Are Australians the Friendliest People in the World?

I woke up in a hot sweat the other night. But that’s something you just have to get used to during the summers here in Australia. But while I was lying there, trying to get back to sleep, I had this thought.

I didn’t actually address Vivienne’s comment when she said “I do love the English people and their witty characters, their honesty and friendliness I don’t know how you find the Australians but I found them to have a lot of road rage and rude and will not go out of their way for most people.”

So, what do I think of Australians?

Before I answer, I just want to say that I have never agreed with the idea of “pigeonholing” a whole nation. It would be ridiculous to say ALL the English are friendly because clearly not all of them are. Similarly, Australians can’t all be rude and full of road rage and I’m sure that is what Vivienne thinks too. Having said that….

Generalisations about countries and their people can be valid, otherwise this wouldn’t be funny…..

Heaven is where…….

the Chefs are French
the Police are British
the Mechanics are German
the Lovers Italian
and it’s all organized by
the Swiss

Hell is where……

the Chefs are British
the Police are German
the Mechanics are French
the Lovers are Swiss
and it’s all organized by
the Italians.

Here’s what I have found since moving to Australia. I’ve not seen any road rage whatsoever, and I drive quite a bit. In England, road rage sightings were a regular occurrence, not just by me, but by my wife my friends and my son. We were all perfect “gentlemen” of the road, of course.

So I can’t sign up for that theory.

But what about friendliness? Yes, by and large the English are pretty friendly and there are some great be friendscharacters, but there are also some very short and abrupt folk too. Try stopping a selection of strangers in the street and asking them for help and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.

Here in Australia, whenever I’ve stopped somebody in the street to ask for help the response has always been more than friendly, to the extent where I felt perhaps I’ve been a bit abrupt.

For example, I’d say “Excuse me, do you know the way to the beach?” and they would reply with “Hey mate, how are you going?” – before answering the question. So now I have learnt to precede my question with something like “Hi, how are you doing?” It’s all much friendlier.

That doesn’t seem to happen much in England.

Whenever a worker has come around to my house to do something, they always introduce themselves by name at the door and hold out a hand to shake. That’s whether they have come round to fix the TV, do some electrical work, fix a leak or lay some carpet.

I don’t remember that always happening in England.

In the shops, I am always being served by extremely friendly people, and not in a “I’m trying to be nice because I want to sell you something” way, but just genuinely friendly. I’d say they’re not very big out here on high-pressure selling, but they are big on being friendly.

And with that you have another totally unscientific and factless BobinOz comparison, this time on England versus Australia at friendliness. So I thought you might like something more concrete.

A real survey with factual answers.

The HSBC Bank International’s Expat Explorer Survey spoke to 2,155 expats in 48 countries early in 2008. Asked whether they have made friends with the locals, 95% of those who had moved to Canada said yes, making Canada the friendliest country.

Second was Germany with 92% and third was Australia with 91%. The most difficult country for expats to make friends in was apparently the United Arab Emirates at 54%.

So according to the HSBC, Canada is top of the list, so we can’t say the Australians are the friendliest people in the world. But they are certainly up there among the friendliest and at the very least are every bit as friendly as the English.

Not convinced?

The HSBC followed up HSBC Bank International’s Expat Explorer Survey 2008 with a more comprehensive and more excitingly named HSBC Bank International’s Expat Explorer Survey 2009.

Checkout the country reports. It says out of 26 countries, Australia ranked 2nd overall, 8th for quality of life and 3rd for ease of integration. Meanwhile, the UK was 23rd, 23rd and 24th respectively in the same report. Again, Canada was top with positions of 1st, 4th and 2nd.

For those who may now be thinking of moving to Canada instead of Australia, allow me to remind you about the impact of the weather on your move.

Diplomatically, I’ll call it a draw. But between you and I, I think the Aussies just about nick it, after all, even I’ve made Australian friends out here.

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • steve crocker June 3, 2019, 6:27 pm |

    as a retired Aussie who had spent 20 months in 3 trips to Europe in the last 5 years we (my wife and I) can truly say we haven’t found anyone who hasn’t been friendly and welcoming. Perhaps it’s because we are friendly and appreciative of locals and they have picked up on this, but, whatever, we’ve no bad experiences at all.
    I had one run in with a German in Spain who felt a towel on a deck chair at breakfast entitled him to that chair even for the 3 hours he wasn’t there. I took the chair and noted its empty state for that time and politely but firmly said he had forfeited his claim. He was angry but saw I wasn’t about to move on the issue.
    We ended up being quite friendly and noted the different cultural viewpoints

    • BobinOz June 6, 2019, 5:09 pm |

      Whilst I am categorically against pigeonholing whole nations with one particular trait, that’s what Germans are known for in Europe, claiming rights to a beach chair with the simple placement of a towel 🙂

      Frankly, if they stopped doing it, the rest of Europe would think something was up.

      Sounds like you have made lots of friends on your travels, and I think by and large, friendly and welcoming is the default for most, although not all, humans. At least I would like to think so.

      Let’s hope it continues.

  • chalie hicks February 18, 2019, 12:58 pm |


  • SilverStar September 27, 2016, 2:18 pm |

    I think the Australuans really seek a skilled and qualified migrants….but once you are there nobody seem to be interested in you or at least there is someone who can help you reach what you are after or even fulfill your dreams…one have to struggle a lot to attain his goal…I begin to change my idea or even my thoughts about Australia, it is not what I was expected at all.

    GOD only knows what I have been through..

  • abbey August 24, 2015, 7:05 pm |

    I live in Australia ever since I was born and not all Australians are mean, some are but not all. its just like America, so I wish people would stop making stereotypes when they had never even been to Australia.

    • BobinOz August 24, 2015, 11:52 pm |

      Who did that Abbey?

      • Abdullahi Abdi November 14, 2016, 12:55 pm |

        I am called Abdullahi Abdi in that i am very much interested to a friend people of different culture

  • ifeetugga May 14, 2014, 5:08 pm |

    Call me biased, but I agree with the HSBC survey; Canadians are truly friendly.I’d even go as far as to say that Canadians are friendlier than Americans, and I’m saying that after being fortunate enough to have lived in both countries.
    ..and Canadians can be very helpful, folks.
    Canadians staying aloof? Not likely! Back in the U.S, and this is not an exaggeration, every Canadian Prof I had was friendly, helpful, caring and, well, garrulous…in a good way :-).
    But I guess we’re all entitled to our own opinions based on our experiences.
    Let’s not forget that every nation has it’s good side and bad side, so the people can also be categorized that way. I’m sure most Aussies(at least the non ignorant and unbiased ones) are very friendly too.
    I wonder if HSBC did a survey of the least friendliest people. I’d think it would be rather controversial issue though.

    • BobinOz May 15, 2014, 12:15 am |

      You’re biased!

      Well, I didn’t want to let you down.

      You’ve made a good point, every nation has its good and bad side, there is no simple categorisation. I call it pigeonholing, and you can’t pigeonhole an entire nation. Yet here I am with a post that is all about pigeonholing entire nations, what was I thinking?

      • ifeetugga May 15, 2014, 4:51 pm |

        Chill-ax Bob, it’s an interesting topic (although a little old) and I’m hoping it’ll give us all something to think and talk about…sure makes for a healthy, enlightening conversation.
        Love your sense of humour mate. First time I felt proud of being biased(hopefully in a good sense) and coming from you, it’s a compliment :-).
        I think that whether or not you pigeonhole an entire nation/community depends on your perspective, experiences and state of mind(narrow or broad). Looks like you’re also of the opinion that you shouldn’t and I’m glad that you agree with my view that all nations have their good and bad side. I for one with my North American experience and background will root for Canada(duh!) but I have nothing against the average Aussie and the nation as a whole(I often dream of moving there). A friendly person is a friendly person, regardless of nationality, race, religion, etc. One should give respect to those who deserve it, and if Aussies, like Canadians, are a friendly, accepting people, it can only make our world a better place where we can all live in harmony. Naive as it may be, it’s a dream that I hope comes true, if not during my time(I’m in my mid 30’s, so not old yet, I’d think), then at least for future generations, but it seems like this dream is almost a reality even as I live and breathe…so hooray! The human race has a chance at survival!

        • BobinOz May 16, 2014, 3:50 pm |

          I am #%$&!* chill-axed!!!


  • Shafi March 20, 2013, 4:17 pm |

    I’m not sure how the friendliness of Australians compare to the rest of the world since I only experience the former regularly. But I find it pleasant enough.

    Just want to share an anecdote; my mother who is about 55, is a petrol station attendant in Sydney (where I live as well). She’s always obsessing over customer service. The company she works for, Coles Express is in a program called the ‘secret shopper’. This is where a 3rd party secretly sends employees disguised as customers to test out the services of the original company. My mother always brags to me about getting perfect scores and shows me a list of 25-30 things the secret shopper ticked, such as “being made to feel welcome”, “was the server friendly?”, “were the deals offered and explained?” etc. She has a record streak at the moment and tops it off proudly with the words “thats how you do customer service!”

    • BobinOz March 20, 2013, 9:49 pm |

      Good onya mum! It’s too easy to do a job and hate it, but it’s far more fun to do a job and take pride in what you do.

      I actually feel a bit sorry for the staff in Coles Express at times, because, for those who don’t know, they often offer a discount on your petrol if you buy something extra that’s on special. That means that the staff have to say to every customer, for example…

      “And would you like to buy a bottle of Coke and a packet of biscuits and save an extra two cents per litre Sir?”

      Boy, do you have to have the patience of a saint to say that 600 times a day with a smile 🙂

      Give my regards to your mum Shafi, she is doing a great job!


  • Patrick November 13, 2012, 12:28 am |

    Probably not everywhere, but in my corner of Qc I can’t say it’s very friendly…

    By the way, happy 5th “re-birth”day 😉

  • Patrick November 12, 2012, 9:26 am |

    Yay comments about homeland, Canada!

    2 things to say about that:
    No comments…
    I want to move to OZ!

    Around here at least, people don’t care about anything…

    • BobinOz November 12, 2012, 9:59 pm |

      Am I reading this right Patrick? Are you suggesting Canadians are not the friendliest people in the world?

  • Katie October 4, 2011, 10:26 pm |

    I have travelled extensively all over the world and I believe Australians ARE (no doubt here) the friendliest in the world. I recently went on a long cruise up the Yangtze River where there was a lot of British people on board. Normally, I rather like the English but on this trip there was a group of English people who didn’t miss an opportunity to make derogatory remarks to every American, Australian and European on board. They were so obnoxious that even other British people were embarrassed by them. Unfortunately, they really DID believe that they were a class “above” everyone on board – too bad none of us shared their high opinion of themselves. In any case, Vivienne’s generalisation may be true of some drivers in Australia (especially in the big cities) but, generally, Australians are incredibly helpful and friendly and still smile and say “good morning” – this is something that is rarely seen (in my experience) in England and Europe. I found Americans to be very friendly and hospitable but I found Canadians very aloof. I think Canadians tend to pride themselves on their friendliness but many people I know you travel and live there find that this is not so (unfortunately). … may be its the awful, depressing weather there?

    • BobinOz October 5, 2011, 8:07 pm |

      Sounds like the rest of you should have turfed them overboard or, better still, made them walk the plank. But I don’t suppose the boat you were on had a plank, I don’t think they’re a standard fit anymore.

      Obviously, not all English people are obnoxious, but I know quite a few that are. I’m not sure I’ve ever met and obnoxious Australian, has anyone else?

      But anyway, I’ll put you down as a vote for Australians being the friendliest. Thanks Katie!

  • BobinOz April 13, 2010, 7:40 pm |

    Got to agree, it’s not much of a survey is it? I think it’s a golden opportunity for a much smaller bank to humiliate the HSBC by throwing more than one telesalesperson at the task for more than two weeks and call it something even more grandiose than the Whatevertheirnameis Bank International’s Expat Explorer Survey 2009 and get more publicity for themselves than the HSBC do for this thing every year!

    I liked your Liverpool suggestion though, so I Googled “scousers friendliest people in the world” to see what came up. See if there was any support for your theory.

    Top was a YouTube clip of Harry Enfield “The Scousers Visit The Beach”

    Oh well.

  • JOHN WILKES April 13, 2010, 9:40 am |

    Bob, looking around the rest of your site ended up here. I’m really surprised that Canada was put first for friendliness as I haven’t heard that from any of my customers who have visited or have relatives in Canada. They all seem to agree on Australia and have yet to find even one with an opposing view. Having said that, the last eight said Liverpool is better than Sydney,so there you go. For a large international bank HSBC doesn’t seem to spend much on surveys “spoke to 2,155 in 48 countries ” ( My local bank speaks to more in a week ) Also, was the U.K. survey ( 45 people?) done in the ‘North’ or ‘South’ of the country ? Or is that another generalisation ?

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