Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Social Etiquette

Dear All,

Following on from my last guest post by Skid (@SkidsGig) from I have the pleasure in introducing you to the author and blogger Amie Ryan (@AisforAmie).

Amie is an American author who examines American culture. Amie frequently addresses the theme of how people communicate with each other and her blog post today examines the differences between Americans and the British. 

I have already downloaded her essay collection, Green Shoes Mean I Love You, and am looking forward to reading it. I implore you all to do the same via Amazon.

Check out Amie's blog:

Until next time.



Greetings, all, and thank you to Mr.Brinson for allowing me to say hello. My name is Amie Ryan and I write essay collections about American culture. This post comes all the way from the rainy city of Seattle!

I often write about the way people communicate and today my thoughts are on the very different way Yanks and Brits express opinions.

I'm speaking of Constructive Criticism. I wonder, do Brits feel the same spine shiver when they read those words? In America we volunteer our opinions 24 hrs a day. Actual knowledge of the issue at hand is never a requirement. In fact, often the least informed have the quickest (and loudest) things to say.

All too often we phrase our observations with "You should" or "You need to" or "You have to", as if we are the experts of the world. We force our views on friends and strangers alike: how others should look, how they should raise their children, whether they should divorce their spouse and how they ought to be making that sandwich.

This is not Constructive Criticism. It's DEstructive criticism. And it's usually voiced in a loud monotone, command-style, so that the already often hurtful statements sound even worse.

When confronted with what feels like a verbal attack, the listener feels upset and defensive. It instantly becomes a me vs. you battle, with one person right and one wrong. Even if the advice is good, it isn't heard: the hurt gets in the way.

The British seem to do the remarkable act of sometimes keeping their thoughts to themselves. You who gave us The Beatles, oh how I wish you could give us this also. Even when a Brit is required to give advice, it's often phrased "I wonder if you might.." or "Perhaps one way to go would be.."

This is marvelous, not just because it's kind and respectful but because it makes the listener feel as if the two of them are a team. Instead of feeling upset or defensive, the listener is interested and may readily agree about the idea. In fact, he or she may feel HAPPY because the person has helped them.

Construction should mean helping to build things, something Brits seem to already know and something Yanks might do well to remember.

I hope you'll visit me at and thank you for letting me say a hello from across the pond.

Enjoy more from Amie at and follow her on twitter @AisforAmie

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