D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Why Americans are WAY Friendlier than Manitobans

Monday, September 10, 2007 2:32 AM
Now, I'm not going to lie to you: I think there are many out there that have this notion about Americans. That notion is that people from the US are:

a) Arrogant
b) Rude and Obnoxious
c) Are Scary

If you are one of the many who feel that way, let me point you in the direction of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I did not meet one American on this entire trip that fit into any of those descriptions (well, except for the guy at Cold Stone Creamery who obviously didn't want to be working that day).

First there was the couple from Iowa who were in for the game. They were sitting behind us at dinner on Saturday, and he commented on my hat inquiring if I was indeed a Falcons fan (or just one of the many posers that WISH they were associated with the future greatest dynasty in NFL history). This entered a discussion about football in general, where we were all from, how we were looking forward to the game, etc. Just friendly people making genuine discussion with total strangers...wouldn't happen here (Manitoba).

Then there was the train ride to the game, where we sat with this guy who got into a discussion with us about the state of health care, taxes, football, etc. Again, just friendly guy making conversation...and not just with us, but with others around, who were doing the same thing.

Vikings game...I'm surrounded by purple jerseys the whole day...and not ONCE did anyone come off as rude, obnoxious, or just plain jack-assey...everyone was there enjoying the party...it was a great atmosphere! I got the feeling that would have been different had it been the Green Bay game and if I had been wearing a cheese head though. The guy sitting behind me in the stands was hiilarious...I traded little barbs with his family throughout the game, but it was all part-of-the-game fun.

Anyway, we're in the beer tent before the game when some Falcon fans came over to hang out with us...and through knowing the Miller rep, hooked us up with some free beer tickets. Nice! Then we look over...OMG, its the couple from dinner the night before! So now we're having a Falcons love-in smack in the middle of a sea of purple. It was all so different from a CFL atmosphere...as in, way BETTER than a CFL atmosphere.

On the train back from the game, I got a few comments thrown my way but nothing crazy serious...and everyone in our train car was talking to each other...but they weren't part of the same group...it was way different than a typical bus ride in Winnipeg, where everyone keeps to themselves and tries not to make eye contact with anyone.

So anyway, the point is: you really can't judge a place until you've gone. I've been to the US before and have many US-based friends, so I already knew that its not as scary a place as we non-USers think it is*. But this was my first trip to Minnesota where I stayed for any length of time, and the people we met have definitely made it a regular destination for future travel plans.

"Friendly Manitoba" could take a lesson from our neighbors to the south.


*Note: The jury is still out on Texas though...


# re: Why Americans are WAY Friendlier than Manitobans

I had an amazing "friendly American" experience in San Diego a couple weeks back. I was at the airport and went to the information booth to find out how to hail a cab. I got talking with the woman working and she asked where I was going. When I mentioned the location she told me she lived right near there, and said that if I was still around in 45 minutes when her shift ended she'd give me a lift! It floored me to think that she'd offer a ride to some random foreigner at the airport. 9/10/2007 3:53 AM | Dave Harris

# re: Why Americans are WAY Friendlier than Manitobans

This almost mirrors my experience at the Rams game there last year. Everyone I came across, not just at the game, but everywhere with the exception of one clerk at the Underwater Adventures aquarium at MOA, was extremely friendly.

I think it's time for the "friendly" to be removed from the Manitoba plates and moved over to the Minnesota tags.
9/11/2007 1:52 AM | Curtis

# re: Why Americans are WAY Friendlier than Manitobans

Not to say that Minnesotans *aren't* friendly, or to put a damper on your good weekend, because it's nice to hear that you had a good time and met some decent folks... I just have to add that I have had some pretty friendly encounters here in Manitoba too. For instance:

- The nice gentleman who stopped yesterday to help me out when he saw I was struggling to get my bike into my car. Never would have gotten it in there if he hadn't helped me, and he got nothing out of it.

- There was a guy who helped me out not long ago at Future Shop... my mom was purchasing a TV and we misjudged the dimensions of the box. It was just a fraction of an inch too big to squish into our vehicle in any way, shape or form. Another kind person in the parking lot stopped to help us, and when he couldn't get it either, he said that he had a truck and would be happy to drop it off for us since we weren't far out of the way for him on his route home. He put the TV in his truck, had my mom go with him for directions, and I followed behind them in the car. He refused to take anything for his trouble and was just happy to help out.

- There was also a very nice couple in line behind me in the coffee shop last week. When they saw us getting our coffee cards punched (you get a free one eventually!) they stepped forward and told the guy behind the counter to give us their "punches" as well, as they were about to purchase two coffees and weren't regulars at the place so they didn't want a card.

I don't know about you D'Arcy, but I've had some really good conversations with people at the bus stop, or in line at the grocery store, or at Folklorama pavilions, or whatever... and I've stopped dozens of times to help people out that are stuck getting out of our confusing parking lot at work.

Granted there are some real ***holes here too, but you'll find those anywhere.

Also, I'd like to point out too... people are often WAY friendlier to a tourist than they are to people who live in the same town as them. When you are visiting a place, often people want to help because they know you're not from around the area and want to make your experience more pleasant, or because they know you don't know any better and so they give you the benefit of the doubt and are more cheerful. I think it's a great attitude to have... but it doesn't mean that they always treat each other with the same attitude. A friend of mine that lives in San Diego says that the people in her area are some of the rudest she's met and in the years she's been there has never had an experience like the ones listed above.

It's like the old adage... if you want to know what someone is really like, watch how they treat their inferiors not their friends. You put your best foot forward when you think someone might be evaluating you.

But... again I'm not saying that I disagree with you that there are some very pleasant people to be found in Minnesota, or San Diego, or wherever... I'm just saying you can find them here too.

My two cents. 9/11/2007 5:22 AM | Tara

# re: Why Americans are WAY Friendlier than Manitobans

D'oh, I clicked send too soon... I also wanted to say that the random rides to strangers here does happen. I've actually driven a stranger home from the Supermarket...

9/11/2007 5:32 AM | Tara

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