My job involves dealing with the public on a daily basis and one thing I’ve noticed is that a good way to strike up a conversation with someone of whatever age or walk of life is to comment on the weather. If there’s a heat wave it’s news, rain is news, snow is news!

So, this got me thinking about the British obsession with the weather, are we as a nation really so interested in something that we have no control over or is it just a way for to make small talk with a stranger? I decided I’d look into this but actually found something rather more interesting, a list of 50 British traits with talking about the weather being number one. The list comes from the findings of a survey of 5000 people who were asked to identify things that make us unique as a nation.

Some are not so surprising, for example number 2 is “great at queuing” who hasn’t been on holiday and bemoaned the dis-organised queuing system, not to mention people pushing in!

Number 13 is an “obsession with the traffic” and number 25 is “road rage” but who hasn’t shouted ‘clown’ or worse at an inconsiderate driver and why when stuck in a jam do we check the traffic report or our smartphone to find out what is happening, why? – it won’t get the traffic moving any quicker!

Number 18 is having a “soothing cup of tea to ease worries” well of course, also before starting a job, whilst having a rest, when you’ve finished the job, to cool you down, to warm you up – us Brits can always find a reason.

Number 41 is “love of rambling in the countryside” well of course we have such beautiful landscape why wouldn’t we want to get out into it? Recreational walking is by far the most popular leisure activity in Britain: 16% of Britons do it each week, according to the government, compared with 11% who go to the gym. Perhaps this derives from the old connection between rural pursuits and breeding: Victorian businessmen who made good hastened to buy a country estate. Perhaps the claustrophobia caused by living in the most densely populated large country in Europe drives Britons to seek out open spaces at the weekends. Or perhaps it is down to the British love of dogs, who trot behind many an occasional walker.

However, returning to the question of obsessions some are rather unexpected, worryingly number 6 is getting drunk – we do like a tipple us Brits there’s always an excuse, cold cider on a hot day or a warming brandy on a cold day.

Number 15 is an “inability to complain” working with the public on a daily basis would persuade me otherwise, people really will complain about anything! Linked is number 36 “being overly polite” which I would also dispute!

Number 37 is “texting instead of calling” does that really make us British, surely that is just the modern world?

So there you have it, I could go on other traits include sarcasm, stiff upper lip, moaning, enjoying other people’s misfortune and a love of bargains. Some I agree with some not so much.

Talking about the weather is definitely number 1 though!

Bruno Blackstone is Marketing Director at My Outdoor Store

The premier walking and hiking outdoor gear store.

Author's Bio: 

Bruno Blackstone is a freelance writer interested in all things to do with the outdoors and helping others get the most from the outdoors. Starting with a psychology degree his early career was as a social worker and family therapist working with families to help them achieve more positive and stable relationships. In his more recent career he has coached many senior executives in both small and large organisations in areas such as strategy, human resources, organisational design and performance improvement. He now continues his work in the business world but he is also co-owner of My Outdoor Store a price comparison site for outdoor enthusiasts.