1/28/09

Warning - I tell it like it is!

So yesterday the Hubster had someone I work with in his place of business. During general chat, this person asked if I was enjoying my job as Secretary at the school. He assured this person I love it and they replied they really enjoy working with me, which is nice to know.

They then continued to say something along the lines of "yes I love that she always tells you it exactly as it is, you know where you stand with her, unlike some there. You tell her, I'm a fan anyway"!!

OK!! So my immediate response on hearing this was "well does that mean other people aren't?" Now the Hubster reassured me this was not what was mean't, but it got me thinking and remembering some odd, or semi-outraged laughter and looks I have received at times.

You see there's just no getting away from the fact, that us Brit's are on another planet in terms of 'telling it like it is', especially when compared to the Americans where I am. We know we sometimes have a reputation for being blunt, very direct, proper, sarcastic, in yer face if pushed and at times, stand off'ish. But it's what we know, because that's how we are raised over there, in much the same way as you are all raised to say "have a nice day"!

And despite my more than 3 years here, it appears I haven't lost all these national traits. Now I know I have seriously reined in the sarcasm, or I'd have no friends, and I do. When I do use it, I am careful about how, when and where, as it's true that many Americans just don't get it and think you're rude. It's a good job people can't read my mind at times though, or they'd be shocked rigid and I'd be a social pariah! I do alot of tongue biting!

I already know that some of the people I work with, think I'm generally outspoken and often about things they either don't discuss, or only in hushed voices. How can I tell? Well I seem to make them laugh alot, gasp in horror or glee, and I sometimes get the impression they're just waiting for me to chip in with my British 2 cents worth! They are also quite open and upfront with me about it at times. They're not at all funny with me, we get on very well and some of my closest friends are there, but I can tell I'm seen as 'different', but then I am of course!

There are times when I'd like to give some of my other American girlfriends a big Gin and really show them how to let their hair down. They are so restrained compared to my Brit' friends, it can be frustrating at times. I can only think of two friends here who could really give me a run for my money, and I'm thinking they have Brit' ancestors not too far down the blood line!

I'm rambling a bit, but I guess my point is...here I was thinking I was doing a great job at blending in. Now I am wondering whether this is true and what they really think of the local Brit' gal! I have good friends, so I know I'm doing okay, but it's sad in a way that I feel they rarely get to see the real me. Because I am already strictly moderating my social behaviour to fit in here and even that restrained version is apparently 'refreshingly direct'. I definitely need that trip to NYC, where I know I could let it all hang out safely!

Now y'all know why I REALLY NEED this blog, someone pass the Gin!

35 comments:

Sherri said...

Sarah, I'm sorry that you are having these feelings. Believe you me those women at work that are whispering or making gestures are like alot of catty women in the workplace. I'm not a Brit and I have dealt with plenty of women like that! I think they are intimidated because you know what you want, you go after it with confidence and gusto and they are probably envious that you can do that and they don't have it in them to do that. Hang in there-don't let it get to you. You should always be who you are!

Ladybird World Mother said...

You know what, I am right there in your camp... I have just seen a post that started.. 'I would NEVER write a post like that'.... and I thought, golly, whats that about... and it was about My Post... Anyway, she went on to say that she wished she Could write about what I had written about, but didnt dare... (poo, as it happens!) And she kindly put in a link to my blog. So nice.
Wish I could come and have that gin and you could say just what you like because I Dont Care!!!! You carry on being you. You sound a hoot. X

DeeBee said...

I love people who are upfront and blunt and say what's on their mind because you never have to wonder. I think most people probably love you the way you are. We could all use a friend like you.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Sherri, you got the wrong impression so I have added something into this as I could see how you might have got that impression. They are not at all bitchy to me at work, we get on very well. But I thought I was really blending in well I have changed so much but obviously I haven't managed this yet!

Melissa said...

Sarah, welcome to the American workplace! This is normal office behaviour in America especially if you work with women. Generally people are nice to your face and then whisper about you behind your back. I'm not saying your work mates are doing this to you specifically but in general this is what tends to happen.
We had an English girl working in my building and I was the only one who liked her because others were put off by her candidness. It didn't help that she said the "F" word now again but having lived with a Brit I was used to it.
I'm a tell it like it is type of person too and I have put a few people off in my time. Mostly women. I think some women are jealous of other women who know who they are and aren't afraid to speak their minds. Personally, I'm a terrible liar so I have no choice. If I were you I would just "be you" because it doesn't matter if you put on airs or walk on eggshells and try to please everyone there, they will still talk about you, like they gossip about everyone else, so don't think you've been singled out. You are great just the way you are so don't let anyone change you.

Sherri said...

Sarah, sorry for getting the wrong idea, I get it now! I guess waking up at 3:30 and reading blogs wasn't that great of an idea was it, silly me.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Sherri - LOL, no I could have worded it better too!

Sassy Britches said...

Ugh. How annoying to feel like you have to reign yourself in to fit in. I have to haul myself to Chicago every few months just so I can let loose, so I feel you on the NYC thing! But, yes, sadly, in many workplaces it's usually women who get either jealous or freaked out when there is someone there who is comfortable enough in their own skin and own mind to be able to be frre and honest. I think the majority of people, unless they're in big cities, say what they think others want to hear. In my mind, where' the progress in that?!

Mare said...

I would have to say that life would be boring if everyone acted the same way all the time. I find your spirit and frankness to be very refreshing! You go, girl! I for one, enjoy your topics and have laughed often at some of your entries.So, thanks for the fun.

Jill of All Trades said...

You should always be you. I am me and I don't care if people don't like me as I am. I have reached the age where I give them the raspberries. Cheers to the real you!

willow said...

I know exactly what you mean and I am an American! I often find that men are much easier to get along with than women. Gin should do the trick. Pour me a tall one please.

Winifred said...

Oh I thought British people were the ones who were supposed to be tight arsed and keep it all reined in!

It's much better to be honest about the way things are than to pretend everything is fine, if it isn't. As long as you are pleasant about it I can't see what the problem is Sarah. Just stay the way you are - This above all to thine own self be true etc etc.

Daryl said...

First .. do not blend in ever, 'normal' is SO boring .. and how mentally draining it would be to become an OKLAHOMA version of a Stepford Wife ... move to NYC where sarcasm is always in and the only time you'll get a funny look is when you dont reply in kind ...HERE being a bitch is a good thing ..

Sherri said...

(A different Sherri from the first one!)

You're actually lucky to be British, because then if you are too candid, they may like you anyway on that basis. I don't have an excuse. I've never figured out how to have an "office" personality different from my normal, crass one, so I guess I'll stop trying to work in an office.

Sherri Cornelius

VictorianCobweb said...

Be yourself Sarah, don't change. That being said when in a country that speaks a different language you need to learn the language/customs so forth and honor them, but otherwise..........you have got to be who you are, period. And you obviously speak English and you have learned the American customs, so your good.
That is just what happens in the workplace environment. Things like this happen whether it's a workplace that's all one nationality or mixed (here in the USA).

Melinda said...

Apparently, I was born in the wrong country : ) I too have to constantly watch what I say for fear of offending someone.

pamokc said...

Oh girl, I totally understand. And it is my opinion that it is probably a good thing that most people don't understand John's accent because they would probably be offended by what he is saying. But those that "get" him, are highly amused. I suspect that is the case with you.

LadyFi said...

I know what you mean! I keep having to tell the Swedes that I was being ironic, you know - joking... and that's after 12 years here! Yes - it's definitely time I bought some gin in! ;-)

ParentingPink said...

I love a woman who tells it like it is! I can get behind that :-)

Thanks for stopping by my SITS featured blog today! I love meeting new bloggers - especially ones who also think that huge doll is creepy!

gigihawaii said...

I find your blog so amusing, Sarah. Keep it up!

Kay said...

My neighbor here in Illinois is British but has lived here for more than 20 years. He's still very refreshingly candid and I love it. He always tells it like it is and doesn't hide what he thinks. I really respect that. However, I also have another neighbor, C who is all American (anthropology prof) and she is even more so candid so I'm wondering if it's really a national trait. I love C because if I say something dumb, she'll catch me right away and ask what I meant. No misunderstandings that way.

Expat mum said...

Unless you lose your accent completely, you'll probably never fit in really. I found it incredibly difficult moving from England to the South (partly why I left). They are more than polite and at times the veneer that I encountered used to get me down. Even now after 19 years, I know I go where other people don't in conversations. But bugger it - what you see is what you get and I'm never knowingly mean so..... okay now I'm rambling too.

Lover of Life said...

You are living in one of the most conservative places in the U.S. Isn't it also in the Bible Belt? Recently my husband interviewed for a job in Oklahoma City, and I was truly worried about how I would fit in. Nothing has happened so far with the job - it is still out there. But moving to such a red state would be different. You can only be who you are. You will never please all of the people all of the time, and not everyone is going to like you. (A long and hard lesson that I eventually learned in my 55 years.) But you will also have people who will enjoy who you are and want you to remain the person who came here from England. You are English, after all, and that is a wonderful thing.

Gaelyn said...

Sarah, being an up front, honest and tell it like it is person myself I know that some people just can't handle it. I believe it's mostly not being honest with themselves, so we are seen as a threat to there "truth." You should be yourself with only the moderations you choose for cultural differences. Hey, we're all different. Thank goodness for that.

Anonymous said...

What if her comment has been completely misunderstood? Here's a thought... ask her, face-to-face. What could it hurt?

me said...

Ha ha, this is so me too! You should see the looks I get from people sometimes, but you know, it is who we are. I can only be so American, my true Brit has to remain!

I also find that I am horribly polite at times too, such as being an imposition when I go over to a friend's house. Another trait of ours.

Be who you are, not who they expect you to be, and don't change a thing.

NFAH said...

OK, that's odd, I feel as thought I have the same problem here but in Reverse--my British colleagues are so stuffy and so unaccustomed to my straight-talkin'-midwestern American thing that I am constantly upsetting them. I don't see how you and I could both feel like the locals don't understand our respective straight talking ways...

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Anon - I know this person didn't mean anything by it themselves, it was a generalisation and it just got me thinking about it and how much I have had to change to fit in here.

I think Pam knows especially how I feel, as her hubster & I come from the same county in the UK. She knows it's just a general thing we have to do to not be seen as verging on rude. Nobody is mean to me here, that's not what I was saying, it's just I know I have to tone myself down and obviously I still surprise some even now.

NFAH - all depends where you are in both countries I am sure. In NYC or LA I know I'd fit right in.

♥georgie♥ said...

awww you rock girlie! there is nothing wrong with tellin it like it is...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Awe Sarah---you know these American girls can be wishy-washy --and they will love you to your face and then talk about you behind your back. That's US!!!! I'm sorry to admit that Wish it weren't true--but it is (or can be).

SORRY... You need to be YOU and don't EVER let anyone else try to change you from who you are. I personally love people who are direct and tell things as they are!!!! It's a 'what you see is what you get' type of person. LOVE it.. I always know where I stand.

SO--my advice: stay SARAH... There are many of us American gals who love you and love that kind of person...

Hugs,
Betsy
P.S. Check out my blog today if you haven't. I wrote about Left Brain Right Brain.

Bella Foxx said...

I tagged you! Check out my blog, Bella is reading ....

Flea said...

Heh. So you're just New York with a different accent, huh? We need to hang out next time you're in Tulsa. I'm southern, but not that southern. What fun!

Elaine Warner said...

It's not that you're a Brit; it's that you're honest and open. I think part of it is small town-ness and part hypocrisy and maybe another part jealousy. They would like to say the things you say but probably aren't clever enough. And they live their lives trying to impress other people with how perfect they are.

Janet said...

I know exactly where you're coming from, Sarah. No-one here has ever met the real me, they just get a watered down Jan. I bite my tongue a lot too.

butlersabroad said...

Amen to that, just be yourself, there's no one else you can be. I've been here 15 years and they still call me judgemental; and I have warned new people I've met at a party or social gathering that if they ask me a question they WILL get my answer. If they can't cope with that that's their problem! One of my neighbours hasn't talked to me in over a year. I see that as their loss.