25 Signs You’ve Been Living in London Too Long

25 signs you've been living in london too long

25 Signs You’ve Been Living in London Too Long

It took me a long time to realise this, but there are a great number of tell-tale signs you’ve been living in London too long.

I spent four lovely years in London yet this did not cross my mind until I recently moved to Manchester. For nearly half a decade I thought scowling at strangers was a prized survival technique and getting trampled on the tube during rush hour a rite of passage.

If you don’t currently live in the British capital, please consider the following a mildly entertaining rant. If you’re a Londoner, work on that stiff upper lip and try to make sure these signs you’ve been living in London too long don’t make you cry.

25 signs you've been living in london too long

Ugh, annoying tourists. (Yes, that is me. I’m sorry.)

1. You think slow walkers are the worst people ever. Right after tourists, anyway. Nothing – and I mean nothing – is more annoying than a tourist trying to take a selfie on Oxford Street or near Big Ben. Some of us have got places to be!

2. Dropping £5 on a beer seems normal to you. I mean, it is a craft beer. Come to think of it, a pint for a fiver is such a good deal!

3. Spending 90% of your salary on rent? That’s totally normal as well. For only £500 a month you can live in a shoebox-sized room in zone 4 with three flatmates – #livingthelife! The idea of actually buying a house? Hahaha, let’s not even go there. The remaining ten percent of your income can be spent on the aforementioned beers and brunch…


4. Because seriously, is there anything better than brunch? Anything that gives people a socially acceptable excuse to drink before noon is good in your books. Don’t worry about going to work hungover – everybody does it here.

5. Nothing surprises you anymore. Ever since a Michael Jackson impersonator tried to rope me into joining his church on the night bus at 3am I have found it difficult to be shocked by anything life throws at me. Thanks London, I am now officially immune to weirdness.

6. Having said that, people trying to talk to you or – heaven forbid – smiling at you on the street are definitely cause for concern. Friendliness should definitely always be met with suspicion and utmost confusion.


7. There should be no social life outside of the pub. This is the only place where it’s acceptable to talk to strangers… sometimes. It’s also a place to chat up people, albeit only if they’re fit – and will only happen if you’re pissed (spot the Britishisms).

8. The second the sun comes out you run to the nearest pub or park. Yes, you will stay there until it starts raining/snowing/hailing or at least until it closes… which will be at midnight. Woo!

9. You spend half your life apologising to people but you’re constantly angry. Passive aggression and sarcasm are your two most reliable coping mechanisms.


10. You know how to pronounce ‘Leicester Square’ and ‘Holborn’. Anyone who doesn’t is a wanker or a tourist – and hence a wanker.

11. The word ‘wanker’ – as well as ‘bellend’, ‘knobhead’ or ‘twat’ – is now an integral part of your vocabulary and can sometimes be used as a term of endearment among friends. A ‘cuppa’ is also a word you now use, with a straight face.

12. You no longer notice the sirens or traffic noise. Your ears have learned to block it out and, besides, it’s not like you leave your house without your headphones. What if somebody tried to talk to you, convert you, get you to fill in a survey or make you donate to charity?


13. You don’t own a car, because, why? In fact, you’ve probably forgotten how to drive or never even got your licence (yup, that’s me).

14. Half your life is spent on public transport and you’ve got all the rules down. You always have your Oyster ready before going through the gate on the tube and anybody who doesn’t is the enemy of humanity. Are they crazy?! If you miss this train you’ll have to wait a whole three minutes for the next one!

15. Walking down the street is a 5-minute round the world trip. The off-licence owner is Turkish, the bartender Polish, the newsagent Nigerian and the laundrette run by an Indian family. As infuriating as London can be it’s also wonderfully diverse!


16. Citymapper is the best app ever. There shall be no discussions, ever. Uber is a close second though.

17. It’s dark when you go to work and dark when you come back, at least one half of the year. This seems perfectly normal to you.

18. You think it’s normal to breathe poisonous air. Seriously – according to a recent King’s College London study nearly 9,500 people die early each year in London because of long-term exposure to air pollution. Disgraceful.

19. You know umbrellas are a basic necessity but also a frightening murder weapon. The amount of times you’ve almost lost an eye to one of these contraptions… *shudders*


20. The morning rush hour doesn’t seem weird to you. Being wedged between two people’s sweaty armpits while passerbys step on your feet is not your personal hell – it just means it’s 8am again.

21. Friends who live on the opposite side of London may as well be in Australia. That house-warming they invited you to? You’ve got that work thing on Friday that you can’t get out of. Oh, did you say Friday? Yeah, you mean Saturday. You’d love to make it but really really can’t.

22. You’re either from the North or the South of London and you’ll never fail to remind people which is better. Mainly because anything South of the Thames is basically France and hence awful. Yes, you may have a guess whose side I’m on.


23. Through your social media you make the rest of the world believe that the majority of your London life is spent at pop-up restaurants and fancy rooftop bars. You’re the only one who knows that there’s no place you’d rather spend your free time than your bed with a big Indian takeaway and Netflix.

24. But at the end of the day it’s all ok because the museums – which you still haven’t been to – are free. That definitely makes it all worth it.

25. You’ll never understand how people can live anywhere but in London. I mean, it’s not the centre of the universe for nothing! What do you mean it isn’t? You’re clearly just jealous.

25 signs you've been living in london too long

Have you ever lived in London? Do you think I’m being melodramatic or do these seem true to you? Anything you would add to the list? This recovering ex-Londoner would love to know!

Click here to read more awesome posts about London.

All gifs via wifflegif.

  • Andrea
    Posted at 19:49h, 13 November

    This is hilarious! Love this post! Also, I’ve never been to London but I really want to go. But by the sound of it, it sounds like some kind of special club only VIPs get invited to. Should I risk being one of those annoying tourists?

    ~Andrea Tiffany~

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:21h, 25 November

      Yayyy, so glad you enjoyed the post Andrea! Don’t worry at all, some Londoners are grumpy but the city is so cosmopolitan that you’ll blend right in 🙂 And I never stopped being an annoying tourist, even after living there for years… so you have nothing to worry about! 🙂

  • Susanne
    Posted at 20:04h, 13 November

    #15 reminded me of that ‘Mind your language’ TV series… so funny when it’s not even funny, is it?

  • Restless Cat
    Posted at 20:07h, 13 November

    Love this post 😀
    I never knew that there’s a rivalry between people from South and North London! hahaha

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:19h, 25 November

      Hahah so glad you liked the post! I don’t think it’s a huge rivalry but it’s there 🙂

  • Sarah Elizabeth
    Posted at 20:33h, 13 November

    I LOVE THIS POST. hahaha I’ve never lived in London, but I’ve been living in Ireland fora couple of years so your European and UK references are totally understood and I lived in New York for nearly 5 years…. and the cities are so, so, so similar. Except, try spending $7 on a craft beer – which I know according to the exchange rate is the same price, but it’s painful.

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:20h, 25 November

      So glad you liked the post!! 😀 So interesting, @evaexplores:disqus also highlighted the similarities between London and NYC. I need to visit… SOON!

  • Ashley @ Wandering Weekenders
    Posted at 21:00h, 13 November

    Even though I don’t live in London (and I’ve never been but I’m dying to go!) I can totally relate to the hating to be behind slow people! Can’t they just speed up and move along!

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:19h, 25 November

      Hahah right? Not to be insensitive but… go go gooooo.

  • Claire Wang
    Posted at 22:35h, 13 November

    Been to London once, and was definitely that one tourist that held up an entire crowd of people. Whoops. But I did get pretty good at using the subway. God, I love the tube. I feel like Londoners have no idea how efficient it is until they see the public transport in other cities. Like Boston, I love you, but the T is just a complete sh*t hole, haha.


  • Kay
    Posted at 07:46h, 14 November

    I miss paying only £5 for a pint. 🙁 … They’re more like 8- 10 quid here. Very much looking forward to returning home at Christmas for this reason! 🙂

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:19h, 25 November

      Oh lord!! Where are you based now?

      • Kay
        Posted at 13:27h, 25 November

        … Dubai! 🙂

  • Nathalia Fisher
    Posted at 10:12h, 14 November

    So funny and totally true this article. I live in London for 5 years now. I left and come back. Totally the best place to live ?

    • Sabina
      Posted at 21:20h, 15 November

      Hahah glad you like it! London is… London 😀 It’s got its issues but I still love it!

  • Emma Hart
    Posted at 19:45h, 15 November

    Haha, this article is funny Sabina 🙂 I’ve never lived in London but the idea keeps crossing my mind! Although being squashed between people’s sweaty armpits on the 8am tube makes it slightly less appealing!

    • Sabina
      Posted at 21:18h, 15 November

      Hahah don’t let this rant discourage you! I still love London – these are just some of its worse sides 😀

  • Anna
    Posted at 16:21h, 16 November

    I have only lived in London for 3 months and I can already relate to the majority of these posts. Numbers 1,2,14,19, and 16 are completely spot on, I was laughing out loud reading these thinking of the amount of times I dodged umbrellas, and zoomed past the slowest of walkers on the street. Thank you for sharing these because now I know I am not the only one who thinks it is normal to spend 5 pounds on a beer!

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:18h, 25 November

      Hahah so glad you enjoyed the post Anna!! And glad you agree – London is its own universe sometimes, isn’t it? 🙂

  • Liz @ LizzieMeetsWorld
    Posted at 17:21h, 23 November

    Funny, funny post! I’ve never been to London but now I have a pretty good picture of what it’s like there. Promise if ever I’m there I won’t post like a tourist! (Or not.)

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:18h, 25 November

      Thanks Liz, so glad you found it funny 😀 Haha don’t worry, after living there for several years I was still the annoying tourist!

  • Eva Casey
    Posted at 12:59h, 24 November

    It’s so weird, because I haven’t lived in London ever, but I have lived in NYC and this list could have easily applied to New York! Minus the free museums. Boo.

    • Sabina
      Posted at 13:17h, 25 November

      That’s interesting! I’ve never been to NYC but have always imagined the city would be quite similar to London… Happy to hear it is (in good and bad ways haha)! 🙂

  • Tanja / The red phone box trav
    Posted at 13:37h, 25 November

    Great post! great last photo!

  • andreavytlacilova
    Posted at 00:29h, 24 December

    Já v Londýně bydlím a souhlasím se všemi body. Je to až k nevíře, jak rychle se tohle město dokáže dostat člověku do žil. No better place than London! 🙂 A taky jsem ze severu! haha! North rules!

  • Cinderellas Travel Shoes
    Posted at 18:13h, 16 February

    Haha! 🙂 Great post! I used to live in London for 3 months during summer when I studied at University, however I can fully agree with your list! In my view, you assimilate with London immediately after you get there! 😉

  • The World at My Feet
    Posted at 21:49h, 07 March

    It is so true!! Very well written Sabina! I lived in London for 3 years, now living in Glasgow. How I miss the transports, even tho at the time I would complain… and slow people, why they haven’t invented a separated lane for them? But if you move west and your friends are east, the regular meetings become a once a month kinda thing with a lot of planning and scheduling. But the weather… owh my! If I thought London was bad, Glasgow is worse. Anyway, what made you move to Manchester tho? keep on writing, I’m enjoying reading.
    Andreia x

  • The Spindrifters
    Posted at 06:39h, 27 March

    Haha this is fantastic! I’ve lived in London my whole life before my boyfriend and I decided to leave and travel and all these things remind us of the reasons we love…and hate London!! I always say that as soon as Londoners go underground to the tube they turn into some kind of angry monsters! And, don’t get us started on those slow walkers!! After being on the road for a year now we do, however, really miss those brunches and good old London pubs. It may turn you slightly crazy but London is still one of our favourite cities! Charlotte & Josh x