I am feeling a little bit shaken. Do you remember when you figured out that Santa Claus wasn't real and you felt somewhat betrayed by your parents for lying to you about a fat guy with a white beard. Well the news I have recently been informed of is equally as disturbing as Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy put together.
Minnesotans aren't as nice as we claim to be.
Now this news is particularly disturbing to me because ever since I was a little kid I had always heard the term "Minnesota nice." I remember feeling very comforted by the fact that a whole state could be considered nice. There seemed to be evidence that we were truly all nice people. The first winter storm of the season has always brought out the best in us. Folks shoveling neighbors driveways, pushing out cars stuck in the snow, and bantering about how many inches of snow we would get. Those are all nice things that showed we were all living up to the Minnesota nice label.
Guess who informed me that we Minnesotans are not so nice? It was an outsider. You know people who were not raised in our great state but have been transferred here for business or heard that Minnesota was a good place to raise kids so they moved in late in life. They didn't go to elementary school here, they don't know which high schools are rivals and they don't even know how many Superbowls the Vikings have lost!
The claim is that because so many of us grow up here and never leave we really aren't so tolerant of outsiders. We say hello on the street, chat about the weather, and of course we are polite. But we don't invite the outsiders inside for dinner, welcome them into our book clubs, and break bread with them during the holidays. The exact quote was "I have never been to a state where it is harder to break into groups than it is here in Minnesota." "You are nice people on the surface but try and break through the glib comments "how are ya enjoying your first winter" and get to be true friends with one of you, and folks think your a pushy outsider."
I questioned this notion at first, how could this be true? Then I looked at my schedule for the weekend. Friday drinks with the girls from high school, Saturday hang out with my husbands college buddies (Carleton College), and Sunday dinner at the parents. These relationships were all 20+ years long and very rarely did someone bring a new person along to join in. So there was the truth staring me in the face -- I wasn't as nice as I thought I was.
So I have made a resolution to try and be more than Minnesota nice to those who haven't had the privilege of growing up here. Maybe I will even invite them to dinner. However, if they don't eat hot dish, obsess over summer, and enjoy the State Fair it's gonna be a long night.