British people cannot complain is the commonly suggested norm. Not true, I contend. The ability to cry foul when feeling genuinely aggrieved is not a matter of ability to articulate this to the perceived offender, but more the lack of skill to function in a social situation. This is hardly surprising because to complain means to socially interact with another person; something the British tend to fail miserable at in most aspects of life.
An inability to exchange pleasantries whilst awaiting the commuter train to the big smoke is not a result of privacy, nor hiding to avoid endless regaling of stories and anecdotes you consider unworthy of your attention. It is more the total lack of aptitude to engage in conversation with another adult. Yes, I disagree with the resident anthropologists.
In all walks of life the story repeats its pitiful, sad, and familiar lines: why most men cannot communicate with young children, a refusal to use the term ‘excuse me’ when needing to get past someone, and why we prefer to hide behind emails, text messages, and Internet shopping as opposed to actually talking to someone.
If at any point you wish to startle a Brit it is simple: just say a proud, loud, and cheery hello to a complete stranger. Never will you see such fear and awkwardness generated from such an insignificant gesture. All across the European continent, our fellow citizens have no problem with conversation, social interaction, and such forth, and perhaps therein lies the truth as to why.
The great British Summer vacation is where our social problem manifests itself in its grandest form however. Interact with the locals, partake in cultural activities, and enjoy the local hospitality. Unfortunately, no. Why try to engage in social interactions with complete strangers, whose first language is foreign to us? Apart from the obvious embarrassment that our European friends possess a greater control of English as their second language than we do as our Mother tongue, we Brits find it much easier to inebriate ourselves beyond comprehension, and hence avoid any difficult social situations, such as conversation!
As Brits, we believe it is important to socialise our children. Pack them off to kinder garden, before they learn too much from the people that care the most: their parents. To learn our mistakes of history would not only set us apart from the status quo but perhaps would also help us raise individuals with some semblance of social skill, like our European friends, who play the opposite game to us. Raise your children and teach them, in direct contravention of our norm to rely of socially inept toddlers (not their fault of course; nobody taught them either) to perform this task for us. Alternatively, let’s fuel the problem and hope the government and their expert friends lower the compulsory school age. Need more money: raise taxes, et cetera, et cetera….