The British Character and English Humour

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Igor Zyrianov

The British Character and English Humour

«The British are definitely romantic,

much more romantic then Italians … «

Generally British people are polite. During my first visit to London I remember seeing a man in the underground asking for information from a ticket seller. The latter didn’t replay and the man said «Thank you very much», started working off, and then turned around and said «fuck you, stupid».

So, for me, the British people are polite, but this way of behaviour is probably a mask for all kind of other feeling. They may be polite partly because they are afraid of drama and of confrontation. For this reason, they also may be attracted to «dramatic» people, like the Italian.

I would like to research into English people (my first wife is, in her own words, «a Londoner»). In our life, I find that Clare reacts and behaves in ways which I would describe as «British», or more specially English.

For the sake of simplicity I will use the word «British», although we should not, as my fife keeps on telling me, forget that the Scottish, for example (yes she has Scots blood too) are an altogether different species. More immediately expressive, direct and hot-tempered, for example, then the English and the Welsh.

Scottish people may be more open to foreign countries and contacts because they have traditionally looked for contacts.

The British people

My conclusion:

British people are obliged by society stereotyping to be polite

British accumulate negative emotions and feelings and do not as a rule express their real feeling spontaneously.

They should expect a high level of hart attack, that’s my hypothesis, anyway

The powerful stereotype influence body gestures and movements.

The British are not confident with their bodies, most British men dislike dancing, unless they have had a bit to drink.

I think conservative dress reflect this luck of body confidence.

Interpersonal Contacts are generally rather cool and formal. Handshakes are not so warm. British punctuality should connect with this formality but also with a kind of respect and consideration for other people that helps avoid embarrassing confrontations.

Adaptability is low

My recommendation:

The British should try to be a little more aggressive and outspoken, especially in Belgium where people consider being polite as a sign of weakness.

Next, Humour

Humour is very developed in Britain. It’s very dry and ironic. Russian humour may be more visual then verbal and more surreal

I remember that we studied British humour in Russia and found it very interesting. Humour help to relax people and the British understand exactly how important that is.

Humour, however, may cover other feelings. I agree here with Sigmund Freud who said humour helps us to express things in a round about way. It’s a way of releasing repression and this is important for average British character.

My conclusion:

Other form of expression then humour and other feeling are not so developed

Humour plays not only positive, but also negative role.

Like being positive, it avoids confronting facts and issue directly,

Structuration is a neurotic process. When our mind, or society try to put thinks in order and have some system.

Not only English class system produces elite, middle and down classes and put attention where you was born, studied and who are your parents.

Conclusions + observations:

British people should have a special system in their mind which classify others according to social positions. If it is difficult for them to do this (with non British) they become nervous and try to joke.

Also England is very classified society with many symbols, words and different behaviour patterns for each subclass in classes.

It stops mix between different people, energy, information and decreases level of development in society.

It should be difficult to find good friends

Lets talk about thinking

British paradigm includes rational and systematic framework. Before starting normally they have an optimism. Thinking based on precedent not a theory. British are sceptical about big scheme (but created complicated social structure) and very proud in getting through difficult situation.


Mind and thinking of British people is a key point/factor

Most of activity pushed in this sphere and may find release through:




I expect more readers and reading per capita in England — The British should like to read a lot.

Good publishing system: newspapers, books, magazines ets.

Between Russian and British I found some common characteristics, such as the famous empire mentality. Great Britain, as we know, was once geographically very great and many British people still think or their land as great an strong. They still think that British is the «best.» I can see similar in the Russian attitude. Here. perhaps I am close with my wife, even though she does not like to admit this mentality.

I would like to add that countries that have the same attitudes as Britain and Russia also have major problems. Because they think they are the best, they may not be so good at learning new attitudes or for example other nationalities and be incentive.

In a way, us Russian also live on an Island.

There Is one other major similarity. The British are definitely romantic, much more romantic then Italians. and this is the result of being shy and reserved. The Russian are also romantic, but the reason is different. It has more to do with vastness and emptiness of the Russian landscape that, I believe, help make Russian philosophy and has something to do with the famous «Russian soul».

When the British relax and let themselves go, they may be very talented artists — real artists, without pretence (a French tendency, I think) and with intense emotions. I found that Theatre is very good in Britain, and theatre has a lot, of cause, to do with body movement. Those who are good at it, get very good at it.

And there are plenty of things that I like about British, of cause, besides their humour whatever is hides. I like the British breakfast, English tea, gardens, romantism and English language. Also I like Scottish whisky, I like it much more then vodka.

Drinks and Culture

I don’t know why British people think I should like vodka so much. I bring 4−5 bottles of Vodka to my British friends in London. Anyway, there are things that easy to share with my British friends.

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