If there's one thing you ought to know about the British, it's that they're sticklers for tradition. Some may argue it's their main flaw. Others will defend that it's part of what makes them unique and great as a people. Whichever side of the argument you're on, this fact should already want you to always be on your best behavior when you're in the UK. Whether you're in a rural area like Worcestershire to in the liberal city of London, manners maketh man. As best as you can, don't be rude to the locals here. And here are some ways to avoid that!
Know What 'Stiff Upper Lip' Means
You've probably heard of the term 'stiff upper lip' when it comes to the British, right? Many would say it's one of their defining qualities. But what does it mean, exactly? The term refers to how well the British are able to suppress their emotions, even when faced with overwhelming situations. At some point, it may even imply that they're cold and emotionless people, but they're not. And you shouldn't treat them as such. Just because the British can control their emotions well doesn't mean you're allowed to do whatever you want to and in front of them. The British still have feelings, even when you don't get to see them express it all that often.
Practice Fine Dining Etiquette
Dining etiquette is important to the British. The upper class practically invented it all those centuries ago. So when you're invited to a fancy event, brush up on which spoons and forks to use for which dishes. How you ought to sit up straight at the dinner table. And ways to converse with your company without disturbing the other people. Any misstep can lead to disaster, believe that! The British may have a 'stiff upper lip' but they won't hesitate to let you know your mistakes when it comes to dining etiquette. Whether you're dining with or near the Queen
or just having afternoon tea
, knowing how to dine properly is a must in this country.
Give Tips When You Can
Know that many fine restaurants
in the big cities, particularly London, the service employees need as much extra cash as they can get. So always be generous and leave a tip when you can. Actually, leaving tips is the norm here in the UK, but it's not exactly a requirement. At times, a service charge might already be included in your final bill, which goes directly to your servers' pockets. The general rule of thumb here is that the tip will be 10% or 20% of your entire bill. And please, don't leave your change as your tip on the table. Many will consider that rude.
Reserve Holding Hands for Family or Your Significant Other
Remember that the Britsh are known for their 'stiff upper lip,' right? Well, that goes with their kinship as well. Unless they're partners or it's a parent with his/her kid, you'll rarely see people holding hands in public. Sure, it's common for girlfriends, for instance, to do that in some places, here in the UK, they'll likely walk arm-in-arm rather than holding hands. And, of course, you'll never see two men (that aren't dating) holding hands here either. Only family and lovers do that. At times, many couples might even find it too cheesy to do it too. But, since you're a foreign visitor/expat, you'll be forgiven!
Don't Discuss Money
Sure, the UK is one of the richest countries in the world. And yeah, its capital city of London is a major finance hub. But they all don't mean that the British are pretty loose with their money talks. And you shouldn't be too if you don't want to offend the locals here. Talking about money, especially how much one earns, is a huge taboo in this country. You won't find the British talking about it anywhere in the country. Perhaps in official settings, like in meetings for a budget or when you're talking to your boss about a raise at work
, it's fine. but definitely not in social settings in public!
Men Should Practice Modern Chivalry
Chivalry isn't dead in the UK. If you're a man, this is something you should always remember while you're here. Even though many British women are liberated, work and a good number consider themselves as feminists, that doesn't mean you don't have to treat them right anymore. There are many ways in which you can practice modern-day chivalry without the risk of offending the fairer sex. There's offering your seat to a woman whilst you're on a train (or in London, the tube!). There's opening the door for them in various establishments, most especially when the woman has her hands full. And more!
Wait Before You Go Into The Tube
London's public transport
is, without a doubt, one of the busiest and ultimately, one of the most hectic in the country. So much so that, even without internationally doing something, you risk angering the people around you. Well, let's keep the temperature low by respectfully boarding the underground metro system, or more commonly referred to as the tube. When you're in the queue to ride the tube, always wait for the people inside it to exit the train before boarding yourself. It's common courtesy and that's how the locals do it. If they didn't, all hell will break loose!
If there's one thing the Britsh are quite keen on, it's your manners. When you visit or move to the UK, best believe that the locals here are paying attention to how you behave. Make sure you don't offend anyone by knowing what are considered good and bad manners here!
When you do move to the UK, make sure you get a luxury rental
as your new home. Consider it as good manners for yourself alone!