Are Minnesotans friendly to newcomers?

The Daily Circuit live chat for March 12, 2012

  • The most frustrating thing is when people here will actually say "we should get together..." etc. and then rarely follow up on it.
  • Why should friendship be an instantaneous thing?

    We can be polite to newcomers, but the trust that true friendship requires takes time.

    I've lived in the same neighborhood for ten years and only recently have become friends with some of the neighbors; with one woman in particular because when she fell down and injured herself, she called out to me for help, rather than calling an ambulance.

    Minnesota nice always jumps in in situations like that--and so a friendship was forged--you see, out of circumstance, out of everyday life--not out of egotistical longing to enlarge one's social circle.
    by leahpold edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:20:29 PM
  • I am a semi transplant, lived just north of the cities in 5th-9th grade at which time moved to MI(1984), I moved back in 2000 and in that time have only been able to make a few real friends (other than "work" friends).

    I have always felt "apart" from people who have grown up here and never quite able to penetrate that tight knit shell of people who have already established their group of friends, whom it seems most have been with since elementary school.

    In MN's defense however, I have seen this where I lived in MI as well, even starting school there in 10th grade and living there until the age of 32, there was still a feeling of being an outsider if you were not born and raised there.
    by Chels118 edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:21:05 PM
  • My husband & I moved here with our young son in the summer of 2009.

    It is now the Winter of 2012, and we have finally made a couple of very close friends. We struggled to meet new people, and found that the people most willing to be our friends were transplants as well. By & large, the people who grew up here had already established their group of friends, and did not see a need to increase the size of that group.
    by CMJonas edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:21:21 PM
  • @kerrimpr The reserved nature of Minnesotans unfortunately reinforces this transplant's shyness and introversion #dailycircuit
  • Comment on the live chat, not topic: I wish there was a better way to interact on here. It's a tiny window that does not allow you to "pop-out" and also when you are reading a comment, it automatically moves the page when you are trying to read and then you lose your place! It's super frustrating and hard to interact. It would be great to see this more user friendly. Thx!

    (Ed note: Holly, I'll see what we can do, if anything, about the size of the comment box. we want people to have the room they need to write.)
    by holly edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:22:18 PM
  • After years of trying I was finally invited to a "friend's" house for coffee.

    When I got there she was having a party selling handbags.

    Of course, she didn't mention this fact beforehand. The same thing happened to me a few years ago. I was invited to someone's house for wine and found myself being sold scrapbooking supplies.
    by Heidi Hanson edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:23:37 PM
  • @KerriMPR the trick is marry into a mn family and u have it made
  • @KerriMPR from a mn native: best advice for breaking the mn ice-take advantage of group outings. Going out w/ individual can be intimidating
  • @KerriMPR I've been here for 3 years now. I can count all of my friends on one hand and none are from mn either
  • I would also like to add to my previous comment by noting that my husband & I were the ones to invite other people out for "friend dates" or host events in our homes. We both joined clubs and spent as much time out about at parks & events to meet other people.

    Even with the little family we have here it was difficult to break in with them. (This is connecting to someone else's previous comment about their experience with their MN family.)
    by CMJonas edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:25:15 PM
  • They don't have to be nice - it's a free country. But it is even more wrong for them to be anti-social at every opportunity which arises.
  • No where does anyone care about where you're from than in New England.

    I was born in MN but now live in MA and I've made about 2 friends. I think it has to do with the fact that lots towns here were settled before the Revolutionary War. Also, the odd obsession with Ivy league schools makes it a chilly place.
    by Nikki edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:33:57 PM
  • You don't HAVE to be nice, no, but just because you CAN be cleverly anti-social, doesn't mean you SHOULD be. Just because it isn't illegal, doesn't mean you should do so.

    Some behaviors just aren't right, and I think if these Minnesotans moved to some place where the behaviors were even worse (and it inconvenienced THEM), they would take quick notice, and be embaressed to be like that, and then go OUT OF THEIR WAY to never want to even appear like that ever again.
    by Alex edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:34:22 PM
  • I moved here almost two years ago because of my husband's work. He's originally from the West Coast, I'm from the East Coast, but we had lived in Hawaii for the past six years.

    It was really hard moving here from Hawaii (and not just because of the weather :) - because Hawaii is naturally a transient place and so the folks there (both native and transplants) are welcome to everyone. They don't care where you're from or how long you plan on staying, they are happy just to meet you and spend the time they can with you.
    by JESeymour edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:36:34 PM
  • Here, our only friends are other transplants.

    There's several people from MN that I have connected with from work or other places, but they just don't have the time or see the need for new friendships because they already have their friends and family.

    I'm sure we will continue to slowly make friends, but I have no doubt that it will be with other transplants as we seem to have more in common with them. I found leahpold's comment to be really troubling but consistent with what I've found here...people think you need to know someone for so many years to be good friends with them.

    That's not the attitude in other places across the country and I think that's why transplants in MN struggle. I don't need to build up my friends list to boost my own ego as was suggested in that post, I like to have friends to spend time with, make memories with and to broaden my own life.
    by JESeymour edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:41:06 PM
  • I'm from Washington, DC - moved here 5 years ago.

    This conversation is very true - and very depressing.

    I've lived in Ohio, Colorado, California, Maryland, and Virginia - no place has been tougher to make friends than here.

    I've done it all- meetups, church, volunteering, hosting parties, etc. I finally bought a home in a community with a lot of retirees - very nice people - neighbors who look out for each other. No deep friendships there yet - still working on that. I started a book club meetup - have met some great people that way. As the sang goes, Be the change you wish to see... Good luck all!
    by jodietylermoore edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 5:43:54 PM
  • Moved here 19 years ago with my husband.

    Our first friends were all from out-of-state and from our university alumni club. Having children and moving into an urban neighborhood which at the time was just beginning to see the first clues of gentrification, helped us make more friends, many of whom were natives. We now have some good friends who grew up here (it took about 15 years), but still feel like second-tier friends.

    I am wondering, though, if moving into a city neighborhood and not a suburban one makes it easier to make friends. We all sit on our front porches, and urban people tend to be a little less conventional and more open to the new (experiences and people). Anyway, I'm happy, but still a little lonely.
    by Juliana edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 6:17:49 PM
  • JESeymour:
    How have you gone about meeting other "transplants"?
  • We've been here 5 years and still have no close friends.

    Someone here asked me what my heritage was.

    I was reminded I was an outside with my answer for I was told in a condescending tone, "We're mainly Scandinavian around here." I was asked by another what denomination of church I attend. I was reminded I was an outsider by this person as well for I was told in a condescending tone, "We're mainly Lutheran and Catholic around here."
    by Lynn edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 6:18:18 PM
  • One thing that does seem to work is persistence - go to the same place at the same time and see the same people - and keep being friendly no matter what.

    Keep inviting people over and don't keep score.

    The fact that they come over means they like you - don't look for reciprocity as you'll be disappointed. I started a website and do free workshops for those looking for meaningful connections here - www.planbconnections.com.

    My goals is to help others connect in meaningful ways and I do free workshops here in the Twin Cities on this topic. Just keep at it. :) This is a great place to live - once it feels like home!
    by jodietylermoore edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 6:18:33 PM
  • I spent my 1st 18 years living in Lake St Croix Beach, MN. It was a great place to grow up being close to the Twin Cities but we could still leave our doors unlocked.

    Since then I have moved around the country working on various public lands in Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington etc. My husband grew up near me and made most of the same moves.

    We moved back to MN (central MN) over a year ago, and have found it extremely hard to make new friends. I have brought cookies to all of my neighbors, inviting people to parties, had families over for dinner. Many of these have gone unreciprocated. It's a stark contrast from living in NAtional PArks like we have been with small like minded communities. There are good people scattered here and there though and when we lived in Ely, MN, it felt much warmer.
    by Jen Sobiech edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 6:19:24 PM
  • We moved here from Atlanta, Ga. in 2003.

    I'm originally from Austin, Mn. Grew up there and went to Mankato State before moving to live in the south for 32 years. We decided to return here after retiring and I SO regret it! I have NEVER felt SO lonely in my life!!! We want out, but with the housing issues it won't be easy or soon.

    I have invited people here for supper dozens upon dozens of times and they always say they had a great time, but rarely reciprocate. It has made me feel worthless. Everyone is "nice" but there is NO substance there. The weathr is what they will talk about. I was the Queen of the Red Hatters in Moose Lake when I first got here thinking I could make new friends. After 1 1/2 years I thought it would be good to share something other than the prices at Alco so I asked if everyone wanted to watch Al Gores environmental movie. Afterwards I wanted to discuss it and look at things we could do as a group in educating others. They all went into the kitchen to eat and talke about Alco again.

    I left and NOT ONE PERSON called to see if I was even alive!!! I then joined a church, played cello there for 1 1/2 years and again hoped to find some friendshops of substance, but we left and NOT ONE PERSON has called to see if we are still around and alive. I would virtually have NO ONE if I had an emergency to call. It is a puzzle and very SAD!!! I am SO LONELY. We really hate it up here.
    by Roberta Mistretta edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 7:30:03 PM
  • We moved here 7 years ago and got the warmest reception from our neighbors. It has been difficult to make meaningful friends, but persistence is paying off and I do have a few close friends now. Minnesota is definitely more receptive than Arizona.
  • And all this going on about how great it is; a sign of insecurity to have to keep reiterating one's strong points, it's usually by the one's who never left this god forsaken place, ;)
    by Rue edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 7:30:30 PM
  • I have to agree with leahpold, we are NOT being intentionally rude...native Minnesotans are indeed NICE. Why should friendship be an instantaneous thing?

    We can be polite to newcomers, but the trust that true friendship requires takes time.

    I've lived in the same neighborhood for ten years and only recently have become friends with some of the neighbors; with one woman in particular because when she fell down and injured herself, she called out to me for help, rather than calling an ambulance.

    Minnesota nice always jumps in in situations like that--and so a friendship was forged--you see, out of circumstance, out of everyday life--not out of egotistical longing to enlarge one's social circle.
  • Point being, everyone in the world is very busy nowadays, and if you really have been here your entire life, you DO have an established, TRUSTED circle.

    Likely very little time to run up to every stranger you meet with open arms looking for friendship and validation.

    TRUE friendship takes time and TRUST.

    So while we Minnesotans are kind, helpful and NICE folks, we are not particularly TRUSTING. If you are a transplant, sorry, you'll have to earn our trust and friendship. I would expect no less if I moved elsewhere (and why would I want to?! all my friends and family are HERE!!)
    by TKs edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 7:31:04 PM
  • I grew up here in MN and I suppose I share the regional identity, whatever that may be. "Insular" seems not to be intended in a positive way so I think I'll refrain from claiming that trait.

    This is such a common theme that there must be a fair amount of truth to it, but to be fair some people seem to be bringing a bit of their own baggage to the party. It seems to be considered acceptable for people who are not from MN smile at me and say, "Minnesotans are so passive aggressive!" (It has happened more than once, on one occasion coming from an instructor in a meditation class.) Calling someone passive aggressive is not a compliment or a conversation-starter. It is an insult (I believe that is true anywhere in the world where people understand what it means to be passive aggressive) and insulting people while you are smiling at them is in itself passive aggressive behavior.
    by Valerie edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 10:06:14 PM
  • My family and I have moved around a lot my whole life. We've lived in several different states/countries and have friends and family all over the world.

    We moved to MN nearly 3 years ago, around the time I was starting high school. I'm a theater major at a performing arts school (so obviously I'm not shy) and I've had such a hard time making friends. It's a very small school of performers, you'd think there'd be more outgoing people.

    I have a boyfriend who's from here, but as far as girl friends no such luck. Of course there are the friendly acquaintances but the most I've really gotten is "MAYBE we could hang out sometime" All I can hope for now is to go to college out of state.

    by Samantha edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 10:26:21 PM
  • One other comment - I've noticed Minnesotans tend to be insular even when they're not living here. I've heard there's a part of Arizona, near Tempe, called (by the folks that live there) Minne-zona, proud to be set apart from others.
  • I moved here from Pennsylvania a more than two decades ago. When I first moved here people actually turned and walked away when I tried to start a casual conversation. I mean EVERYONE, not just a notable few. Every conversation at work went to 'you don't know what you're talking about, your from the East Coast.'
  • My husband and I have this discussion all the time. I am from St. Louis and he is from the twin cities area. We always end up hanging out with his friends from high school and not meeting new people.
  • My experience has been that it's not hard to have a conversation or make a connection with people from MN, but when you if you try to make plans with them they have enough friends that they aren't really interested in making time.

    My husband is honestly one of the worst. We counted up friends he had made since college and realized he has only made one friend since then! When I try to make plans with a new couple it is like pulling teeth!
    by Sarah K edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/12/2012 11:20:53 PM
  • I moved to Duluth from Los Angeles 20 years ago. What I discovered is that most people here have extended families in the area, many people grow up and stay here, so they are busy and in no need of other relationships.

    I didn't make one friend until about 8 years ago when I started to attend a Vineyard Church where they encourage people to reach out to others.

    Literally, Thank God.

    So, while I can say that people act nice, they really are not that warm or friendly as a whole.
    by kathleenAH edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/13/2012 12:41:12 AM
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