Social Question

Jude's avatar

(I come in peace, I swear) Why are people more friendly in the South (Southern US)?

Asked by Jude (31971 points ) January 3rd, 2011

I am dead serious. :) I just came back from a two week trip. I was in NC, SC and Savannah. Everyone that I came across was a peach. :)

When you’re North, not so much.

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55 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I told ya ;)
Welcome back!

chyna's avatar

We’re just brought up that way, sweetie.

gailcalled's avatar

They are superficially peachy, but there are lines. And if you visit their home, they will count the spoons (probably Georgian silver, brought over by colonel Beauregard from London in 1789).

(I don’t inderstand your last sentence.)

Taciturnu's avatar

It’s all that Southern Hospitality.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

blueiiznh's avatar

It is the North. I grew up in the Midwest and it is true about people coming acrioss just “nice”. I have traveled for work all over the country and certainly would feel better if I was in the midwest or south and I needed help or assistance. Everyone is just so danged nice. I however will say that when in the South, don’t tell them you are from the North! They don’t like “yankee type”

TexasDude's avatar

Because we’re awesome.

Should have come to visit me in lil old east Tennessee for some real hospitality!

bolwerk's avatar

There is nothing unusually “nice” about the south. Places like Savannah are only able to come across as kind of nice compared to the rest of the USA for the same reason that people from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans are nice compared to people from the rest of the USA: they know how to interact with other people on an interpersonal level, which surprises suburbanites to no end.

J0E's avatar

I can say that about everywhere I’ve visited. But it’s not because where I live is a mean, grumpy, place. It’s because I live here 99% of the time, so I witness the good and the bad. When I’m on vacation I’m there for maybe a week or two, so everyone seems so nice.

Jude's avatar

@gailcalled I ran out of time as far as editing goes, unfortunately.

marinelife's avatar

The outward friendliness of Southerners can be a glove of politeness over a fist of disdain.

JLeslie's avatar

The midwest is truly the nicest place in my opinion in America. The south is nice to your face, not necessarily behind your back. But, there are nice people everywhere I always say. If you are comparing big cities to smaller cities and towns, it is really more about the size of the city then north, south, east, and west in my opinion. My aunt said she slipped twice on ice a few days ago in NYC, and both times people helped her up in the street. Strangers. Just sayin’.

Now, if you want to know where the term southern hospitality comes from…the way I learned it was back in the old days when the south was very rural, with very few places to stay, no hotels around for 100’s of miles, plantations would have a small bedroom attached to the house, with a separate door, and no way into the main house from the room. This door was left unlocked for travelling sales people, and other men who found themselves needing lodging for the night. It was understood that they could sleep there, and then in the morning would pay for the stay. Many times the gentleman was welcomed into the home, offered breakfast, and instead of being charged a fee, was asked to share the news from other parts of the country, since news from far away places was hard to come by in rural areas. So, southerners were considered to be very hospitable, and the hospitality industry refers to lodging. The end :)

ducky_dnl's avatar

It’s because us Southerners are buzzed from lemonade and fried chicken. Naw, I just think we like staying to ourselves most of the time and we don’t like being mean that much.

ETpro's avatar

I was born and grew up in Virginia, and have lived in California (LA and Santa Barbara), Minnesota and now Boston, MA. I don’t find the common meme that Southerners are friendlier to be true. People are pretty much people, in my experience. In my area of Boston, everyone knows everyone. We live in the streets where neighbors greet and share gossip. The North End is also called Little Italy, so no real surprise there. But I can get people to give me directions and help me read distant signs (have eye problems) and they are routinely friendly and polite.

I think the pace of life is very different in the South and on the West Coast. But people are still pretty much people. They may not greet with a “Howdy, Y’all” here, but they are just as willing to be friendly unless you give them a reason to not be.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro You didn’t experience “Minnesota nice” while living there?

jlelandg's avatar

Most of us in the South will be accommodating. Sometimes it’s a facade, but it’s also good manners. Northerns pee in cheerios too much.

snowberry's avatar

Someone told me a that if a Southerner has something bad to say about someone, they’ll tack on “Bless his heart” after it.

So someone might say, “He’s a real dirt bag, bless his heart”.

wundayatta's avatar

Like all generalizations, this one could contain some truth, but not a universal truth.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Funny, I feel the same way about Canadians. Canadians are so damn nice.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie The weather in Minnesota could be a cold bitch at times, but the people were great. A firm in Minnesota bought the Santa Barbara company I was working for back at the beginning of the LBO craze of the 1980s. They moved the operations and most of the employees to St. Paul. The people there working for the Minnesota company went out of their way to merge us into their culture and invite us to become involved in their community. I was apprehensive about moving there, but I loved the place. The Twin Cities are a great place to raise a family.

gorillapaws's avatar

Southerners do put up a friendly facade. You’ll also find some of the most close-minded, ignorant and racist people in the world here in VA.

answerjill's avatar

One of my favorite singer-songwriters who is from the mid-west tells this joke about how people in her region can say whatever mean thing they want to say about anybody, just as long as they preface it with “Bless her heart!” Could that be true of the south, too?

JLeslie's avatar

@answerjill Southerners do say bless her heart. Is your favorite song-writer from the bible belt? Might have more to do with that than the south. Although, most of the south is in the bible belt, and most of the bible belt is the south.

blueiiznh's avatar

@JLeslie Touche on that as I grew up in the Twin Cities. I recall a friends comment to me when she first visited the TC, “Does everyone say hello to you?”
Yes they do. And Hello to y’all, bless your heart!

Moegitto's avatar

Can’t speak for the whole south, but being military I was stationed in texas, kentucky, tennessee, louisiana, and virginia. I’ve had the worst experience in my life in tennessee and texas. The rest were pretty awesome. I’m from Washington DC, and the first time I was ever called a racial term was in texas, then I had to actually look up the term “spook” when I got to tennessee.

bob_'s avatar

Because you’re white.

Likeradar's avatar

As other people said, many, many Soiutherners will be sweet as pie to your face but talk shit behind your back. It’s completely superficial and not at all genuine. There are some truly nice people in the South, but in general- not so much.

Vunessuh's avatar

I’m pretty sure the ‘friendly’ trait goes by the individual. Not the region in which they live.

jerv's avatar

Because us Yankees are more honest. When we are nice, we actually mean it!

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Great point.

blueiiznh's avatar

@jerv This is a great point jerv.
I will take Northern honesty that may sound harsh over insincere peachy-nice from anyone on any given day.

Moegitto's avatar

@jerv YOUR STILL ALIVE!!!!!! Us Northerner’s show a air of sophistication. I got called out on it in a T-mobile store when I upgraded my phone last thursday. The clerk pretty much just said “your definitely not from around here”, I asked how and she said “you enunciate too many of your words”. I then apologized for paying attention in english… :{)

jerv's avatar

@Moegitto I get a similar reaction due to my Bostonian habit of forgetting the letter R in many words.

iamthemob's avatar

I think the different areas are friendly in their own way.

Aster's avatar

@bob_ “Because you’re white” certainly has a ring of truth to it. I find Texans to be not only friendly but happy. I don’t know why; I’m just used to it and I’m going to try and figure it out.

Leanne1986's avatar

How strange, in Britain it seems the further north you go, the friendlier the people.

jerv's avatar

@Aster Most Texans I’ve dealt with turned unfriendly once they figure out that I am not a God-fearing Conservative. There are exceptions, but I haven’t seen too many yet, and most of them were from Austin or thereabouts.

iamthemob's avatar

@jerv – I think of it as the whole “Bless your heart/I’ll pray for you” mentality.

Supacase's avatar

I also find Southern Hospitality to be insincere.

Personally, I have found the main difference to be small town vs large city, regardless of what part of the country it is.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder how many of the people saying southern kindness is insincere are southerners on this Q? I actually do have southerners agree with me about this sometimes. Usually they are men who are agreeing.

bob_'s avatar

@Leanne1986 It must be the whisky.

Moegitto's avatar

I’m definitely not saying that southerner’s aren’t friendly. I was in Louisiana and I still wish I lived there. I’ve been to Florida and they were all equal to partying. It’s just Texas and Tennessee are really horrible places (for people of my colored disability).

chyna's avatar

@Moegitto They are mean to little blue men?~

JLeslie's avatar

@Moegitto Just curious, when you are in TN, do you feel like you identified with the other people of your colored disability?

Moegitto's avatar

@JLeslie Nope, too smart to act like a dancing animal.

@chyna blue is my favorite color…

JLeslie's avatar

@Moegitto What exactly does that mean? It doesn’t sound good.

Moegitto's avatar

@JLeslie sadly it’s not, that’s the hugest problem with my race. We take on the negative notions as style, and then get mad when people mock us for it.

answerjill's avatar

@JLeslie – The singer-songwriter that I mentioned lives in Indiana.

JLeslie's avatar

@answerjill Southern Indiana is still the bible belt, but most of the state is not considered to be the bible belt.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

They are not more friendly. Southerners still more widely practice old fashioned social graces put in place so strangers, co workers and acquaintances could be made more comfortable in each others’ presence without affecting genuine friendship. A few generations back these mannerisms and such began to be looked down upon as elitist and superfluous, replaced with outright rudeness in the guise of being “real”.

lonelydragon's avatar

As others have pointed out, Southerners are often superficially friendly. Some will hardly wait before a person is out of the room before they start gossiping about him/her.

Gabby101's avatar

All cultures have the same amount of “niceness’ in them, it’s just dished out in different ways. I always worry when too much of the niceness is up front, because it might mean you’ve already received most of it.

TexasDude's avatar

Haters gonna hate.

KNOWITALL's avatar

A lot of the south was settled by landed gentry thus manners were important. In Mo, we are gen nice til you cross us.

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