The UK is a great place to relocate to, with many regions, traditions, cultural quirks, and specialty foods. Here we have a light-hearted guide to help you acclimatise to your new life in the UK.
People greet each other, and bid farewell, in different ways, depending on the situation and who they’re talking to. Here are a few ways the Brits say hello and good bye.
Alright mate – this is a very casual and friendly greeting.
Hey – this is a simple greeting, often used amongst friends.
See/Catch you later – this is very common way of saying goodbye.
Of course, people also use formal greetings: Good morning/afternoon/evening, and it is quite common to use these with terms with strangers.
People in cities can sometimes be less approachable, but in the countryside and small towns, people tend to be much friendlier, greeting strangers they pass with a polite “Good morning/afternoon/evening!”. People walking their dogs are often very friendly, particularly if you are out with a dog too, and it is acceptable to greet them with a hello. This can lead to conversations about your respective dogs – it’s a great icebreaker.
Manners are important all over the world, but different people have different ideas about what good manners are. Depending on which part of the country you’re in, and who you’re interacting with, British manners can vary a lot. Here a few examples of good manners.
Please and thank you – it may sound obvious, but saying please and thank you can go a long way in the UK, and people respond well to people who always make sure to say it.
Excuse/pardon me – this is a multipurpose term, it can be used to polite move past someone, but it can also be used if you burp!
Don’t ask personal questions – in the UK it is generally considered impolite to ask personal questions of people you do not know well.
Sorry – it is quite common for people in Britain to overuse the word sorry – saying it even when they have nothing to apologise for!
The British love to laugh and make jokes. But sometimes the British sense of humour can be difficult to understand, it can come across as abrasive. Sarcasm is a very common form of humour, and it can seem rude to those unfamiliar with it – but it is usually good-natured. Banter is another form of joking around, and it usually involves teasing people in a harmless way. Often, the closer the relationship people have, the harsher the jokes can be.
In the UK slang words are a common part of the British vocabulary, but they can be confusing for people who aren’t familiar with them. Here are some examples of slang words you might find it useful to know. But remember, these are informal words, so don’t use them at work!
Bloke – this word can be used instead of man. Example – he is a good bloke.
Cuppa/Brew – this might be the most important slang word you could learn, as it means a cup of tea. If someone offers you a cuppa, or needs a cuppa themselves, it’s time to get the kettle on!
Bog/Lav – if someone asks you where the bog is, they aren’t looking for a large swamp, they are in fact looking for the toilet.
Houl yer whisht – this is a Northern Irish term, and if someone says this to you, they would like you to be quiet!