As a non-social media user, yes there are still some of us out there, I wasn’t familiar with the Very British Problems twitter feed @SoVeryBritish and instead thought it was just a column in The Daily Telegraph. If you’re now forming an opinion of me based on this evidence, you’re probably not wrong.
The book appears to have been marketed for the British population when I believe, having now read it, that it should in fact be viewed as an invaluable guide for anyone wishing to visit our lovely country, or for those of you coming over here to work.
Broken down into handy little chapters, one of my personal favourites is Office Etiquette. While certain things will remain unique to each environment, I feel confident in stating that we all agree that swapping “Kind Regards” to just “Regards” to end an email clearly shows our disappointment and current state of anger.
Perhaps more relevant to travelers are the notes on queuing. Honestly, it’s a national sport that also leads in nicely to our other favourite activity. Passive aggressively indicating to people that they have broken the rules. Should you ever find yourself in a queue being tutted, I would suggest that some long overdue self-reflection be conducted, but only once you have quietly extricated yourself from the situation with a loud “excuse me”. This should be performed even if you believe that you were in fact correct in your positioning.
We aren’t the easiest people in the world to understand. Beyond rude to our true friends, and unfailingly polite to those we can’t stand, it can often lead to awkward moments where you find yourself invited to something you’d just made very clear you had no intention of going to.
Hopefully, this book will help us deal with these awkward moments in the same way that my family ends an evening. Stand up, announce in a clear voice “I’ll say goodbye now, as you won’t be here when I get back” and then leave the room. If I could master that same approach when at other people’s homes, I’d have far fewer stressful attendances at parties.
This is an excellent book, that is designed to be dipped into as and when you feel the need. Anything more glowing than that will just leave us all sitting in an embarrassed silence.