British Etiquette and Culture

There are no strict etiquette rules that you have to stick with in the UK. It’s advisable, however, to show respectable manners and respect to the local tradition and culture.

The primary, and most vital, step to British etiquette is to pay attention to the clearly distinct nations which form the UK. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The citizens of any of those countries are British.

This term can also be the safest to use when not sure of an individual’s heritage. When sure of heritage, you might be free to name the different residents as follows: English, Scot, Welsh or Irish. Whereas the 4 nations share many customs, every has its own set of traditions and history.

Greetings and meetings

When first meeting a Brit, he or she may seem reserved and cold, but that’s just an impression. In actuality, they’re very friendly and useful to foreigners. A handshake is the common type of greeting, however try to avoid prolonged eye contact, as it may make people feel ill at ease.

Use final names and appropriate titles till particularly invited to make use of first names. It’s correct to shake arms with everybody you know, no matter gender; the suitable response to an introduction is “pleased to meet you”.

Read also: A student’s guide to living in Newcastle

Time and punctuality in British etiquette

British people are sometimes very strict when it comes to punctuality. In Britain, people will make a great effort to arrive on time, so it’s impolite to be late, even it it’s by a few minutes.

If you’re late, be sure to inform the person you might be meeting. Here are some situations where you are obliged to be on time, as well as some situations when it is recommended:

  • For formal dinners, lunches, or appointments you always come on the exact time appointed.
  • For public meetings, plays, concerts, movies, sporting events, courses, church companies, and weddings, it’s best if you  arrive a few minutes early.
  • You can arrive any time within the hours specified for teas, receptions and cocktail parties.

The British typically use expressions similar to “drop in anytime” and “come see me quickly”. However, don’t take these actually. To be on the protected aspect, at all times phone earlier than visiting somebody at house.

For those who receive a written invitation to an event that says “RSVP”, it’s best to respond to the sender as soon as possible, whether or not you are going to attend or not.

Body language and dress code of Brits

British individuals aren’t very eager on displaying affection in public. Hugging, kissing, and touching are normally for relations and really shut associates.

You also needs to keep away from speaking loudly in public or going to extremes with hand gestures in the course of the course of communication.

The British like a certain amount of personal space. Don’t stand way too close to another person or put your arm round somebody’s shoulder.

General advice

Men ought to open doors for women and stand when a woman enters a room, though it’s usually accepted for men and women both to hold the door open for each other, depending on who goes through the door first.

It is very important respect the British need for privateness. Don’t ask private questions on household background and origin, occupation, marital standing, political preferences, or cash points.

This can be very rude to violate a queue, so by no means push forward in a line. Additionally it is very impolite to attempt to sound British or mimic their accent.

Also check out: Money, living expenses and costs in UK

British etiquette rules for women

Women in Britain are entitled to equal respect and status just as men, each at work and each day life. The British have the behavior to make use of ‘affectionate’ names when addressing someone, so don’t take any offense if they call you love, dearie, or darling.

These are generally used and never considered rude.

It’s acceptable for a overseas lady to ask an English man to dinner. It’s best to stay with lunch. Additionally, if you need to pay on your meal, it’s best to state it on the outset. Remember that when in public, it’s proper to cross your legs on the ankles, instead on the knees.

1) Complaining

Brits love to complain! They might happily moan to one one other about bad climate and overpriced meals. They’re not, nonetheless, as achieved at complaining after they have an actual problem with a product or obtain poor service.

Once they do, they do it in an apologetic manner. You’ll discover Brits are actually polite even when they’re really complaining!

2) Queuing

Brits throughout the UK will often be seen forming neat and tidy queues. Whether on the grocery store, train station or a live performance, they will be awaiting their turn on the front. The worst mistake one cold commit is queue-jumping – pushing ahead in the line.

It will always be met with disapproval from those that have been waiting patiently.

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3) Being polite

Saying “please” and “thank you” are two vital things to always remember in British etiquette. It doesn’t really matter who you’re talking to, politeness and good manners are always welcome.

4) Table manners

Table manners vary all around the world. From slurping to burping, every nation has totally different ideas about how one ought to act during a meal.

Though formal events have their very own rules, it’s best to remember to eat at a relaxed pace, put your cutlery down between bites and by no means talk with your mouth full.

5) Tipping

Generally even Brits find it tough to know how much to tip a server in cafes and eating places, or if they need to tip anything at all.

All the time check your invoice after your meal. If it reads “service not included” then this implies that you can leave a tip for the individual that served you and the amount is at your discretion. If the service was good, it’s customary to add an extra ten per cent on top of the bill complete.

Many Brits tip taxi drivers and hairdressers too, however the exact amount is the customer’s preference.


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