As an Australian who has been living in New York for nearly six years, I've heard it all. There are some things every Australian hears in their interactions with non-Australians on nearly a daily basis that can be pretty frustrating. We get it. Australia is far away! Our accents are weird! We come from a foreign land that many people have never even considered visiting! But that doesn't mean you get to talk to us like we're some weird alien race. Believe it or not, Australians are just like you. And Australia is just like anywhere else. We have the Internet. We have McDonald's. We go on dates and fall in love. We eat nice food at trendy restaurants. Is your mind blown yet? Can you hardly believe it?
If you meet an Australian--and you 100% will if you live in New York or LA--think before you speak. Considering the running joke that New York is everyone's favorite suburb of Sydney, chances are you're surrounded by Aussies, whether it's in your social circle or at work. They say you're not a true New Yorker until you've cried in the street or made an Australian friend. So if you want to make an Australian friend, try not to say these 5 things to them, and you'll be mates in no time.
1. . You're British, right?
I mean, we get it. Our accent sounds a lot like a British accent, and if you're not familiar with the Australian accent you probably default straight to thinking we're British. But if you're not sure, don't try to impress us by guessing (because 90% of the time, people guess our accent wrong). Try asking, "Where are you from?" instead. That way, you won't annoy an Australian by being the eleventy billionth person to ask them if they're from England.
2. . A dingo ate my baby!
We know you're trying to be funny, but it's not. We understand that you don't know a lot about Australian culture, and a "dingo ate my baby" joke is an easy way for you to try to insert humor into the conversation. But again, we hear it all the time, and mostly from people who don't even know where the phrase came from. To wit: in 1980, baby Azaria Chamberlain went missing, and her mother Lindy Chamberlain said a dingo took her. It was a huge mystery in Australian culture, and probably comparable in the news cycle to something like the O.J. Simpson case in the U.S.. So if you need some perspective, consider that when Australians meet Americans we don't start immediately yelling "Juicccceeeeee!" as though that's what defines you.
3. . What do you think about New Zealand?
What do you think about Canada? Or Mexico? Or Germany? Or Russia? Asking us what we think about New Zealand is inane. It's a different country, physically and culturally disconnected from Australia. Assuming that we're one and the same just annoys Australians (and New Zealanders)! It just shows us that you don't really care about geography, and that you basically lump in anyone you see as "similar" together. Australia is Australia. New Zealand is New Zealand. A lot of Aussies have never even been to the latter. New Zealand is uncontroversial, so it's not like we have a political opinion on it or anything. We think of it the same way that anyone thinks of any other non-topical foreign country.
4. . It's so far!
No s*it Sherlock. Australia is far away. Good for you for noting that. But guess what? We know it's far. We're the ones travelling back and forth all the time. We don't need you to clarify the distance for us.
5. . Do you know (enter name of random Australian you know here)?
Australia is a country of more than 23 million people. So chances are, no, we don't know the Australian you met two years ago while backpacking around Europe. If you've met an Australian from the same city as us, currently living in the same city as us, with mutual friends or working in the same industry, sure-- feel free to ask if we know each other. But use common sense. If we have nothing in common with some other Australian you've met, then we probably don't know them. We don't know every single Australian.