In 2008, the Independent’s Emma Bartley set out on a mission to bust some myths about the British. One of them was whether they truly were reserved.
“Britons, it is generally agreed, are reserved,” she wrote. “In foreign parts this tends to translate as ‘snooty’. But in fact we’re just quite shy, almost apologetic for our presence. In his ‘Notes From a Small Island‘, Bill Bryson finds that many of our sentences begin with: “Sorry, but…”
“Thus, in a city, only beggars, lunatics and tourists speak to other members of the public; in London, you’ll be lucky to make eye contact. If you want to get a Brit to open up, wait until you know us a little. Or talk about the weather.”
But according to Regus research, a transformation takes place the minute they set foot in the office. It appears that UK office workers are unexpectedly open about their private lives, and keen to form personal, as well as professional, relationships with colleagues.
In fact, Brits are far more likely than their European counterparts to divulge details of their private lives to work colleagues.
84 per cent say they love to broadcast their holiday plans far and wide, in comparison to three quarters of French office workers. And over half of all Brits are willing to talk about their partner, compared to just 38 per cent of Americans and a quarter of French and Germans.
The topic the nation is only too happy to spill the beans about? Previous employers. 61 per cent admitted to gossiping about their old job – significantly above the global average.
However, the topic of personal finances is strictly off-limits. Only four per cent feel it is appropriate to discuss salary and other job benefits.
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