Monday, February 15, 2010

Shiny, Happy People

After almost twenty years of living in the States, (I moved here as a child bride of 15!), I'm still easy to spot as a Brit, and not just because of my accent. See, I'm just not happy enough.

Here's what I'm talking about



  1. If you were a child bride of 15, I must have been 10 years old when I came here to go to grad school then . . .
    I'm not happy enough either!

  2. Just went over to Toni's and left a comment...but I tell you, the pursuit of happiness can be a hateful thing...and dangerous, depending on what makes you happy! I'm happy enough...too much of anything is boring~

  3. Hi Toni,
    Just popped over and read the post on British misery and loved it.
    I lived in Chicago for 10 years and never really felt that I fitted in.
    Square peg in a round hole, now I know why.
    (I'm a friend of Some Mother's Do Ave Em).
    Hope you're surviving the winter there.

  4. Us Brits can't really let ourselves go can we? There's too much inhibition. I watched a bit of Chris Rock doing stand-up the other evening and my husband and I were talking about the difference between the American and English audiences. During the Chris Rock routine the audience were whooping and clapping most of the time. An English audience laughs politely and claps occasionally. Not very happy. Maybe very deep down we're happy.

  5. I think everyone is missing the obvious part of this discussion...there is a definate difference between 'happy' and 'stupid happy'...just sayin'

    I liken it to the difference between intelligent snarky funny and stupid funny....quite often they are clearly marked by nationality...

    my observation living in the midwest is that people here are, 'Jesus Happy', whereas my friends in the UK are more 'Happy with a global conscience'...two ENTIRELY different strains.

  6. I dont notice much difference between my US and UK friends with this regard. Perhaps its just the people I choose to hang out with! Their description would be: 'Fairly optimistic, work hard, play hard, enjoy life, don't dwell on the bad stuff, but it is quite acceptable to have a moan, within reason.'

    There is an awful lot of happiness literature coming from the States, making happiness seem like such hard work. It makes me wonder if the general attitude in the States is one of slowly deflating happiness, why else would there be such a market for help-with-happiness?

  7. I think even in England people are divided into two camps the pessimistic and the optimistic.
    As I cannot really make a comment about Americans as I only have fleeting acquaintances, they just do seem to come across as very confident people who are naturally optimistic.
    I think it is a cultural thing.
    We are a bit tongue in cheek with our moaning!

    Nuts in May

  8. I think it has been well said by everyone.

    Canada is different kettle of fish though, very much like Britian, than the US is.

    Gill in Canada

  9. Michelloui - that's very observant. I recently discussed the self-help gurus with Robyn Okrant, who did the Living Oprah experiment for a year. Her point is that people telling you how to live your best life etc. actually rely on you failing and thus needing more help, (and thus buying more books).
    I think it's sometimes a big struggle for Americans to appear happy all the time, because life doesn't always allow for that but people don't always know how to handle a less than positive person.

  10. How true! That's one of the reasons I like it in the States so much.

    Mind you, I probably am very easy to spot as British nonetheless. :)


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