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Old 10-14-2009, 04:34 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,041 posts, read 13,110,264 times
Reputation: 2323

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Quote:
Originally Posted by southbound_295 View Post
I was brought up in Michigan. There was a code of fake politeness at all times. I was brought up with the same explanation that Ani gave. It keeps things going along, keeps the ruckuses to a minimum, & should never be confused for being real friends.

As for speaking to strangers, I lived in Grand Rapids & also in small towns. Mom's family was from a small town & Dad's was from a small city (Kalamazoo). In the cities, children were not to speak to strangers without parental consent, but adults always spoke. In the small towns everyone spoke.

South Jersey & Philadelphia are MidAtlantic & both areas are noted for strangers striking up conversations anywhere.

I think nothing of strangers talking to me in stores or on the street. I expect it. I'm offended if I try to strike up a conversation & the person acts like I'm a mugger.

I am as much of a northerner as you are, but this is something that is not foreign to me. You have lived in the south for many years, & I was curious as to why this bothers you. None of it bothers me.
Guess that I am still a city girl at heart!! I once left a church in haste (when I first got down south) when they all welcomed me to the service, it scared me so bad. I was the third generation of my family going to the same church in Chicago; couldn't tell you the name of even one person that goes there. Talking to strangers is strictly forbidden in Chicago, no matter what the setting.... Couldn't tell you the names of any of my neighbours in the neighbourhood where we lived for 20-25 years. This is just the way of life. If someone that you don't know talks to you, chances are you are being mugged. Not even the police, bus drivers, subway people will answer you if you talk to them. They are not being rude. Just following the "rule".
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:34 AM
 
Location: WA
588 posts, read 958,456 times
Reputation: 377
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
As for "fake politeness" . . . this is referred to as gentility, social etiquette, civility, etc and is a virtue. It keeps things on a calm level in public places, as well as in neighborhoods, retail stores, etc. It doesn't mean you are going be friends w/ folks just b/c they are polite to you. It does mean, however, that confrontations will be less likely to occur.

Why is this important? Okay - I will let you in on something that confuses newcomers.

There is a REASON why Southerners work so hard at being polite and civil. The reason is b/c our heritage is one of "don't tread on me." By agreeing to disagree (and remaining polite) Southerners are attempting to avoid doing what they naturally revert to doing when they feel someone is treading on their rights.

Push a Southerner too far (infringe on his rights or malign his integrity/value system) and things go from polite and passive to rebel yell indignation in about 1/2 second. Southerners choose to employ civility and the patina of social graces rather than having to resort to whuppin' yer arse (verbally or otherwise).
Thanks for that, Ani. I figured there was a culture clash(es) at work here, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

Cordial politeness in public would seem to be a good thing; who wants to face hostility when you're just trying to buy a gallon of milk? On the other hand, over-friendliness might be seen by some to be an offer of friendship, which I see could be confusing to some people ... but so long as you know that the cordial politeness is a cultural norm and that it's just a mode of behavior rather than an invitation of friendship, then that information is all good. It does make me wonder what overtures might actually mean an extending of friendship. LOL

Thanks also for the warning about violent home invasions. That does give one pause.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,364,319 times
Reputation: 39851
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagocubs View Post
Guess that I am still a city girl at heart!! I once left a church in haste (when I first got down south) when they all welcomed me to the service, it scared me so bad. I was the third generation of my family going to the same church in Chicago; couldn't tell you the name of even one person that goes there. Talking to strangers is strictly forbidden in Chicago, no matter what the setting.... Couldn't tell you the names of any of my neighbours in the neighbourhood where we lived for 20-25 years. This is just the way of life. If someone that you don't know talks to you, chances are you are being mugged. Not even the police, bus drivers, subway people will answer you if you talk to them. They are not being rude. Just following the "rule".
This is probably the saddest post I've ever read
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:21 AM
 
Location: The Queen City
444 posts, read 1,027,722 times
Reputation: 173
You make great points Vindaloo. I like the way you pointed out that there are pessimists out there. Its also easier to point out the bad instead of the good.

Seems like those pessimists just have a life so easy that they don't want to except both when they commit to a move.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:22 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,046,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DianeV View Post
Thanks for that, Ani. I figured there was a culture clash(es) at work here, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

Cordial politeness in public would seem to be a good thing; who wants to face hostility when you're just trying to buy a gallon of milk? On the other hand, over-friendliness might be seen by some to be an offer of friendship, which I see could be confusing to some people ... but so long as you know that the cordial politeness is a cultural norm and that it's just a mode of behavior rather than an invitation of friendship, then that information is all good. It does make me wonder what overtures might actually mean an extending of friendship. LOL

Thanks also for the warning about violent home invasions. That does give one pause.
Thank you, Diane, for understanding what I was trying to convey. I would add in re: to "friendliness" and that leading to friendships . . . I think that is worth exploring, too, as I have seen this mentioned several times on this forum.

I think the whole extended family phenomenon plays somewhat into this, as natives who have family here tend to have a lot of "fixed" interaction with family members. Depending on how close folks live to each other, they may have regular schedules w/ family members, i.e., attend church together, then have lunch together . . . or families will get together most Saturday evenings (or if there are elderly parents - spend a chunk of Sat. doing errands/cleaning for parents). Or it may be that g/parents are very involved w/ the children's sports/school activities, so that means family get togethers after games/meets/matches . . .

So it is often that even if someone would really enjoy spending more time with a newly found friend, their lives are very tied up with family functions - and trying to squeeze time for much else in between school, church, sports, and family obligations - is not easy. Even having a night out by ourselves on the weekend hardly happens. We leave out of town to do that so we can put it on the calendar and let everyone know - we are gonna be gone!

I know I found this when I moved back here, and it was a big surprise how many folks were tied up with very established routines - and it was an adjustment for me to get back into the swing of doing things with my family members. I had been a "newcomer" to the midwest, so had established myself there w/ friends and other couples - all of us transplants - and so it was strange finding myself tied up with expectations to family events.

That may be part of it - natives have very established lives here. I have been trying to get together w/ another native here (whom I met earlier this year) for six months now, lol, and every time we think we can work it out, one of us has some obligation (sports, clubs, church, family, work). I honestly have found it easier to establish friendships with newcomers who are not as regimented as I am and who can squeeze in a lunch. Couple get togethers? Unfortunately, way too rare. And a lot of natives are very active in their churches, which also function as a social gathering place for friends. You know you will see each other on Sunday in the choir, for example. A lot of friendships stay solid thru/ the years b/c folks are attending choir practice or mass or Temple together - especially if children are involved. These may be folks who consider themselves really close friends but they rarely are together except at church.

And then there are golf and/or social clubs - and a lot of friends regularly see each other at Friday nite buffet and on the tennis courts - but rarely any other time.

I have found for myself that the whole family connection here has impacted my ability to make and sustain friendships - and I suspect this is true for others. That is why I honestly think it is easier to get to know newcomers, who may have all those work, children (school and extracurricular activities) and church/volunteer involvements, but who are not tied into extended family obligations on a weekly basis.

Maybe others have different insights, but that is what I think. Because we have so many newcomers here (natives are a minority now!) I think that makes for friendly neighborhoods - cause newcomers are ready, willing and able to make new connections with others who have also relocated and have no family here. And I wouldn't take it that friendly natives are simply not interested - I suspect they are very interested - just obligated to what may be a large extended family.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:45 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,893 posts, read 27,167,930 times
Reputation: 8966
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagocubs View Post
Guess that I am still a city girl at heart!! I once left a church in haste (when I first got down south) when they all welcomed me to the service, it scared me so bad. I was the third generation of my family going to the same church in Chicago; couldn't tell you the name of even one person that goes there. Talking to strangers is strictly forbidden in Chicago, no matter what the setting.... Couldn't tell you the names of any of my neighbours in the neighbourhood where we lived for 20-25 years. This is just the way of life. If someone that you don't know talks to you, chances are you are being mugged. Not even the police, bus drivers, subway people will answer you if you talk to them. They are not being rude. Just following the "rule".
I don't know what to say except I'm sorry, that is very sad. I remember the names of people from places that we lived from about the age of 2, as well as the names of friends & neighbors of family, in several locations.

I'm out here where they say people are less accepting, but I've made a couple of friends & a lot of aquaintences, because I talk with people in public.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:03 PM
 
4,222 posts, read 6,713,872 times
Reputation: 1560
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagocubs View Post
Guess that I am still a city girl at heart!! I once left a church in haste (when I first got down south) when they all welcomed me to the service, it scared me so bad. I was the third generation of my family going to the same church in Chicago; couldn't tell you the name of even one person that goes there. Talking to strangers is strictly forbidden in Chicago, no matter what the setting.... Couldn't tell you the names of any of my neighbours in the neighbourhood where we lived for 20-25 years. This is just the way of life. If someone that you don't know talks to you, chances are you are being mugged. Not even the police, bus drivers, subway people will answer you if you talk to them. They are not being rude. Just following the "rule".
We have discussed this before. Again, why is it that everyone in Chicago was nice and polite to me? I have nothing but good things to say about the city and the people.
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:37 PM
 
54 posts, read 98,868 times
Reputation: 40
I'm from Charlotte - but I am currently in Miami - 6 years now and I just love everybody - I think it is something felt within - not an environment.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Near the water
8,231 posts, read 11,587,975 times
Reputation: 3877
here's something you can expect to find in Charlotte.....

a tremendous amount of car commercials. It is more than annoying!
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
969 posts, read 1,661,531 times
Reputation: 623
To me, the whole "we were here before you and that's the way it should be" argument is very irrational. Anywhere you go in the world, people move and shape their new communities, whether they mean to or not. Change is a fact of life. Places change and some people have a very hard time adjusting to change, whether it is a native in a fast-growing town or a newcomer who just moved there . Southerners get a "backwards" reputation because they SEEM to be the most resistant to change and are very vocal about it (the whole "well we were here first" thing). This whole country has grown and changed dramatically over the last 100 years and it's going to continue to change. We all need to learn to remember the past, enjoy the present, and embrace the future!
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