Q: Why are people from North Dakota so nice and people from New York such a___s? Why do they leave New York and come to South Florida to bother us?
A: I love this question. It came all the way from Florida (apparently!), and while I must say that I’ve been to New York and thought that everybody there was super sweet, I respect the questioner’s right to his opinion. And again, while I can’t speak to the issue of New Yorkers going to South Florida and bothering Floridians, I think it all comes down to the same thing: why are some people nice and other people aren’t?
When you’re harried, tired, busy, pushed around and late, how do you feel? Loving, kind, patient and friendly? Probably not. Do you think a lot of people in New York are harried, tired, busy, pushed around and running late? Well, I don’t know for sure, but I guarantee you you’ll find a lot MORE of that kind of people in New York because, well, there are a lot more people IN New York. Probably more people in a square mile of New York than in all of North Dakota.
And New York is fun. It’s a ton of fun. It’s 24 hours of fun. But it’s also a lot: A lot of noise. A lot of people. A lot of movement. A lot of energy. I can feel it when I’m there, can’t you? I don’t think we’re meant to be overloaded by anything. I think we’re hardwired for quiet, and peace, and alone time so we can recharge. I don’t think we’re meant to push ourselves beyond a reasonable limit, and only we ourselves can decide what’s reasonable for us.
But I also think that not a heck of a lot of us can respect our body’s natural rhythms and need for quiet. We don’t have time! We’ve got important things to do, places to be, people to meet. Go go go.
We also probably don’t think about our environment or what we need from it. Do we feel best in a huge city or a smaller city? In the country or by the ocean? Have you even thought about it? Maybe not. Maybe you don’t think you have a choice; you can’t leave your job, your friends, your stable life. So you stay. And if you really don’t WANT to stay, it’s going to make you crabby, then you may start acting like an ass. You don’t have to be from New York to be an ass – you can live anywhere! It’s all about YOU.
So let’s say you ARE an ass, and you live in New York. But sometimes you crave some peace and quiet so you migrate south to Florida. Just because you’re in a beautiful place doesn’t make you nice. If you’re an ass in New York, you’ll still be an ass in Florida (except now you’ll be in a bikini on the beach).
If you’re being bothered by naughty people from New York, it may help you to understand that they’re probably not happy, and are looking for their happiness outside themselves, in the form of a geographical cure. You may not be able to DO anything about their rudeness, but you can inspire them by being as kind to them as possible. Smile a lot, talk to them, help them if you can. They may be stuck in their unhappiness and not know how to get out, but if you are in a good place, then YOU may be able to show them another way. The way of North Dakota nice.
Why are North Dakotans so nice? (I also think Minnesotans are really nice, too.) It’s what we do. Again, I don’t necessarily think everyone in North Dakota is nice. I’ve met some kind of mean people here. It’s usually not helpful to make sweeping “all” or “none” statements. Those rarely prove to be true. There are always exceptions.
But overall? Yes, there are several reasons why I think we’re so nice up in our neck of the woods. First, there aren’t a lot of people here, so if you’re a jerk to somebody you’ve eliminated a fair percentage of available people you can be friends with. You don’t want to do that – you may need them to help jump your car in the next blizzard.
Second, there aren’t a lot of people here, so there’s not an excess of energy, or noise, or lines, or pushing, or activity. You can drive 5 miles in any direction and be in the country where it’s really quiet and spacious. That’s nice.
Third, we’re hardy folk – it’s harsh country up here, and we need to rely on each other to survive. I got lost in the country during a blizzard, pulled into a driveway, got stuck in the ditch (yeah, but that’s another story), and ended up taking the farmer’s car onto the highway to look for help. Yes, they’d left the keys in it, and yes, I felt comfortable taking it because it was an emergency (I’d also left my car there, so I was pretty confident they wouldn’t think I’d stolen their car). Do you think you could get away with that in New York? “Uh, Officer, I was lost on 52nd St. and got stuck at a stoplight, so I stole a car so I could go get help.” Good luck with that.
Fourth, I think most of us are raised to be kind and respectful, helpful and nice. We have VALUES. Now, again I’m not saying that New Yorkers don’t have values, I’m just saying that I think a lot of us here in North Dakota DO.
And I also hate to admit this, but there’s not always a heck of a lot to do around here sometimes, especially in the winter when you’re snowed in. We NEED other people to keep us company, or we’d get cabin fever (do you think New Yorkers even know what that term means? If they do, I don’t think they think it’s a LITERAL term like it is here).
Fifth, I think most of us around here simply LIKE people. They’re nice!
So if I were you, I’d be grateful that you live in such a beautiful, warm state as Florida. I’d try to be kind to any unhappy people you meet – you just don’t know where they’re coming from. And lastly, you should be proud that you were raised a North Dakotan, because we really ARE nice.
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