Having traveled to many states across the U.S., I have been told more than once that I have a Minnesoooota accent, I dress like a tourist, and I’m totally Midwest-nice. For years, I brushed it off. What do you mean, Midwest nice? Are you saying the rest of the country is mean… or what?
It wasn’t until I lived in California for three months that I really witnessed the difference for myself. No one said “hello” on the sidewalk. Men weren’t holding doors open for the elderly. And absolutely no one kindly let you pull out in front of them when you were stuck in the Target parking lot.
The experience got me thinking… what does “Midwest nice” really mean? I’ve determined it’s a collection of subtle niceties. But here are the top 23 signs that you, my friend, might just be Midwest nice:
1. No one ever takes the last slice of pizza…
Or anything shareable for that matter. We are talking breadsticks, cookies, and cake—always wasted because of kindness.
2. You wave at passersby on the highway.
“Hey! Howdy neighbor.” If it’s not a wave, it’s the head nod. Why wouldn’t you wave hello? Even if you don’t recognize the other driver, you still wave.
3. You apologize for everything.
You already have plans tonight… “I’m sorry.” You don’t have a dollar for the homeless guy… “I’m sorry.” Someone else bumps into you… “I’m sorry.”
4. You trust with all your heart.
So, you’re out walking the dog… leave the door unlocked. Your neighbor wants to borrow your car… you let him. Your coworker wants to “borrow” $100… here you go.
5. You have a fit when there’s a line outside the bar.
Cover charges? Rare, but acceptable. A line outside a bar? Guest limit? Now that’s just too much.
6. You let other drivers pull out in front of you.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, but if you see another car trapped in a driveway or parking spot, you’re instantly Mother Teresa.
7. You only know of two area codes.
(218) or (701), baby. #obvs
8. The number of guns you own exceeds your college GPA.
You’re a minority if you don’t have your permit-to-carry or a shotgun in your truck. Saturday nights are the perfect time for driving around and shooting shit. (And not “shootin’ the shit”… actually shooting stuff.)
9. You make conversation with strangers on the street.
It’s a small world… we all know each other here, right?
10. You wear camouflage for occasions outside of hunting.
Bonfire? Camo. Church? Camo. Date night? Camo.
11. You consider Olive Garden a fine-dining establishment.
Free salad and bread sticks must mean it’s high class!
12. When your city is about to flood, you stay behind and sandbag.
A Cali native once told me, “In Cali, if our city is about to flood we’re like, ‘f*** that shit…’ and bail on the town.” Here, in Fargo, we bag or die.
13. A “farmer’s permit” is a thing.
Even if you’re not a farmer. All you need is a bail of hay in the back of your truck and you’re golden. The only thing you can’t do is get into the R-rated movie with your date.
14. You walk on ice-covered lakes.
You grew up riding shotgun to the middle of the lake in your dad’s Silverado. The best advice he ever gave you was, “Unbuckle your seat belt and roll down your window.” Why daddy? “In case we go in.” #RealReassuring
15. You call soda, “pop.”
“Soda” sounds totally snotty and too formal. And “Coke”? That is Coca-Cola and does not refer to all kinds of pop.
16. There is an excess of bars in your town.
So what? Drinking is recreational, right?
17. Forty degrees is considered warm.
A 40-degree day in winter is shorts weather… everybody strips. #WhatSnow?
18. Your parents still own a “home phone.”
“Somebody get the phone!” Absolutely not, mom. If someone was trying to get ahold of me, they wouldn’t call that number.
19. Grain silos are more prevalent than skyscrapers.
In fact, North Dakota is so infatuated with ag, that they built their capital to look like a grain elevator.
20. Your trends are 2.5 years behind mainstream.
Ombre? What’s that? Have you seen those new pants…? They call them skinny jeans.
21. You believe parking lines are more like parking suggestions.
What are those white lines? I’m supposed to park between them? I don’t feel like parking diagonal today… it’s just not me.
22. You have killed an animal with your bare hands and eaten it.
Duck hunting, goose hunting, deer hunting, elk hunting, you name it. Just don’t use your mom’s wild cats for target practice… you’ll get grounded. My brother did.
23. You were a tri-sport athlete in high school.
Were you great at all three? No… but your school needed to field the minimum. #Filler