A study has revealed the average Brit spends the equivalent of four and a half months of their life talking about our go-to small talk topic of choice – the weather.
No matter how many rainy, windy or sunny days we experience in Britain, there always seems to be something going on with the weather which we can’t help talk about.
Recently it was the heatwave, and now it’s the fact it’s suddenly grey after all those weeks of blue skies.
We’re all aware Brits talking about the weather is a bit of a stereotype, but research commissioned by Bristol Airport conducted a poll of 2,000 adults, and revealed it’s actually based on fact.
As mundane as it is, the subject of the weather comes up three times in a typical day, apparently.
The exchanges beginning with things like ‘blimey, it’s hot today isn’t it?’, or ‘it’s so miserable outside’, tend to last just under three minutes, totalling on average an hour each week.
On top of that, the average adult will post six weather-related comments a month on social media, and spend 11 minutes a week checking the forecast via TV, an app, or the internet.
In all fairness, it’s nice to know what you’re heading out in to.
England’s weather is always so unnecessary. Acting like a crazy girlfriend. She’s like “you want a REAL summer? HERE, take 50 degree heat with no air con. You sick of it? HERE, take grey skies and cold rain.” Aggressive bitch.
— SJ (@sxmmiejo) August 16, 2018
Another rainy day here in south east England
— Gavin Lucraft (@GLucraft) August 16, 2018
Nigel Scott, a Business Development Director at Bristol Airport, explained:
The weather is quite literally a ‘hot’ topic at the moment thanks to the lovely weather we’ve been having.
And while conversations begin with discussions about how much we were loving it, slowly but surely the conversation started linking the weather to their next holiday or weekend away.
A London-based Consultant Psychologist, Dr Glenn Wilson, explained why we insist on talking about the weather so much.
The weather is a favourite topic of conversation because it is ideal as ‘small talk’, common ground that is non-threatening.
In the case of British people, the weather makes a particularly good topic of conversation because it is so variable.
At the same time however, we seldom have extreme weather for very long. As a result, Britain seems less able to cope with unusual heat, snow, wind or rain because we are not geared to cope with it.
The survey found, unsurprisingly, that the majority of Brits are likely to talk about how hot it is outside, with half of the population guilty of using the phrase ‘Lovely day, isn’t it?’.
Other popular weather-related conversation starters include, ‘It’s humid, we need a good storm to clear the air’ and ‘at least my plants/lawn will be happy,’ when it’s been wet.
We could make a nation wide drinking bingo game out of common weather-related phrases. Most people head to pub gardens when it’s sunny anyway – it would be the perfect opportunity.
A third of people use the climate as a way to fill silence when talking to a stranger, while four in 10 use the topic as a safe-for-work conversation with a colleague.
Nearly 50 per cent of respondents admitted, talking about the weather is their subject of choice for small talk.
Just under two-thirds of the population believe Brits are ‘obsessed’ with talking about the weather, with 24 per cent of people admitting they could be described as such.
The study also revealed four in 10 Brits are so used to the rainy weather at home, they’ll carry on living their lives regardless of whether they get poured on.
We don’t really have much of a choice in Britain though – if we stopped living our lives whenever it rained, we’d lose a lot of time.
A tenth have cancelled a holiday or cancelled plans to book a holiday due to the recent heat wave which swept the nation, while 47 per cent believe they massively upped their levels of weather-chat during the recent spell of hot weather.
Dr Wilson added:
The weather can have a profound effect on our mood. We feel best when the sun is shining but it is not excessively hot and humid. This effect is more obvious in the UK where sunshine cannot be taken for granted.
Sun on the skin is a major source of Vitamin D, which is essential to our general health.
It is not just sunshine that lifts mood, however. Surveys show that people also feel good when they see a rainbow and when it snows.
These effects also mark a change in the weather from something dull and boring to an unusual and stimulating environment.
Snow, for example, may be cold but it reflects plenty of ultraviolet, and a skiing holiday is a good way of topping up Vitamin D etc in winter months.
Speaking about holiday plans, Nigel said:
This summer more than ever we are seeing some great deals on late availability holidays, and at prices we have not seen in recent years.
While the weather has been exceptionally good this year, the determining factor for a majority of passengers when arranging a hard-earned holiday or weekend break is to experience a different culture, taste different foods, visit new places, or try a new activity.
Passengers using Bristol Airport can easily access the wide range of destinations available whether it’s to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, Amsterdam to celebrate King’s Day or to go skiing in the Alps.
Whatever the destination a holiday or weekend away definitely provides lots of great experiences and photos to share… including stories about the weather!
While we’re on the topic, isn’t it bland out there today?
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.