point, we are engaged and I may or may not nod or smile at someone and if I don't happen to nod or smile at the person, but they nodded/smiled at me, they would more than likely think I am rude to them for not nodding or smiling back at them and that is their right to think that way about me!

Everyone has different opinions and this just happens to be mine, that is nice to be polite and there is nothing wrong with smiling at a stranger every now and again.
 Other people may think there is no need to be polite or smile at a stranger and that is their opinion and would not agree with me and I would not agree with them and that is the way life is, I am glad we all have our own opinions and way of doing things and that is what makes the world an interesting place that we agree to disagree.

Offline Andee

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #67 on: May 27, 2013, 03:26:07 PM »
I have to say, I do think the world would be a better place if people nodded and smiled at each other in passing even just a bit more often.

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Offline Aquila

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #68 on: May 27, 2013, 03:58:00 PM »
I think the point trying to be made is that while you have your own opinions of what is rude or not (and that's fine), there are merits in giving the benefit of the doubt to other people when they fail to respond according to your ideas of politeness because they may come from backgrounds where the etiquette is different. 

So, while you may perceive their reaction (or lack of one) as rude, on their end, they may be responding in a way that they perceive to be correct/polite based on their culture/upbringing/etc - and it's worth remembering this before judging someone as being rude to you.  On their end, from their point of view, they may be acting in a manner that they think is very polite to you!
Met DH 2004 | Engaged 2009 | Married, got a spouse visa, and moved to UK 2010 | KOL passed 2011 | ILR 2012 | UK citizenship 2015

Offline Stephanie303

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #69 on: May 27, 2013, 04:22:58 PM »
I think the point trying to be made is that while you have your own opinions of what is rude or not (and that's fine), there are merits in giving the benefit of the doubt to other people when they fail to respond according to your ideas of politeness because they may come from backgrounds where the etiquette is different. 

So, while you may perceive their reaction (or lack of one) as rude, on their end, they may be responding in a way that they perceive to be correct/polite based on their culture/upbringing/etc - and it's worth remembering this before judging someone as being rude to you.  On their end, from their point of view, they may be acting in a manner that they think is very polite to you!

Very well put Aquila, actually I really do like the way you said this, thank you.
I realize that I have been digging my heels in about this topic, its just the way some things were said in response have just rubbed me the wrong way and I really will try to keep what you just said in mind, the way you said it makes sense to me :)

I have to say, I do think the world would be a better place if people nodded and smiled at each other in passing even just a bit more often.


Oh me too Andee, me too!


I would also like to say that I came back on here after thinking about my earlier response, to apologize to Historyenne for saying you were condescending, I was complaining about your comments to me that I thought were out of line and meanwhile I turn around and do the same thing to you,  [smiley=argue.gif] I am sorry.

Offline historyenne

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #70 on: May 27, 2013, 05:16:14 PM »
No worries  :).  Remember that in my first post to you I said I'm sure you didn't mean to come off as  condescending, and that this is really just how I interpreted your remarks.  Anything that has even a whiff of placing judgments on other people for having different ways tends to put my back up.  I appreciate that in your opinion it's polite to smile at strangers, i just hope that you can see that other people might not have that same opinion.  If I happen to catch a stranger's eye, I will nod at them but I won't smile, and I do attempt to avoid eye contact with people on the street.  But this is because I don't want to engage socially with someone I don't know, NOT because I find it too bothersome to acknowledge their existence.  In the UK generally I think people prefer to keep to themselves.  Therefore, politeness in this country is minding your own business and allowing others to mind theirs.  That's the point I was trying to make :).
On s'envolera du même quai
Les yeux dans les mêmes reflets,
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Tu seras mon unique projet.

Je t'aimais, je t'aime, et je t'aimerai.

--Francis Cabrel

Offline NoseOverTail

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Re: Am I the only UK female that has an American husband here in UK????
« Reply #71 on: May 27, 2013, 05:43:17 PM »
I think the point trying to be made is that while you have your own opinions of what is rude or not (and that's fine), there are merits in giving the benefit of the doubt to other people when they fail to respond according to your ideas of politeness because they may come from backgrounds where the etiquette is different. 

So, while you may perceive their reaction (or lack of one) as rude, on their end, they may be responding in a way that they perceive to be correct/polite based on their culture/upbringing/etc - and it's worth remembering this before judging someone as being rude to you.  On their end, from their point of view, they may be acting in a manner that they think is very polite to you!

Yes, thank you! This is what I was trying (unsuccessfully) to say!
"It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing and stretching one's arms again."