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#MicroblogMondays 140: Country Personality

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The BBC had an article about whether a country can really have a personality, and what that even means in regards to its residents.  For instance, do you think YOUR country has a personality?  I’m willing to hazard a guess that you describe the personality of your country in positive terms, whereas other countries are mostly ascribed neutral or negative terms.  (Unless, I guess, you hate where you live.)

And, next, is that the average personality of the people in your country?  Because, if not, what does the personality of a country even mean?  So let’s assume that you agree — the personality of your country is a reflection of the average resident of your country.

Lastly, do YOU fit your country’s personality?

Try to answer these questions BEFORE you read other comments below.  It will be interesting to see how residents of the same country answer.


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1. Mali (No Kidding) 8. Isabelle 15. Shail
2. Mali (A Separate Life) 9. Turia 16. Virg� nia
3. Middle Girl 10. Corinne Rodrigues 17. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
4. Counting Pink Lines 11. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 18. Jess
5. Shilpa 12. torth�il 19. Chandra Lynn (Pics and Posts)
6. Traci York, Writer 13. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled) 20. Archana
7. Lori Lavender Luz 14. Nonsequiturchica


1 Mali { 05.01.17 at 6:08 am }

Ooh, but if we have to answer this, you should too!
Anyway, what’s a country but a combination of cultures living within.
I think that we can recognise negative aspects of our country/culture without hating it. Just like our families!

NZ definitely has a personality, but whether that is reflected in individuals, I’m not sure. NZ had always been egalitarian – though sadly less so these days. We’re not big on hierarchy or formality, and most people I know are like that. As a very small country with a big, confident neighbour, we can be a little lacking in confidence, very eager to please. That’s certainly me!

2 Nicoleandmaggie { 05.01.17 at 7:31 am }

The US is too big to have a personality. But I do think regions in the US have different cultures which can seem like personalities.

3 Nicoleandmaggie { 05.01.17 at 7:34 am }

P.s. This is me: https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/you-know-youre-from-the-midwest-if/

Which is where I was raised. I am living and have lived in other regions but I am not their modal/median resident.

4 Middle Girl { 05.01.17 at 8:01 am }

This question has been on my mind for many, many months, if not years; though couched a bit more like, “What is America? What is a ‘typical’ American? I’m still trying to figure out what personality the United States of America possesses. Lately, I feel like an outsider so whatever that personality is, I don’t fit. Or maybe I do fit and I just don’t know how.

5 Counting Pink Lines { 05.01.17 at 8:13 am }

So I think there’s definitely a stereotype but I’m not sure how well that actually fits the ‘average personality’. And with heterogeneous countries, what does average even mean?
I think it would be interesting to see whether a move changes that personality (if a person moves from country A to B, do they tend more towards the average of B?)

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.01.17 at 9:21 am }

I do think that organizations — companies, clubs, corporations, etc — do have personalities, which are more complex than adding up the sum of the parts. I think the US, for example, is overall optimistic in our ability to make things better, if a little blind to our own shortcomings. I think this may be what the rest of the world things of us. Interesting question…

7 Working mom of 2 { 05.01.17 at 9:51 am }

All I can think of these days is I’m embarrassed to be an American what with all the bigotry and hate.

8 nonsequiturchica { 05.01.17 at 10:09 am }

I think that countries certainly have stereotypes that can be correct- such as people in France are somewhat aloof. I think that when you get to be a bigger country such as the US, there is no singular stereotype/personality and instead there are regions that have that personality. My husband is from New England and the stereotype is that they are less open with information about themselves than other regions. On the other hand, I am from the Midwest and will practically tell anyone my life story (hello- I have a blog!). I have also lived in Mid Atlantic states, New England, and the West Coast and I would say that sometimes it has been hard making friends in other places because I was so used to the Midwest way of life.

9 Turia { 05.01.17 at 11:01 am }

I definitely think a country can have a perceived personality (i.e., one that residents of other countries think it has), so I find it interesting that a couple of comments have referred to the U.S. as being too big to have a personality because as a Canadian I would absolutely say the U.S. has a personality (which would be a stereotype and not reflective of many, if any, of the people who live there, but it still exists).

Living overseas made me feel much more Canadian because it highlighted the differences between the way my country of birth and my country of residence did things (or the differences in the way the people in those countries thought about things). The cultural differences between Canada and Australia (which on the surface you might not think would be very significant) made living down under feel very odd at times.

Q. is regarded as being a bit shocking in his academic department because a decade in Canada hasn’t changed his Australian straight talking approach and he is willing to say things that no Canadian would ever say outright.

I don’t know if personality is the right word for all of this, but I know Canada, Australia, and the U.K. have all felt distinctly different. Partly it is physical environment (geographical location, environment, weather, etc.), partly it is cultural, partly it is reaction to history/place in the world, but (I feel), it really does add up to a particular way of viewing the world that maybe isn’t reflective of every citizen, but does seem to summarize the country’s priorities as a whole.

It’s why something like Brexit is so shocking, because that type of reaction doesn’t seem to fit the personality of the U.K. (or at least the U.K. that I knew when I lived there).

10 Lori Shandle-Fox { 05.01.17 at 12:33 pm }

I find that it’s hard for me to separate “personality of a country” from the “perceived /stereotype” of the country. Being a New Yorker living in the South for 10 years, I still feel like a total fish out of water. I think people from the South or Midwest might be more like what’s considered the personality of the U.S., but we’re such a varied group of people from so many places. And now I’m afraid that the perception of the personality of the U.S. is gauged by the personality of our president. I would say that I definitely fit into the personality of the “typical” New Yorker– but I feel it with lots of love and affection not anything negative.

11 Traci York { 05.01.17 at 12:40 pm }

Those are excellent questions, and I’m not sure I can come up with definitive answers. Must ponder on this a bit more (and I kept my eyes averted as I answered, so as not to be biased by the others).

12 torthúil { 05.01.17 at 1:11 pm }

Hahaha! I’ll write mine before reading anyone elses. Canada is overly polite, slightly insecure but also more than a little bit self-righteous. Canada doesn’t want to offend anyone but also thinks it is slightly better than everyone else. I am a lot like Canada, but I try to be a bit more self-aware than Canada. I am also more comfortable with disagreement and conflict than Canada is. I don’t seek it out, but I don’t think it’s a bad terrible thing that will lead to everyone self-destructing. I also think it is more important for people to be communicating, period, than it is for them to be communicating politely. A rude discussion is better than no discussion. In that respect I don’t always feel Canadian, even if my behaviour usually defaults to the typical Canadian way.

13 JustHeather { 05.01.17 at 2:26 pm }

Yes, I think my countries (home and adopted) have a personality. However, I think that within the US, especially as it is so big, it can be broken down into even smaller personalities based on region. (Other smaller countries too, I guess.) To an extent, I do believe the average person can fit into at least some of their home country’s personality. First hand, I have been able to identify people just by looking at and watching them, without hearing the language they speak. I don’t think everyone will fit into, because it is a generalization (stereotype) of people.
I can fit into both my US and Finnish country personality, but I have seen it change over the years that I have been here. I am not fully one or the other. For example, I am generally not as loud and boisterous as I used to be. People don’t always know I am American nowadays the second I open my mouth. 😀 I am also not as shy/reserved as most Finns, nor will I ever drink as much alcohol (or coffee) as them.

14 Jess { 05.01.17 at 7:46 pm }

Hmmmmm… I agree with Nicoleandmaggie that the US is too big, with too many regions to have just one personality. I mean, I feel like the US is perceived as pushy, loud, maybe a little full of itself by other countries… I rarely feel like there is a good impression (definitely not right now with current leadership). Even within a region it’s hard to classify. I live in NY, and while I used to live and then work in the NYC area (although I lived in southern Westchester I worked in SoHo), now I live in Western NY, and that is WAY different. But people hear NY and immediately think NYC. There is definitely a different feel along the Lake Ontario shoreline than on the 6 train in Manhattan. 🙂 Interesting thought! Now I’m going to read the other country responses…

15 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 05.01.17 at 8:36 pm }

The first thing that popped into my head was the “ugly American” stereotype of being rude and loud, especially when traveling. Then I thought of how many of my friends who are here in the US from other countries have commented on how “polite” Americans are, constantly thanking or apologizing to others. Some of them have also mentioned how open and blunt Americans are compared to the norm in their home countries. But, then, I can also think of other cultures that tend to be even more blunt. So maybe it’s all relative.

I tend to think of myself as *not* the typical American. Then, when I’m in another country, I realize how American I actually am!

16 Chandra { 05.01.17 at 9:54 pm }

The USA has too many personalities. I can’t pinpoint one word that describes all of America. Like, I’m not sure I can describe my personality in one word or phrase. :-/

17 Corinne Rodrigues { 05.07.17 at 9:29 am }

Sadly, India is undergoing a change for the worse, with the fundamentalists and the right wing politicians coming into power. An echo of what’s happening in the US. When religion mixes with power, it is a deadly combination, as you well know.

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