10 Statements to Avoid When Interacting With Individuals Hailing From Scotland

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If you’ve spent time in Scotland or with Scottish people, you know there are certain topics that can touch a nerve.

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Scotland, a nation bursting with pride and patriotism, fiercely protects its unique characteristics, from the distinctiveness of its accents to the quality of its tap water. Despite internal rivalries among cities, regions, and sports fanbases, Scots unite robustly when faced with external criticism.

For those planning a trip to Scotland, heed this advice on what questions and comments to avoid. The locals have grown tired of hearing them:

  1. “Can you speak a bit slower?” Our accents are often ranked among the world’s best and most attractive. If you struggle to understand because English is your first language, perhaps the issue lies with you. Asking us to slow down? Better yet, try listening faster.
  2. “Do you all eat deep-fried Mars bars?” Sure, we Scots enjoy our fried foods, but deep-fried Mars bars are more of a quirky rarity than a staple dish. Scotland boasts numerous top-rated fish and chip shops with much more to offer than battered candy bars.
  3. “How can you like whisky?” Whisky isn’t just another drink in Scotland—it’s our national pride and a significant industry. Known globally, our whiskies are coveted and unmatched. Dislike whisky? Maybe you haven’t found the right one yet.
  4. “When is summer?” or “Does it ever stop raining?” Billy Connolly put it best: Scotland has two seasons, June and Winter. Our weather is unpredictable—sunshine one minute and rain the next. Come prepared for anything!
  5. “We don’t accept Scottish notes” The debate over Scottish banknotes as ‘legal tender’ is an old and tiresome one. While not mandatory, accepting our currency would be a kind gesture—after all, our notes are quite stylish.
  6. “Do you have to swear so much?” Swearing might not be necessary, but it’s an effective way to express oneself. Plus, it’s scientifically recognized for relieving pain and stress.
  7. “Is Scottish water really that good?” Absolutely. Our water is exceptional, and we stand firmly by it. Skeptical? You’ll just have to taste it for yourself.
  8. “Are you a true Scotsman under that kilt?” Asking about what’s under a kilt is overly personal, especially at formal events. Unless the wearer broaches the subject, it’s best to avoid this question.
  9. “Why is your national animal a unicorn?” It’s a mystery to many, but the unicorn is an emblem of wonder and uniqueness—much like Scotland itself.
  10. “You actually eat Haggis?” Haggis is a beloved Scottish dish, rich in flavor and tradition. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Visitors to Scotland are welcomed warmly, but respecting local customs and sensitivities is key to a good experience. Remember these tips, and you’re likely to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer without any faux pas.

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