When I saw that Taylor Swift has been romantically linked to British actor Joe Alwyn, the first thing I wanted to say to her was “oh no, your poor liver”. Then I realized that as someone who lived and loved in London for 4 years, I actually had a fair amount of advice on how to have a relationship with a Brit without wanting to tear out your own hair.
Learn how to drink a glass of water for every pint you drink. At least. Even better, pick a pint that has a low alcohol percentage, and nurse it for as long as you can. I learned in London that not drinking often came across as being snobbish, so finding ways to hydrate and drag out my drinks helped immensely in avoiding pukey cab rides home.
Brits are typically very reserved, polite, and uptight. One of the things they like about American women is how much more carefree we are - but we’re also a lot more used to some discussion of feelings. Your Brit may never tell you how they’re feeling… which might be a good thing? Sure, sometimes still waters run deep, but sometimes underneath the surface there’s just more surface.
Banter is key
British folks love taking the piss out of each other, and their dry, cynical sense of humour may lead you feeling taken aback. Earnestness and sensitivity can lead to them feeling turned off really quickly, but being able to poke fun at yourself as they do helps take the sting out. Even better if you can banter with them, taking their gentle ribbing and turning it back on them.
I don’t know what it is, but Brits love jumpers (what they call sweaters over across the pond). They have lots of them, in all different styles and sizes. I still have a zip up jumper from an ex boyfriend I haven’t seen in over 5 years, and it’s one of my favourite pieces of clothing. Take advantage, because jumpers are just endlessly better and more fashionable than baggy sweatshirts.
Apologies are constant
If you bump into a Brit they will apologize to you for it. They apologize compulsively, almost like a nervous tic. This is nice, in that they will always say sorry, but is a little suspect because you’re never entirely sure if they mean it or are just having a verbal reflex. Expect to ask follow up questions like “why are you sorry” and “what are you going to do in the future”. These will likely be answered when your British partner is drunk.
Tea solves all ills
Not even joking, if you call the National Health Service on their nurse advice line, they will answer most queries with “have a cuppa and a whinge”. Headache? Cuppa and a whinge. Broken leg? Cuppa and a whinge. Ovarian cancer? Cuppa and a whinge. This means that you will have to learn a tolerance for black tea being the first step to solving any health or emotional crisis. On the other hand, tea is easy to come by. Get an electric kettle, you’ll thank me later.
There’s lots more of useful tips for surviving in the UK, especially when dating a British person, but these should aid in a getting through the first month. Just don’t eat all the biscuits, and never trust an unlicensed minicab driver.