14 February 2016

The Shouting Americans

I was in the United States recently. And even though I have lived in the USA for years in the past, somehow after living in Berlin for 3 years, visiting the USA again gave me some culture shock. In this case, I was surprised at the amount of shouting that happens in public.

I am not talking about the shouting that happens during arguments that simply happens in public. I am not talking about the cases where it should be a private conversation but it unfortunately happens in public. I am talking more about the cases where one is in a service environment, say you’re ordering food at a counter, and you need to place your order to the person behind the counter. I was getting some coffee in multiple places, and I was surprised how much the person behind the counter shouted at me.



I find it cognitively dissonant, to be hearing these sentences, containing polite words such as greetings and requests, and yet they were all delivered in a shouting and monotone manner. It definitely didn’t match.

Do Americans really think that louder is better? Or am I just being Germanized, since Germans tend to like and value public silence a lot? Whichever it is, I realize that I like quiet more than loud, and I have to constantly remind myself that these Americans aren’t being impolite to me, they just don’t know how to talk quietly.


  1. On the other hand, when I was in Germany, I was frustrated by the lack of good service in restaurants. Germans are perfectly content to ignore you until you chase them down for the bill so you can get on with your day.

    1. David,

      I can see that. But then again that's because here in Germany restaurant staff are paid quite well, and don't rely on tips. So they don't need to be extra nice to customers. I feel like in the USA, people are too nice to the point that they're over-doing it, simply because they want you to tip them.