It’s a well-known stereotype that Brits like to talk about the weather and for many cultures in the world, it might be considered a strange thing to do. A person talking to someone they might not even know by starting the conversation with ‘it’s cold today isn’t it!?’.
The London Fog
Another stereotype is that it’s always foggy in London but this isn’t true and whilst fog does appear in London it’s more likely to be a handful of days over the year. So could it be that Brits talking about the weather is a myth, just like the fog?
Actually no. According to a BBC article published in 2015, 94% of Brits in a survey admitted to having talked about the weather in the last 6 hours! We may have found a few more interesting things to talk about in the last few years but by estimates, the percentage would still be high today. So, do we really see the weather as being such an important part of life?
The location of the British Isles means that the weather is highly variable, not just over the year but actually within the same day or week. Whereas many countries closer to the equator or near the Arctic have less variation in their climate, Britain typically has more unpredictability. This would account for a higher level of interest but we have a different theory.
Breaking The Ice
In historic times the weather was much more important to survival and it’s argued this is where it started but over time, talking about the weather has become engrained in the culture as a way of starting a conversation. Rather than trying to find a way of starting a conversation that doesn’t cause upset or might be irrelevant to the person you are talking to, a neutral topic is a nice way to, well, ‘break the ice’.
It could be that Brits don’t have the ability or patience to spend time thinking up a more meaningful way to start a conversation. It could be they are too adverse to saying the wrong thing and risk causing upset. Personally, at Advance2Britain, we believe it’s just a great way to be jolly nice and get talking to just about anyone. And if it gets the conversation going, then I’ll raise a teacup to that!