MPR News reporter Laura Yuen debuts the first part of her series examining what it means to be a newcomer in Minnesota. In the series, she speaks with transplants from other U.S. cities as well as immigrants. Yuen also looks at how communities react to newcomers including companies, social groups and neighborhoods.
How welcoming is Minnesota? Yuen will join Welcome Matters founder Melanie Allen and University of Minnesota Associate Chair of Sociology Douglas Hartmann to discuss transplants to the state.
The full series: The Outsiders: Is "Minnesota Nice" to Newcomers?
If you’ve moved to Minnesota, was it tough to fit in, make friends and put down roots?
And native Minnesotans, do you feel the state's culture is insular?
I moved here from Scotland in 1994, and it wasnt until around 2000 that I discovered that someone telling you an event was happening, but not actually inviting you, was the invite.
This was a cultural "aha" moment when I realized how many things I had missed. I have good friends now, but they were people who had lived elsewhere and were not typical Minnesotans.
@KerriMPR Moved to Mn 18 yrs ago. Found having small children big ice breaker. Joined a church, parochial sch. community - all kind to us.
@KerriMPR many newcomers like to tell us what we can do to make MN better, more like where they came from, if only you MNs could....
I'm a VERY friendly outgoing person who has always easily made friends. We moved to Rochester from Chicago 12 years ago and I have not been able to connect with more than 1-2 people.
I used to think it was Rochester or was me, but a friend who grew up in SW Minneapolis told me just a couple years ago that it is a "Minnesota Thing". It's depressing. The people who I am "friends" with are either originally from somewhere else or super cool and very outgoing themselves. It's NOT the norm.
Here's a question--I have lived in Minnesota all my life, but will soon be moving to Switzerland.
What advice do others have for me, in terms of what I need to know about "Minnesota-nice-but-distant"-ness in order to head off any issues *I* might face in making friends? (In the meantime, I will be much more cognizant and actively welcoming of newcomers!)
Kevin said on our live chat:
"Of course some Minnesotans are very welcoming, and some are not.
But Minnesota has an unusually high level of state cohesiveness. Minnesotans are proud of their state, and each other, and they tend to stick together.
Also, there are a lot of activities that are part of the culture in Minnesota that aren't as common in other states. Hockey. Hunting. Hanging out by the lake up north. Not being into those activities makes it hard to break into the inner circles."
Alison said: "Maybe it depends on how outgoing you (the outsider) are. I'm not from MN (not that you could tell), but I don't sit around waiting for others to include me. In my experience, if you make an effort to show interest in others they will most likely show interest in you, MN native or not."
"I think the level of acceptance in any place is based on the number of transplants in that area. There are relatively few here; consequently, people aren't very nice."
Guest Melanie Allen.
Speaking as a native, I feel a small twinge of shame when spending time unproductively.
Socializing is time spent unproductively, with witnesses. Even when socializing with my own family, we need a project to ward off feelings of sloth and frivolity.
Whew, does this ring true! I moved here in 1998. Took a LONG time to make friends.
Having moved from Texas, that was a shock. People here have their family, their school friends, their college friends. They are nice, but they don't need your friendship.
Minnesota Nice is a myth... probably cooked up by the chamber of commerce, or Time magazine. We tend to be more reserved here, but that is an aspect of northern cultures around the globe, in general. End of story :)
I moved here from Milwaukee 7yrs ago and it was very difficult to get to know people. I'd still say most of my friends are transplants themselves.
Editor's note: We conducted a poll on our blog. 69% of the respondents said Minnesotans are not friendly to transplants.
I moved here in elementary school and as a dark haired , brown eyed kid from the east , I stood out from the blondes, plus I had no cousins etc here, so I alwasy felt like an outsider.
I moved out of state for 6 years after college and when I came to the TC , I totally experienced again as an adult this social phenomenon. My husband and I have been here 13 years now and all of our friends are people not from MN!
Chuck wrote on our blog:
"As a Minnesotan, I believe "Minnesota Nice" is a synonym for passive aggressive, a way to avoid confrontation but still trying to get a point across. In our defense, we folks of northern European descent are not noted for wearing our emotions on our sleeves.
"On the other hand, to tar all of us as distant is probably not fair either. On the third hand, I can definitely see a problem with trying to break into longtime groups; I have had that problem myself. But is that really unique to Minnesota? At any rate, on behalf of the natives, I apologize to all those who have felt slighted and held at arm's length. Don't give up! But don't necessarily wait for us to make the first move either."
I moved here 16 years ago. We did have a tough time at first, which was made more difficult by having a child in our first year.
However, between ECFE classes for new parents and a new job, we met people who were welcoming.(One of my old coworkers has become one of my best friends.)
Regardless, the overall culture can be tough for the new person for at least a few years.
As a Minnesotan who was born out of state, but grew up here this conversation makes me sad.
I hate to think that the Minnesota I am so proud to live in isn't more welcoming. What can we do differently?
Joanna wrote: "I've lived here for three years this month...and unfortunately, I cannot wait to move. I have never had a problem making friends any place that I have lived or traveled to. I am outgoing and positive. I find it easy to find common ground with others....not here. I have tried so many different things to find my "niche" (clubs, meetups, classes, online forums, school, dog clubs, craigslist...you name it!) and I have found nothing but non-committal folks that aren't open to making new friends.
If the topic of me being an "outsider" (I HATE that word) comes up and I express that I don't like it here, those that are from here take immediate defense and basically say, "Well, if you don't like it, get out. We don't want you here anyway." OUCH! Not ONCE has someone said, 'Wow, I'm sorry for your experience. How about you let me show you the Minnesota that I know and love?'"
I remember moving into the dorms at the U of M in 2004 and realizing everyone on my floor from MN had friends from high school coming to campus with them and when it came time to go get lunch in the dining hall I'd often find myself alone watching my floormates at tables that probably didn't look too different from their high school lunch room.
I did end up making good friends at school but they were mostly transplants from WI (like myself). It seemed crazy to me to move to Minneapolis for school only to make friends with people who grew up less than an hour from my hometown!
It's not just Minnesota. We ran into the same thing when we moved to Columbus, Ohio in the mid-70's. I was always left with the feeling, "It's nice to meet you but I don't need another friend."
Tough crowd for sure!
Have lived many places and this is the most difficult place to get connected. I need to join that League of EW group! Just joined your book club to meet people too!
Originally from 'friendly Manitoba', and previously lived in New Jersey before moving to Minnesota.
I did find it difficult initially to make friends, as compared to gregarious New Jersey. But once I reached out to my reserved Minnesota colleagues and neighbours, and they became familiar, I have no doubt that Minnesotans are welcoming and 'nice'. Just have to be patient!
Scott from the blog: "I have found Minnesotans to be very distant and non-committal. It has been extremely hard to breakthrough and make any friends. Since we don't have family here it has been very challenging especially around the Holidays. I'm happy to see this study - to know that I'm not crazy!
In New York (where I'm from), you know where you stand with others - I have learned that "Minnesota Nice" is another way of saying Passive Aggressive.
@KerriMPR 2003 transplant, met my best friends at a Twins game in '04. Minnesotans I know are shocked at that story
People who have "never been anywhere" can be found anywhere. There are many people who have never been outside of Astoria, Queens @KerriMPR
Moved here 3 and 1/2 years ago from North Carolina knowing NO ONE. We had small kids, and hosted countless playdates and dinner parties. People would graciously accept our invitation, but hardly anyone would reciprocate. These days, our closest friends are other transplants.
I grew up in the heart of Southern hospitality, and when comparing to Minnesota Nice, I can honestly say that Minnesotan's are not the most hospitable. But, Southern hospitality is shallow, as are many "friendships," while my friendships here have become deep and lifelong.
What are outsiders looking for? Give some specifics. So coffee and going out to lunch isn't enough? Do you need to be invited to my house?
I married a Minnesotan, and we were not invited into other people's homes for dinner for about 2 years. I think Minnesotans have lives full of family and friends, and have no room for outsiders. Especially since they tend to live here their whole lives with the possible exception of time away for college.
@KerriMPR MNtans are NICE just not overly hospitable. I'm from SC-totally different! You are practically bff with store clerks there.
People who have "never been anywhere" can be found anywhere. There are many people who have never been outside of Astoria, Queens @KerriMPR
The younger you are the more open your peers will be to bringing you in.
Lived in Twin Cities whole life except for 2 years in Chicago for grad school. Chicago was so open to outsiders, close to the best 2 years of my life.
Wish MN wasn't so stoic and closed.
I can empathize with transplant's like yourselves coming to MN, now that I have moved away for a while and returned, it was not very welcoming.
Having lived in places as far apart as Florida and Seattle, Minnesota is uniquely unfriendly in some ways.
20-year transplant. All friends still other transplants.
@KerriMPR -I grew up here & don't believe in "MN nice" MN isn't nicer than avg & every day I'm reminded how selfish & self absorbed ppl r
.@kerrimpr Oh, I totally agree with the last caller! The passive-aggressive nature of Minnesotans is impossible. I gave up long ago.
I have lived here since 1999, and while I was working I had people with whom I was friendly at work, but only at work.
I managed to make one friend at church, but that was very superficial. My daughter graduated from St. Olaf, where she made lots of friends whom she still sees because so few of them have moved from MN.
From Eric on the blog: "I'm not A Minnesotan,I am thee Minnesotan.
I am a farm raised blue collar Swedish Lutheran Democrat. I haven't made a new friend since I was 5. I've married 2 girls I went to grade school with.
I love to hear a relative is coming for a visit,and I love to hear the exact date they will be leaving.If you are new in town,you and your children will always be new in town.I'm not sure about your grandchildren."
I am from iowa and came to the twin cities for college.
I have been here on/off for 7 years.
There are two distinct qualities that the cities in particular has: 1. no one ever leaves. people grow up here, go to college here, and live here forever.
I have moved around, and yes Minnesota is hard, but the hardest place to make connections for us was in Research Triangle Park, Raliegh, North Carolina, where in my husbands first week at work was asked 'you know the difference between a yankee and a damn yankees?
A yankee goes home' Minnesota is a little harder but if you dig deeper you find life long friends
Grew up here; left for 30 years; came back 4 years ago and still have not found more than one friend (who sadly just moved away).
I do not have a house, a husband, or a child so I do not fit in with the women I work with. Moved here from San Francisco where I had no problem making friends with people in all age groups. People have actually told me I'm just too 'non Minnesota'!
I'm a MN native and have lived on the East Coast, Paris, Milan and Hong Kong.
I returned to MN 6 years ago. I understand the MN culture and also know that I need to create my own life. It's very interesting who let's you back into theirs once you've live elsewhere and you return to their world.
In addition to the previous comment, I can say that coming from New Jersey, there was some culture shock. When extending oneself for friendship and being rebuffed subtly, you think there's something wrong with you!
For years I hosted an open-invite wine night and anyone was welcome. Friends would bring their friends or acquaintances, and I even got a few neighbors to stop by.
It was very informal, more of a wine potluck, and the transplants would make similar comments about it being rare to be invited to someone's home and Minnesotans being hard to start friendships with.
It was a lot of fun, but I will say that I was rarely (maybe once or twice) ever invited out by the attendees, that is to say there was no reciprocity.
I think Minnesotans need reciprocity to make real friendships. Also, i think we're faithful. Once we make friends, we tend to keep them for a very long time. Hence we don't feel the need to go out and make more all the time.
It can be hard to break into a new circle even if you are a native Minnesotan. After my divorce - my ex and i had all the same friends since high school - I found it very difficult to make new friends.
I moved here from Chicago and got married to someone from Thief River Falls. I always say to people...."People in Minnesota are nice but not friendly. People in Chicago are friendly but not nice."
I have desperately tried to make friends with no luck at all. People are too involved in their families in my opinion. I have never been invited to someone's house when the entire family was not their as well.
There is nothing more classically Minnesotan than the measure humility but ultimately smug self-congratulations of the piece of reporting that began this segment of the show.
I've lived in MN all my life, but came to a time when most of my friends/family moved away, got married, etc.
I joined a group for "newcomers, and those who want to meet new people" which was great, I met some great friends however, eventually, the folks who started the group moved on and somewhere along the way I found myself "in charge" of setting up gatherings.
Many people (newcomers included) who joined this group didn't want to ever make an effort to show up to events, and complained about the meetups, but also would never make a suggestion (I begged for suggestions, offered my house as a place to meet etc.) on what they would want to do instead. Very frustrating.
I had to let the group go, because many businesses do not want to set aside tables for a group of people and only get 1 or 2 people to show up. It's not just the minnesotans!
As native MN i moved back. I found after 5 years in NC there was no room for understanding difference of lifestyle or opinion. if your religion or politics didn't agree, people would simply never speak to you again.
Coffeeshop conversation allow you to time to like and be familar with a person as they reveal the pleasures and differences of themselves and their culture. Yeah, the fabulous acceptance generated by Minnesota nice!!
I was born and raised in a Minneapolis suburb. I lived in Cincinnati, OH for 3+ years before moving back to Minneapolis.
Locals in Cincy were generally quite unfriendly. I had a large group of friends in Cincy comprised entirely of transplants. Upon moving back to mpls, I've now experienced this same phenomenon in my own hometown!
Sure, old friends and family are here but I haven't made many "new" friends (people from outside of old networks). I will offer my friendship to any non-terrible transplants I meet this spring!
You are putting too much importance on being from outside MN.
Minnesotans generally are reserved and take a long time to let people in, even with other Minnesotans. We just don't expect any different so it isn't a big deal.
Minnesotan's don't like to be too aggressive, because they don't want to seem to needy.
I have been born and raised in MN but moved out to East Coast for 3 years and then moved back. I did feel the East Coast to be welcoming but opinionated.
Thanks for this show....I've lived here since 1994 when I was 32 years.
Besides my husband I have no friends.
It has impacted my work, where there simply is no curiosity about previous out of state work or education experiences. Minnesotan frame of reference is completely insular and not very sophisticated. The radio is my best friend--MPR is MN's greatest strength.
As a transplant/immigrant I've found that if you can find a way into a group in MN (like a church, or a marriage) they are really friendly, but without one of those gateway groups it's really difficult.
From Doug on the Daily Circuit blog: "I'll admit that I'm not friendly to newcomers. To be frank, I really don't want them here. One of your guests said that she is originally from Texas.
"I can envision nothing more horrifying than Minnesota being overrun by texans; or any other confederates for that matter. Everyone who wasn't born here really need to return to wherever they came from."
Its not just an issue that effects newcomers. I was born and raised in saint Pa
OMG! I was born & raised in MN and this discussion is so true but I never realized it.
There are some new poeple from out of state at my company that I should so be inviting for dinner! Thanks for opening my eyes!
When I interviewed for a job here in 2003, I was warned about how hard it could be to break into groups of friends.
I happened to meet 3 great guys at the Twins home opener in '04; they're some of my best friends now.
I also wonder how much the Minnesota winter hibernation instinct increases the time it takes to get to know people or create community?
There is one glaring omission here - Minnesota Nice is only one local idiosyncrasy.
The other is Minnesota Passive Aggressive, which is extremely off-putting to newcomers, even those who, like me, are from other parts of the Midwest!
I can't say enough about my ECFE classes. My best friends here are the other transplants and natives that took the same preschool "mom's class". My kids are now 8 and 11.
Consider commenting on how many universities do Minnesotans generally quote and how many Minnesotans go out of state to college!
Life long Minnesotan, moved from St. Paul to Duluth 4 years ago and it took 3 years to make some new friends but personally I don't have a problem with our lack of openness.
I think we have enough people here!
I moved back to MN after living out 10 east and overseas for 10 years.
Even I found it pretty insular on returning. In the sense that everyone had moved into their own worlds and opening the door to readmit wasn't something done easily or lightly.
I like to connect with neighbors but find it difficult to really go beyond a greeting in many cases. While living in VA however, getting together and interacting with others was easier than it has ever been here. I do think it is an insular culture; I know that's a judgement that many would find offensive but its coming from a returning native daughter who has seen the otherside.
Ask vs. Guess culture. Asking someone over to dinner places a burden on them to accept the invitation so you want to be sure they'll actually want to come to dinner before you ask.
Have to disagree with the caller re: san francisco!
Loved it there...we made many friends there who are now like family; love this conversation...it's making me smile to know that I am not alone! :)
I was brn and raised in MN and have experienced this.
I joined the army and spent numerous years outside of the state and country. When I returned I found the natives while nice were reserved.
I find myself getting along with transplants better than I do with natives. MN's while be nice to a point, they have to get to know you before you are invited in. I have friends that have never left the state much less the country. While I'm a son of the state sometimes the MN Nce mentality irritates me in that is nice to a point then your a stranger.
Maybe this is a meet half way kind of thing?
Why can't newcomers invite Minnesotans?
I'v e never had an occasion to feel sorry for MPR hosts before. Come on over to my house for dinner; we're having curry!
Two things: 1. try being self employed, working from home! I'm never going to meet anyone! 2. Minnesota nice? Try 2 miles on I-94 and that will be proven hysterically wrong. Ugh.
Moved here from DC. As a late-twenty-something in DC everyone wanted to meet everyone else, because the city was so "transitory."
New, solid friends every week. Here? Late-twenty-somethings are married and having kids!
I moved here six years ago after college in Wisconsin and was surprised how many of the friends I made here are from other states and the ones who are Minnesota natives seem quite insulated.
I am a Minnesota Native. I am very direct and open and inviting. Maybe that's why I feel like I'm on Mars sometimes.
Here's the deal, most of us are scandinavian and we are nearly as "chilly" with each other as we are with transplants.
Also, we don't befriend new folk right away because who knows how quickly they'll leave again?
It could also be more of a conservative culture; here in MN (contrasting to the coasts) it seems that if you're over 25 and not married, you're suspect.
I 2nd the comment from your guest regarding what we (transplants) are looking for. Most of us are looking for a full life OUTSIDE of work.
I am from Mexico. I have never experienced a more welcoming place. I lived in Spain before I moved here and I really felt the difference. It depends where you have lived before. Minnesota has been for me a welcoming place. I have a lot of good local friends.
I grew up here and came back a little over three years ago from LA after being gone for about 12 years or more and find it really difficult to make connections business-wise or socially.
I will be putting my house up for rent and going back to LA, this place is an overrated insular self-obsessed bubble of delusion....now I know why I left all those years ago.
Thank you for this show. I grew up in the NYC area and was horribly lonely here for years.
In part, it was because of my own shyness, which I blamed entirely for quite a long time given the superficial friendliness of so many here, but it gradually became clear that it wasn't just me. More than 20 years later almost all my friends are still transplants.
People don't get invited to houses, they get invited to the lake or out on the boat to break the friendship barrier.
I have a very few friends who are Minnesotan; most are from other countries and cultures.
Minnesotans not only are "reserved" as you speak of, have their own circles of ancient friends and family -- but worse -- many tend to pathologize other cultures. Hold their own as knowing the "correct" values and ways to do things, and while they "enjoy" other cultures -- the food or music, the dance or perhaps how lovely the women are, or how "exotic" the men are, they really do not have a clue about how to truly connect to a whole person and culture.
And they are terrified -- if you do not speak in a monotone, if you move your hands when you speak or are animated - they assume "Danger"!!!
They can have meetings about diversity till the cows come home, but there is work that needs to be done within to really get the background, the context, the history, of what makes people who they are.
Part of the problem is the amnesia about their own history and the source of this "quality of life" on this land that was taken in such an awful way. In any case, even as a writer, one with recognition elsewhere, I have found this place very unwelcoming> I AM very welcomed by people in various communities, the Middle Eastern community, the latino community, etc., and the Minnesotans that do transcend this stuff are pure gold and irreplaceable, beautiful beings.
I've lived in MN for 18 years, and still wrestle with Minnesota indirection.
When I meet someone, they most often do not as 'Where are you from?".
Instead they ask "Are you from here?" (emphasis on the 'from').
Native Minnesotan. Definitely aware of what this is like! Moved from Mpls to a very small town in the middle of Nowhere. I've been here for 4 years. I think I've met one neighbor.
Some of us native MN don't like passive aggressive behavior either.
I grew up in ND and have lived in MN for seven years.
It's true! People are very insulated here and their radius is very small. They are nice and well-intentioned, but it's difficult for people like me who see there is a whole world out there beyond MN and its lakes!!
I've read and heard a number of comments about being invited to people's homes.
I'm a native Minnesotan, and since leaving school, I don't go to people's houses all that often. I wonder if part of the transplant experience is related to differing expectations.
I've always felt it was difficult to get into a new place myself, both when I moved briefly to Washington state and when I moved to Wisconsin for a few years. Maybe that is because I'm a fairly reserved Minnesotan, like so many of us.
We thought we *were* moving back to the MidWest but this is nothing like anything I experienced in Illinois or Iowa.
It has been over a year and a half and we are only just now starting to get to know people - and those transplants like us.
I'm from here - born and raised in central Minnesota and Duluth - and I'm fully aware of how hard it is to integrate into the MN social structure.
But I've experienced it myself because, unlike many others, I *didn't* stick with only friends from my youth. I've found over the years that, just like the transplants are saying, my friends are from my various jobs, many are themselves transplants, and all of my relationships have been with men from out of state. As a co-worker once said to me: it's amazing we Minnesotans are able to procreate!
Nice people until they get behind the wheel.....then Minnesota nice go out the window and became a Minnesota nightmare...
Yes, I moved to MN from WA state over three years ago and still have yet to make a REAL friend. I tell my friends and family back home in WA that it's not "Minnesota nice, it's Minnesota passive-aggressive"....
What I thought was crazy when I moved here was the amount of pride people had. It seemed like everywhere I turned people thought that the Twin Cities were "God's gift to urban living".
I've not been here almost three years, and love it, but the idea that this place was better than all others was a little off putting when I first arrived.
I'm a native and I don't like people in general.
I try to be pleasant to people, but prefer to be left alone. Don't feel bad if I don't invite you to my house; I don't invite anybody to my house.
I'm a native Minnesotan and have lived here all of my life. I find the same sense of isolation even when you move from community to community within Minnesota.
The important question that I would like to see addressed is "why" this is the case.
As a native Minnesotan, I've often thought about inviting folks to my home, but I feel like it has to be up to a certain standard of housekeeping (which it isn't on a daily basis) and so I don't invite because I don't want folks to think poorly of my housekeeping.
This is a theme that has been perpetrated through the generations of Lutheran women :/
@ Meghan Holmes - exactly how I feel, too - coming from the West Coast
I got divorced 3 years ago and moved to a different suburb, i find it very hard to make new friends people are very stuck in their old groups and dont really like to let new people in
I grew up in the Twin Cities and spent 10 years on both the East Coast and West Coast, and came back to my hometown to raise my kids.
I found that just going to Target or the grocery store is a much more friendly and pleasant experience here than anywhere else in the country because of the Minnesota Nice.
But, it is true that I have a hard time reaching out to make new friends, which I feel is culturally how I was raised here in Minnesota.
I had to learn how to make eye contact with people. Like the joke, "How do you know a Norwegian Bachelor Farmer likes you? He is looking at your feet, instead of his!"
Only in the upper Midwest is it considered normal to say "Not too bad" when asked, "How are you?" Anywhere else people become concerned.
I was born in a very small farming town in SE Minnesota and moved to town to go to the U of MN. I now live in St. Paul.
I am married to a non-Minnesotan and most of my friends are non-Minnesotans.
I am aware of the problem, but I'll admit I don't really do anything about it. One thing I do want to say is that this problem isn't specific to non-Minnesotans. I grew up here, but when I am in new situations (a new job for example) I can't make friends either.
I smile and say hello to everyone I pass. I can acutally say I really have no close friends just people I know.
As a Minnesotan living in New England, I can tell it can always be worse.
Be happy that you get a smile or a warm greeting or an opportunity to chat with a store clerk because me and my family are ignored, excluded and viewed with suspicion.
People see me and either scowl or angrily look away.
I'm told book clubs are full.
My son's friends are told by their parents that the new kid is not welcome at the birthday party.
Do you still want to complain about Minnesota nice?
I moved here from Texas in 1990. Because my husband is from Duluth.
I can totally relate to this conversation. I just don't think you'd understand this issue unless you've left the state and known what it's like to be the new kid in town.
I think there is some fear of allowing new people into your circle in Minnesota. In Texas if transplants come into the neighborhood, they are made to feel very welcome. Not so much here.
I think race plays a part more than we want to admit. Married to a blue collar white guy I am a stay at home mom and I would often get questioned at family gatherings about whether I had a job yet.
While other members of the family had the same situation werent questioned. Being from the bay area I always respond very openly. Still there is often tension underneath the smiles. Awkward.
When I moved to greater MN from WI, we visited our neighbors in the valley who told us about our other neighbors who were "new", who had moved into the valley 20 years ago.
Yikes! We knew we would never be "from" MN!
I have also noticed that most of my friends are not native MNs, and those who are have spent significant time away from the state.
Tom just hit the nail on the head re: after-work. Go to happy hour. Make it last longer than an hour!
I've lived in MN 33 years and find the "MN Nice" a positive, aspirational, euphonism that in discourse we might be more polite. As opposed to making friends aka "frozen chosen"
People only have so much time and so many transplant are only temporary before they transplant again.
Time invested in relationship is lost.
I don't think that this is just happening to transplants, I've lived here all my life and when all my high school friends got married its been really difficult to make new friends.
So as a native I can totally sympathize.
Juteveson is right!
Tom, you are welcome to come over to my house. I'll have a couple of other people over so you can make several friends. :)
I graduated from Carleton over 10 years ago and have lived in the Twin Cities ever since.
I thought that -- even though I came from out of state -- by going to a recognized MN school that I might have at least some "insider" status, but I haven't found that to be the case.
In the more than 10 years that I've lived here, my wife is my only true MN friend. And it's not that I don't try. I've done theater, I am a practicing visual artist; I'm not a total hermit. But I've been trying for 6-8 months to set up a dinner-date with two separate MN "friends" and all I've gotten are empty promises. It's ridiculous!
I am a native Minnesotan, moved away for college + 2 internships, and have moved back with my transplant boyfriend.
For whatever it's worth, I'm very direct and hate passive-aggressiveness, which has occasionally rubbed natives Minnesotans the wrong way. But on the other hand, I work with a person with classic "Minnesota Nice" who is originally from Maryland.
Grew up in Duluth and all my friends are transplant what does that say.
But i really want to comment or the relationship of MN native white and people of color.
i observe that in general white people are more accepting and accommodating of people of color from other nations then black people from North Mpls. You?
Not able to make real friends has real consequences.
When our second child was born we decided on a scheduled induction in part due to the fact that after having lived here nine years there was no one that we would be able to call in the middle of the night to stay with our older son.
Even growing up in Minnesota one can feel like an outsider.
I grew up on a small farm in Southeastern MN, my graduating class had 32 students. When moving back I found that even being gone a year I feel like an outsider. Former school mates will just walk right past without even a hello.
When I moved back to Mn I played up being new to Minneapolis and down played that I was from here.
I zero'd in on other "transplants."
I'm a native that was transplanted out, then back in.
I went to college in WI, then lived in CA for 3 years, and now I'm back.
I think that the culture here is so saturated with individualism that we subconsciously think of wanting close relationships with people as a form of weakness.
It's odd that I never noticed it before leaving, but now I see it everywhere. We get busier in Minnesota, we don't make more friends.
I am a twin cities native in my early twenties.
The exclusivity of the cities has become very apparent to me in recent years when my interests have shifted and I've been desiring new friends. My group of friends is comprised almost solely of people I've know for a minimum of four years, I've known many since I was in elementary school. In the past couple years I've made several attempts to branch out and meet new people but it never goes beyond small talk.
Ive heard that the cities are very cliquey but I never believed it until I tried to make new friends.
Minnesota nice is more Minnesota "I'll talk to you because it'd be more awkward if I ignored you but please don't expect anything real to stem from this".
I grew up in Madison, WI and lived in the cities for several years.
I thought it was great, but then I got a job in Lindstrom, MN, and had a major culture shock!
These swedish people are even more closed, quiet and withdrawn than those in the cities.
It's been hard to navigate and figure out because no one ever tells you their true opinion on anything substantial.
Oh, BP, I can relate! When my second child was born, it was the only night my husband and I had away since the first child was born four years earlier...no family in town, no one to keep your kid!
I do sometimes say to someone, "Are you new here?"
If they say yes, I then apologize for the weather, or our backwards ways, or some other MNidiosyncracsy. It's a matter of letting the other know WE know our shortcomings.
As a native I think it is an issue of the central creed of a Minnesotan- Never inconvenience anyone, ever.
If I ask you to my house I am putting you in a position where you might feel obligated to come over.
Remember, one of the heroes of this state is the boy who got his arms amputated by a combine. He was courteous enough to stand in the tub while waiting for help so as not to bleed on this mother's carpet...
This doesn't just apply to new-comers!
Every time you have a life change, you become a 'transplant'. When you get married, your single friends tend to fade and when you have kids, your childless friends tend to fade.
It's hard to stay 'integrated' and a Minnesota-Lifer!
As a native Minnesotan who travels internationally a lot every time I return to Minnesota, I have to remind myself that I need to reach out to others a lot more here than I would in other locations.
The friendships can last a long time, even with breaks in between.
Hmong and Somalis settle in Twin Cities because the Department of State designated this area as a place for refugees.
Also, new refugees must have family connections to be allowed to move to the Twin Cities.
I can relate, because I moved from rural MN and left childhood friends.
My husband and I felt alone for 20 years. All that changed when I joined the dance community.
Now I have a place to go every night and I have people over to my house every week. We see lots of people who have been displaced either by moving or divorce, and we welcome them!
This is a great discussion and radio show - BUT what are the solutions to making meaningful relationships other than leaving the state?
I have been here since 1981 and still feel an outside. My wife and I spent lots of energy and take lots of "risks" to meet people, but our hit rate is so low.
So what are the techniques to either (1) give up on Minnesotans or (2) find a way to find non-Minnesotans? Or some other plan... thanks for highlighting this "unspeakable" issue.
What still sets me apart from the native population is my upbringing addressing adults as "Ma'am" and "Sir". So many native take this as an affront when I'm just being courteous and polite.
I've lived in 12 other states.
Never came across what my daughter calls "Minnesota Mean" before.
When we moved in I invited all my neighbors over for dinner because of a disability it is too difficult to go to there houses. Guess what... no one came.
Since then the only conversations with my neighbors are when they are complaining about something I did in fixing up the old farm we bought. I am still nice to them and bite my tongue but cannot wait to move out of MN for good. I will not miss the hatefulness around my community toward my daughter and myself.
I grew up in the Twin Cities and moved to Southern MN.
It is very hard to fit in and make friends. I married a native of Southern MN. So much of this conversation rings true! Most of my friends are outsiders or have left the rural community and have outside life experience and then moved back.
I grew up in Minneapolis and moved to Seattle for 7 years after college.
When I moved back her two years ago I noticed that everyone is still friends with the same groups of people they were friends with in high school.
It has been difficult for me because I've changed and have no interest in resorting back to high school life.
Im a South Dakota transplant to Minneapolis.
All Minnesotans think it is called "The Dakotas", even though they have relatives there.
Hence, a great majority of all my friends are from South Dakota.
We moved from NE to MN in 2000 and noticed immediately that people seemed less outgoing.
We laughed at the whole "MN nice" thing, thinking it should be more accurately "MN cold". This isn't true of everyone we met, but we certainly noted a difference. It took us 2 years or more before we actually had people we could call true "Minnesota friends".
To be fair, you have to make an effort to get to know new people, but I was fairly shocked at the general tepid/lack of response to "hellos", "good mornings" and other polite greetings or invitations to hang out.
That being said, I think the trend toward being insular is, unfortunately, a country-wide epidemic.
I agree with what they're saying right now about needing to reach out to people when you move here.
I think making friends as an adult is challenging wherever you may live. It might be a little awkward at first but there's no way to make an instant best friend. I go out and do thinks I like, and anytime I am talking to someone I like I ask them on a "friend date".
It takes time to make it a comfortable friendship but I've made some awesome new friends that way!
@Jason McGrath Hilarious comment Jason.
I'm a Minnesota native in my mid-twenties.
Shortly after high school, I started to expand my interests and found it extremely difficult to make new friends.
Over the years, I've realized that I don't have a lot of typical Minnesota habits. As such, I CANNOT stand Minnesota Nice. It's simply a code-word for passive-agressive.
This translates to how job seeking goes - I was told when I interviewed with big law firms that one of their top priorities was knowing you were going to stay, but the way it was imparted inferred that they preferred people with "roots" here.
This conversation goes hand-in-hand with the diversity issue.
I live in a very diverse neighborhood in South Mpls... this neighborhood pats itself on the back because of this and the neighborhood email listserv is full of messages congratulating each other for this diversity.
But is anyone lined up at the temporary Saturday-afternoon taco stand or hitting the smaller "ethnic" restaurants nearby? NO.
I'm a native to MN, but have lived in CO, UT, KS. It was difficult to make new friends in these states, especially KS.
Yes we MN natives are more introverted and feel closer to family then perhaps transplants in the beginning. Here in Duluth when I meet transplants I try real hard to be welcoming (invite to my home, etc).
Try going to Ely sometime.....talk about being chilly.
I get frustrated with the Minnesota pride (that sometimes comes off as sense of superiority) by people who have never even lived outside of the state.
I hail from kind and humble South Dakota and have lived lots of places.
Lived in Sweden for a year, THEY are reserved! Made life long friends there, but I realized why Minnesotans are reserved...
the evolutionary analogy doesn't necessarily apply to other areas of the country - Washington state born and raised and a MN transplant, I can honestly say that people from WA state typically go out of their way to make people from outside the area welcome.
UNLESS you're from California, then not so much. :) Washingtonians blame Californians for the high cost of living in western wa
Moved here seven years ago. Have lived all over the country.
Never has it been harder to make friends.
Have never been to a place where people don't call you back. Trying hard to give Duluth a chance but as a local friend told me, "MN nice is nice to your face until you walk out the door and we can talk behind your back." Glad to hear that others are experiencing this and it's not just my imagination.
A couple years ago after meeting a new neighbor from Jamaica, another woman and I started a "New to Duluth" potluck and invited lots of people, who all said it was a good idea.
The day of the potluck, NO ONE showed up, including the woman for whom we envisioned it...
After living in a southwest MN town for 30 years, I said to some natives that if I died here they would put on my tombstone, "He was almost one of us."
I was able to fit in, thank goodness I re-imprinted intelligently within the nature loving Minneapolis, Twin Cities and the U of M area. Minnesota is one of the best places in the States to live.
Grew up in the Twin Cities and now living in Rhode Island. I'm used to having a small group of people I know really well, and I feel out of place when looking at others who seem to have huge social circles
I developed a website that may be of interest to other transplants like myself who have found it hard to build a social life here.
I am a Washington DC transplant - moved here in 2007. My website is www.planbconnections.com
Native Minnesotan who has lived in 10+ states and came back, yes I'm finding it depressing how hard it is to make new friends, thank God I have great family and old friends here!
One thing I will say, as a cold weather place, everyone is at their best in Minnesota when it's cold outside and you're broken down on the roadside.
I've lived here 30 years and been married 28 years. My Norweigion in-laws still take a Christmas photo of just the family members born in Minnesota...
The Providence comment resonates; I often tell newcomers that Minnesotans don't have casual friends.
We have very deep, loyal relationships which is a good thing. I also am not really comfortable with acquaintances.
Everyone I know is someone I could call in the middle of the night for an emergency. This may make it difficult for new people because it means your road to friendship may be a long one.
A few months after I moved here, a friend of a friend who's from St. Paul but no longer lives here told me about the MN 'Rule of Three'.
The way it goes is that something has to be offered three times before it should be taken as genuine...i.e. if you are invited to go for coffee "sometime" you shouldn't really expect to go unless the invitation is repeated two more times.
@jodietylermoore Thanks! I'll take a look
Having kids does not make it easier. No native Minnesotan understands how isolating it is. They have a whole family network of us
@Robert Learn to dance! You have to not only be in the same room with others, but touch them as well! You'll meet lots of people.
If I talk up the Great Arch Bridge, take someone there and he/she doesn't think it's such a big deal (or the pork chops)
THEN what do I say/do?
I've exposed my simplicity/lack of sophistication etc. AND we're BOTH made uncomfortable by my gesture.
I moved here in 1995 from a small Western Kentucky town with my two children.
I made friends very easily. I found the people here be a lot more up front than what I had been accustomed to. People were GREAT to me. At my work I made friends we were doing happy hours every Friday!!
Ladies in my apt complex showed me the ropes; we are still close friends to this day. I LOVE MN! This is my home I would never leave!!
It certainly goes both ways - as a Minnesota exile living out West, it can be difficult to adjust to outspoken, proud people.
Lived here over twenty years, raised four children here, when the last one graduates from high school this year we will pack up and leave.
The children have made friends due to school experiences, but my husband and I have 'never' felt accepted. The close friends we have made are all from other states.
Native Minnesotan who has lived in several National Parks around the country and moved back to MN a year ago. I'm finding it very difficult to make friends apart from old friends I already had and family members.
I go out of my way to have neighbors and people i meet at my kids' school over for dinner and it seems like most of them do not reciprocate.
It's getting slightly better but I haven't found it this difficult anywhere else except for maybe eastern Illinois when we were living by the St Louis Arch. I have heard people say that Minnesotans are hard to make friends with but once you do, they are friends for life.
Churches are OK as long as you have kids. If you don't have kids they don't know what to do with you. And I'm from MN!
To all Transplants: Welcome and while you're trying to connect, enjoy our wonderful MPR station! It'll give you some talking points to pry us open!
Minnesota exceptionalism may also be do in part to the fact that apparently geography of the US is never taught on the coasts. I told a college friend I was from Minnesota and she asked "What state is that in?"
I've lived here all my life--I don't think you can generalize that Minnesotans beat around the bush--you find all sorts of personalities wherever you go.
I'm a native Minnesotan, living in Chile, and I have to say that I can see both sides of the coin.
I've been living here for 3 years, and making friends in a new place (especially if you don't speak the language) is tough. I think most people expect the new person, or transplant) to make the overtures.
Invite people to your house. That's what I've done. Works like a charm.
They'll invite you back and everyone's happy.
Also worth noting: I am a single mom, and there are three retired neighbors on both sides of my house with snowblowers.
The only person who ever, in 12 years, offered to snowblow my driveway after a big storm (I don't own a blower and pay for plowing, usually, or the boys and I shovel) was the guy directly across the street, not Caucausian and not from MN.
Moving here from Green Bay, besides my relationships from my native wife, most friends I have made since moving here 10 years ago are from outstate.
Working at a suburban municipality, most people I get to know are through the Packers, as a 'foreign' concept to MN. It has taken years before getting invited to house parties, and even at that it is far and between.
Hi, I moved to the Cities and lived there for 20 years (as a couple), then moved to Duluth, have been here 12.
Easier in Duluth, as it's just a smaller town and you know who is who more quickly.
Twin Cities were tough, my spouse and I made friends pretty much only with others who were not natives.
I had moved from Alaska, which is EXACTLY the opposite -- hardly anyone is from there originally, and you had big groups of extended families because you didn't go home for holidays, etc.
Tip for Minnesotans - if you want invite someone out, then actually ask them instead of just mentioning an event. I am from Scotland, was confused about this for years.
When Minnesota was settled, it wasn't scattershot like much of the nation, but entire villages and communities emigrated.
Further, we've been isolated (nearest city Chicago is 500 miles). So we're a "bubble" of late 19th century central and northern Europe and that reserve holds. We're also very indirect because we're so homogenous and everyone understands the subtle clues people give off.
I grew up hunting and fishing whenever possible. When I moved to Minnesota it seemed as though those activities were reserved for natives.
I've dropped hints with my acquaintances over the years about my interest, but I've never been invited to come along. My kids, on the other hand, were born here and seem to get invited to "go with" all the time.
As a native I feel out of place as I like to have people over and find it hard to get other natives to come over.
I am a native MN but at times feel like an outsider.
After moving to Fargo for college, I didn't maintain many relationships from High School. Now after moving back, I find it hard to develop new friendships/spend time with old friends since most people have those base group of friends from High School that they are still close with.
Come on folks.. this is simply a cultural aspect of northern latitudes.. across the globe.
It's quite obvious.. from Seattle to Minneapolis to Bangor, Maine to northern Europe and across. It's that simple. I am amazed you don't bring this up, it's so obvious. This is turning into a whine-fest.
I am a Minnesota native, moved to Duluth and lived there for 11 years. It was hard to break in at first.
I was still considered an outsider because I was not born in Duluth. As time past that was not an issue for me. I loved living in Duluth. I got a job on the West Coast and moved out there. I felt like an outsider there. It was hard to make friends beyond being an acquaintance.
I am back in MN and love it here. But I think at a certain age it maybe harder to brake into social circles. People are set in their own routines and may forget to welcome new comers!
The main challenge I have seen is taking relationships from the work level the personal level. Locals need to take the time to invite new folks out to drinks/dinner....
My husband and I have said it many times, when we lived in Chicago our 8-5 life was "eh" but our 5-8 life was AWESOME.
Now, my husband's 8-5 life is very good (he loves where he works and what he does) but our 5-8 live STINKS!!!
The first, nicest thing to notice was the driver habits. Things that would make me swear or honk anywhere else don't get any notice.
Moving over or slowing down to let me merge?
Completely alien, especially in DC and Chicago.
I feel like if I weren't so courteous they might call the cops! I still drive defensively, but rather than be on offense MN drivers swing the opposite way: the norm is to be passive and courteous, but at worst people are scary aloof.
Thank you for this story! I've been here 18 months and I was so excited to move here, and I've been really disappointed.
I'm outgoing and I work, go to school, and volunteer. I've met lots of people, but those relationships have never gone beyond chatting at work/school/etc. I feel really isolated and I'm already looking forward to finishing school and moving on.
I transplanted here 25 plus years ago... can I just say the word, "holidays," and ask people's experience with hospitality at the holidays?
I am always drawn to the transplants in the crowd because I find them more open....
I was born and raised in MN, then lived in other countries and also Seattle.
My husband and I returned here as we felt it a wonderful place to raise a family. We arrived sans kids and had extreme difficulty making friends. Our best friends were our 75 yr oldneighbors. We share dinners and have even gone to their cabin. However I have not made any solid new friends my age. If it weren't for family and college friends I connect with, I imagine it could be extremely lonely.
When moving here I looked at apartments, the deciding factor was viewing a building in Saint Paul and walking a few blocks to see what is within a mile and having two people say "Good Evening" to me on the street.
In my six years as a resident I have adopted the same practice (as a transplant) and make sure to conduct small talk with other passer-bys.
I think if more people did this, Minnesota would be more welcoming but indeed creating genuine hospitality through opening homes to each other is still a challenge.
I am a Minnesotan but have had to leave recently due to job relocation.
I have since lived in Washington, D.C. and now Atlanta, GA. As far as welcoming goes, the issues being discussed today are not unique to Minnesota.
I had a difficult time meeting people in Atlanta, especially since I work from home and knew no one in the state of Georgia. It was tough for the first few months, but you have to put yourself out there.
I signed up for kickball, knocked on people's doors in my apartment, and hung out at the pool. It takes some time, but you have to make the initiative. If I did not do that, I guarantee I still would not have been to someone's house. All in all, you have got to make the effort, no matter where you live.
It's NOT just being welcoming, it's the whole slew of anti-social behavior I still see, after 12 years here, that I see no where else in the US.
Almost purposefully not holding the door for the next person, customers slamming the change down on the counter and barking orders to cashier (for example), getting to a stop light and THEN turning on your signal, not saying bless you when some one sneezes, not laughing at other's jokes
As a native I've been a square peg in a round hole - ever fighting the Minnesota differ known as conflict avoidance and the paralysis resulting from the passive-aggressive penchant of most to actually resolve issues.
I am a recently divorced born-and -bred MPLS woman. I am finding the same types of things happening. It is even happening with my old couple friends.
You can be from Minnesota, but if you go to the Iron Range they won't trust you unless your grandparents were born there!
The most frustrating thing about Minnesotans is that they beileve that "Minnesota Nice" is real.
I've yet to meet a Minnesotan that doesn't react with incredulity when I tell them that outsiders aren't buying it.
A NYC transplant once told me that when he asks someone what school they attended, he's told what elementary school the person went to rather than their college or university.
He quickly found out that if you hadn't' grown up in a familiar neighborhood, you were an outsider. He guesses the Bronx doesn't count.
I think that many Minnesotans operate under a "trust is to be earned" mentality, which takes time and can be seen as unwelcoming. But, on the flip side, that friendship is solid and life-lasting.
I moved to Mpls after living overseas for 20 years - and was very surprised how difficult it was to communicate easily with locals - it appeared they weren't interested in discussing experiences outside of their siloed daily circle.
I am a native Minnesotan, have lived here all my life.
I find it hard to hear that so many Minnesota's "beat around the bush" apparently--I'm very up front and honest, and "say it like it is". I know others like me but definitely others that are more passive aggressive as well.
I wish more people would just be a little more blunt!
I was born and raised here. However, I recently moved back from Oregon where we lived for 10 years. I have family here and old friends, but to find "daily" friends has not necessarily been easy.
There is a group of us who are starting a Newcomers Group for this very reason. However, I did find the same thing in Oregon. Most of my friends in Oregon, especially initially, were transplants, as well. So, I wonder if it's only Minnesota.
Lived here my whole life (my great grandparents even settled in the iron range) but I've experienced being on the outside.
When I moved as a child to a new neighborhood I had a difficult time making friends because I hadn't been in the same house since kindergarten. In addition, I tend to communicate my thoughts directly rather than finding nice couches for them to nestle in and protect those who aren't used to this style of communication.
I've gotten into trouble many times for being so direct throughout my life. Fortunately, as an adult I've found people who appreciate this about me. It's probably not surprising that most of my friends as an adult are all transplants.
MN Native here, going out and asking random people over or out to eat/coffee is a baffling idea and seems rather pushy and rude.
I'm a native Minnesotan (5th generation.)
When I indicated to someone I worked with that I would like to get together outside of work, she (another native Minnesotan) told me that she was too busy to be friends outside of work. It took a year or two, but we did become friends and have been friends for close to 30 years.
Here's a classic Minnesota, Midwestern conversation stopper...the comment; "there you go!" and that's the end of the conversation!
I moved here 11 years ago and have lived outside of the US and other states.
I have never felt so lonely in my life.
I believe Minnesotans are wonderful but so deeply connected to their families and community that they don't have any room in their day to cultivate new friendships.
How many times have I met married couples who dated in high school. Through school, work and volunteering I have a wonderful circle of friendly acquaintances but have not had a deep or meaningful conversation in 11 years.
Boo hoo! We will be leaving Minnesota this summer.
I lived in CA , VA, MI, KS, Chicago and CA again before moving to St Paul for a job. I made friends through church and community activities.
As someone who had moved a lot I am used to being the one who reaches out first.
However this is the only place that I have been called a transplant. The fact that culturally we use the terms "MN native" and "transplant" says it all. There is a boundary, and everyone knows which side they are on. I have transitioned to the "we" and when I travel I say I am "from MN".
I don't think I get any standing as a native until I have reproduced...and several generations at that!
As a native I think we are very insular and I believe it is due to our roots.
I live in the northern part of the state and we have may Finns. We get nervous in face to face contact and talking about ourselves is rare. There is a reason cell phones are so big in Finland!
I grew up here and went to the U. Then I lived in southern California for 23 years, and moved back 3 years ago.
I call Minnesotans "MN ICE".
People here are NOT welcoming. Saying something about the weather doesn't really qualify as being nice. Ever notice no one ever brings a "New" friend to any holiday parties? People here are closed and shut down.
I've organized several parties at my home and get togethers with "Old friends" I've known since Jr. High School. Everyone appeared to have a good time at all of the parties. I never received one phone call except from one person. She told me that she never received invitations or calls except from me, either. So "Old Friends" aren't all they are cracked up to be. I miss L.A.
Thank You for opening my eyes!
Native, married a second generation Latina Minnesotan.
We aren't very welcoming to immigrant groups either, frosty is very apt. I think that's why they seclude themselves, west side, frog town, etc. . .
Married to a Peruvian woman and I am from ND.
Never realized how closed MN is until she told me how how it felt. As a result, almost all our friends are from other countries
I am native however understand all the new comers comment's due to my husbands involvement in a time consuming surgery residents.
The best way to deal with natives is just tell them you are home-sick and join a sport or club they note. Minnesotan's will befriend new people if they have a nature based common interest. The dates will be created by the social club.
I coach at the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Foundation and that club will plug a new person into a huge network of friends, if a new comer is willing to embrace Minnesota Winters and skiing. I understand it can be isolating here.
It's the cumulative effect of the small, snipy, anti-social behaviors which many Minnesotans engage in, which is so corrosive to all.
Been here 12 years (from Baltimore), and I can't get over the behaviors I experience here.
People (apparently) purposely not holding the door for the next one behind you, people slamming their change on the counter, and barking orders to the poor cashier.
People barely tipping, people not saying bless you when another sneezes, people not even attempting laughter at a told joke, thus, ensuring an awkward moment.
Doing whatever you can, just because you can, and are clever enough to do something both spoiling and anti-social. Thinking of yourself (instead of others), like, parking your groceries in the middle of every aisle (in the 1st place), and then when your given the opportunity to correct the mistake (because someone is coming down the same aisle and needs to pass), you don't make any effort to move.
That is the type of behavior I see here in MN.
Being superficial. Having inappropriate mannerisms. Inappropriate speech inflections. Being very slow on the up-take. Not just a few, but the many. It's a real problem when half the people walk around with half a brain. Elevator silence as a way of life – it's a real sign of lack of maturity I guess, or perhaps these people just don't know how to behave properly?
And this just scratches the surface. What is wrong with these Minnesotans?
A native, I have lived in CO, UT, KS for many years.
Folks in KS were ice cold to newcomers.
Yes we natives may be introverted, but please don't correlate this with being unfriendly or unwelcoming. When your broken down on the road, its most likely a MN native that will stop and help you. Transplants may have better luck in making new friends if they profess a strong dislike for the Packers. Try hosting Vikings party !
Adding to a previous post: I have received more help and kindness in dire situations here in Minnesota than I've been told we'd experience in other parts of the country. We moved to Central Minnesota a few years back and although we miss a real urban culture and more direct discussions we are moved by the willingness to help each other out.
We have a flood of comments...so if your post isn't showing up, please be patient. Thanks!
Sorry especially to Alex! I was flooded. Thanks for commenting!
Why not just filter out my IP why don't you.
I think this group needs a hug.. Unfortunately, Minnesotans aren't big on hugging.. especially strangers...
I am a Minnesotan and I have moved to Switzerland where most of us are expats.
I had to really put myself out there to meet people. It was not very Minnesotan of me to do this.
I even felt a little pushy trying to get to know people. This is an easier environment to meet people because most all of us are new.
But I totally have sympathy for newcomers in MN, it is especially hard there but now that I am on the other side I hope I am more helpful to newcomers when I return to MN.
I know a lot of my friends in MN were dying to meet new people and especially people from a different part of the country and world! Keep putting yourself out there and don't take rejection personally!
This is SUCH a great conversation!
I moved here in 1974 when I was 22 years old. Although I was born in Minneapolis, I grew up in LA. I found co-workers to be very nice, but because I was unable to really start making friends until I’d been here for 2 years.
I thought it was me.
I had a great entertainment life -- going out to dinner, season tickets to a world dance series, movies, long walks -- all by myself. As a result, I’ve always gone out of my way to welcome new transplants, but never quite realized that my slow integration wasn’t just about me. I have a lot of family here, and experienced the same lack of connection with them, maybe because I didn’t grow up with them.
Clubs are essential to meeting anybody, especially clubs where events are hosted in members' homes. In that respect, Minnesotans have an edge over my native Scandinavia where nobody is invited into your home before you have known them for years.
Doesn't the transplant create the culture in which he/she lives? Don't we all, no matter if we are from here or not? It's all in how you relate to others, no matter where you live.
On weekends native parents and their kids are too busy with their real family or at the family cabin for playdates or connecting with other parents. I have found a fiercely supportive and accepting community with fellow transplant parents, though.
I've lived here 10yrs.
Now, when a man approaches me to start a conversation, flirt or ask me out, I'll laugh and say, "You're not from here, are you?" They will answer, "No, why?" I respond, "Because you're talking to me!" I mean we are having a REAL conversation!"
I am still single and will probably remain so as long as I live here. All my relationships have been with these men who are not from here; all friendships I've had are with women who are not from here or who have lived elsewhere for a significant amount of time. I've lived all over the states and MN is definitely the least welcoming place
I moved to Stillwater, MN from Los Angeles, CA in 2005 and I have experienced a great deal of Minnesota nice.
I am a Filipino male, so, naturally I felt alienated because of the lack of diversity in Stillwater. Surprisingly, my neighbors were very welcoming. I was invited to their birthday parties, I was given one of their old vacuum cleaners and some neighbors actually commented on how nice it was to have more diversity in their community.
Transplanting to Minnesota has been great. Instead of my California neighbors breaking into my house, my Minnesota neighbors are giving me things from their house.
Tom just made a great comment about other people expecting us (the transplants) to take all the initiative! I'm outgoing and try to invite people out, but it's exhausting to always have to be the one to make plans! It's disheartening to feel like my overtures are never reciprocated.
Having kids does not mean you have Minnesota friends!
We moved here 9 years ago with a two year old, and then had two more babies here. Minnesota parents would be "social"with you on weekday playdates and at school events. Weekends and evenings are for their "real" families.
It was very isolating.
Minnesotans did not seem to even grasp what it was like raising kids without immediate family support. The only way I found a community was actively searching. I finally found a wonderfully supportive group of parents who have found each other. Almost all of us are transplants, and we support each other. We have an annual camping event with almost 100 families. Also meal support for new moms. My nine year old just asked us last week when we would have a cabin, too.
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.
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.
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.
@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.)
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.
@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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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."
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!
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.
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.
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, ;)
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!!)
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.
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.
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!
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.