I spent 3 years in the UK. When I first arrived, I kept bumping into people and doing the left-right-left dance in the halls. I talked to other Americans and they all observed the same thing. I assumed at first, that it was because we always stay to the right in the US and they stay to the left in the UK… So I start paying more attention and notice that, nope they are all over the place, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right… sheesh, why can’t they do it like we do in the States?
So on my very next visit to the states I observe what the American trend is… just to verify… Low and behold, there are no rules we duck and dodge just as much as they do in the UK.
So from this I developed a theory. When walking, we all choose the path of least resistance. Sometimes we’re on the left side of the hall or the sidewalk or whatever… sometimes we’re on the right. Generally, we all tend toward the right on stairs, because we are predominantly right handed and we use the rails to steady ourselves.
So why do we Americans dance so much in he UK? My theory is that we have subtle differences in body language. This seemed to be confirmed when I returned to the US after my three year stint, after becoming acclimated to the UK body language, found myself dancing in the halls here in the US for a week or so.
Anyway - that’s my theory.