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Is this because I'm a weirdo foreigner, or are naysayers like this with everyone?

(13 Posts)
ravenmum Tue 18-Apr-17 14:41:24

I guess this is about relationships, though these are just mildly annoying friends.

I live in another European country so have some habits that the locals don't share. Is that the problem, though, or is it just that some people are naturally negative?

Yesterday someone was saying how she hated going shopping because of the crowds, the queues, the noise. I said that I do some of my shopping online, and soon found five people staring at me in amazement that I would do such a thing, even though it's clearly a service offered here. It was like I just said I had it flown in from Harrods. No, she wouldn't want to solve her problem that way!

On the defensive, I said that I have no car, and it was a good way to get heavy goods and drinks - I don't want to carry ten litres of milk home with me. Now the general hilarity was about my wanting to buy ten litres of milk. I get low-fat long-life milk, but we do get through quite a lot a week. The subject switched to how it is really bad to drink milk "as a drink" (we were all sipping lattes!), how it is full of fat and protein and how humans are the only animals to drink milk outside childhood, and the rest of the evening I got quips about my excessive milk consumption.

I didn't dare say that I use a lot of milk on my cereal, as people are scathing about cereal here: "bird food", full of sugar (I'm a health food freak who mixes her own sugarless muesli), no wonder the British are all fat etc. (This is an equally overweight country.)

After that it took a large glass of red wine for me to relax into the conversation rather than feeling I was being picked on. I can be a bit oversensitive about these things, but it is pretty annoying, isn't it? Does anyone else get this? Is it really just because I'm the weirdo foreigner, or is it just that some people are total miserable naysayers? What else can you do instead of getting defensive like I do?

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Apr-17 14:45:16

You can roll your eyes and laugh

It's such a boring and mundane thing for any of you to get worked up about.

ravenmum Tue 18-Apr-17 14:58:06

That is part of why I find it irritating - that I have to "defend" whatever unexciting habit it is, whether it is how I eat a roll or whether I use Facebook, which is apparently the work of the devil. I then feel like an idiot for getting worked up about the subject, and obsess about how stupid I must have come across (off the anxiety medication now unfortunately so back to the obsessive nonsensical thoughts!)

Impresionante Tue 18-Apr-17 15:09:30

I get this over my family doing 'stuff', i.e. I seem to get belittled (that's too strong a word, but I'm trying to describe the same reaction you got to online shopping) for us being busy most days with the various sports my family do, and associated travelling to competitions (which is fun! we enjoy!), and that we don't watch much tv at all. Some of it is about how much travelling we do (to visit family who are not local, would love that they were and that we didn't have to spend holiday and weekends doing this, and that we could see them more frequently).

pudding21 Tue 18-Apr-17 15:37:55

I live abroad and get this sometimes, but I also find the quirks of the country I live in quite funny. Their obsession with their equivalent for rich tea biscuits. Kids here are brought up on them. I once got told tomatoes were bad for my baby by a woman who was letting her grandaughter sip from he expresso cup. Go figure. Just let it ride over your head. Sounds like you have integrated well if you are sipping lattes and wine with the locals smile

BuckinghamLass Tue 18-Apr-17 15:55:15

I also live abroad, but most of the "aren't you weird" comes from childrearing differences. Eg, your child is cold/dirty/unsafe doing that/should be wearing socks at all times.

I haven't had the experience of being the "weirdo foreigner" for my own sake though. Your friends actually sound really rude. I guess the test would be - what would the reaction be if you did it back to them? If rudeness is an accepted part of the culture they should brush it off, right?

picklemepopcorn Tue 18-Apr-17 16:17:06

Is it one of those countries where people are quite homogenous? Another poster mentioned it a while back. Everyone uses the same limited range of brands etc. I'd put it down to being foreign, and develop your 'rogue brit' reputation!

vitaminC Tue 18-Apr-17 16:22:39

Are you in Germany, OP? I have quite a few German family members and friends who are all very direct and outspoken. Their way is the only way and they don't hesitate to point out what you're doing "wrong", I.e. differently!

I think it's just a cultural thing, as they can be quite lovely in other ways.

Fink Tue 18-Apr-17 16:26:29

I used to live abroad and loved it (would jump at the chance to move back there) but it was true that I was always defined by my nationality in a way I never am in a country where I'm the majority. Anything I did was shrugged off as 'English' or an incredulous 'is that how you do ... in England?!' (Usually for something that I never would have considered there to be an alternative sensible way of doing).

It's a bit like one of my colleagues now who puts everything I do down to my gender. I have repeatedly explained that some things I do are just because I, Fink, do things like that and have nothing to do with being a woman. It's quite annoying.

corythatwas Tue 18-Apr-17 16:55:27

This is why I started an NCT group for foreign parents here in the UK when ds was little. Not because we all shared the same habits and customs, but as a safe space where we could all get away for a few hours from the need to either keep pretending or defend our differences all the time, a space where we could be individuals rather than representatives of our own particular version of "foreign".

christmaswreaths Tue 18-Apr-17 17:02:23

Yes I have lived in the UK a very long time and still get similar jibes. I don't mind really, in fact it makes me smile at times. Stereotypes about my home country can be annoying, especially when borne out of ignorance.

I did find it mildly offensive when someone told me that people from my country are lazy, especially as I work 50 hours a week lol 😁 but I think I have grown a thick skin..

ravenmum Tue 18-Apr-17 17:35:44

Well, if it is just my weird foreign ways (which can admittedly also make me "exotic" or be quite useful sometimes) then I will definitely just have to get a grip, as I'm in it for the long haul. They are indeed German and thus utterly honest and frank smile which I don't mind in theory, and which means that you can just answer back the same way. I will have to come up with some cutting remarks about their eating a loaf of bread a day or something...

Fink Tue 18-Apr-17 18:25:23

Mmm, I might move to Germany, I love bread! [Missing point of thread].

If you were going to do a tit for tat and criticise Germans' breakfast habits (not that I'm advocating getting petty) then the commonly held opinion that one can stock up on protein at breakfast by eating copious amounts of processed meat (wurst) is just weird.

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