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View Poll Results: What big city has the friendliest, most nicest people?
New York, NY 5 3.76%
Los Angeles, CA 2 1.50%
Chicago, IL 15 11.28%
Houston, TX 11 8.27%
Philadelphia, PA 2 1.50%
Phoenix, AZ 0 0%
San Antonio, TX 6 4.51%
San Diego, CA 2 1.50%
Dallas, TX 6 4.51%
San Jose, CA 0 0%
Jacksonville, FL 0 0%
Indianapolis, IN 2 1.50%
San Francisco, CA 3 2.26%
Austin, TX 7 5.26%
Columbus, OH 5 3.76%
Charlotte, NC 3 2.26%
Detroit, MI 1 0.75%
El Paso, TX 2 1.50%
Memphis, TN 2 1.50%
Baltimore, MD 2 1.50%
Boston, MA 6 4.51%
Seattle, WA 2 1.50%
Washington DC 0 0%
Nashville, TN 11 8.27%
Denver, CO 3 2.26%
Louisville, KY 1 0.75%
Milwaukee, WI 3 2.26%
Portland, OR 2 1.50%
Las Vegas, NV 0 0%
Oklahoma City, OK 4 3.01%
Albuquerque, NM 5 3.76%
Tucson, AZ 1 0.75%
Other 19 14.29%
Voters: 133. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:19 PM
Location: Bellingham, WA
9,745 posts, read 14,177,403 times
Reputation: 14796


Someone gave me a rep point for my above comment, anonymously, and I appreciate that. But that person also pointed out that friendly store clerks are not necessarily a great indicator of the overall friendliness of a city, and I suppose I agree somewhat. But I would think it would be at least a partial indicator. I was back in the Nashville area for the last few days, and I experienced this again first-hand, along with something I had forgotten about since moving here to Washington. Here, (and now I'm mostly talking about Bellingham, although my limited experience with Seattle has been similar, though perhaps lesser) most store clerks are very polite and nice, and for the most part the customers respond to them the same way. Friendliness begets friendliness. And in my hometown near Nashville, often times the clerks will be friendly, but certainly not always. It's not at all uncommon there to be treated indifferently by a clerk, and occasionally even a bit rudely. But what really blows my mind, and what I had forgotten about until my stay recently, was that, even when the store clerks are friendly, it's quite common that the customers will NOT be friendly in return. For example, a customer will walk into a store and the clerk will greet him warmly, but the customer just glares and doesn't say a word. I was just there for three days, and even in that short time I saw this numerous times. My only conclusion is that all of those people are either deaf, or incredibly shy, or just unfriendly. And I almost never see that here in Washington.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:38 PM
1,911 posts, read 3,239,394 times
Reputation: 910
I don't think there's really a good way to quantify this, as it's probably impossible. I'll do my best. Simply using nightlife interactions, i.e. outside having a cigarette, how people react to newcomers, how conversational others are with random people, that sort of thing.

I've noticed it's much easier in the bigger cities to start random conversation, people will talk to you, help you with directions. As long as you stay away from the obvious dangerous people, winos, ghetto people, that type...big cities are actually safer in my opinion. This is where the "mid-sized" cities are still basically small towns.

Chicago and Houston have always struck me as very friendly big cities. Boston seemed very nice too, I have a friend who is a bit of a renegade to say the least. We were walking down Newbury St once because we decided to visit some East coast cities after college in the midwest. Anyways, he decided to just walk in some high-end art gallery during a private art show...and they let him in, and everyone was extremely friendly.

If you did that in any medium sized city that tries to be a big city (Narnian city) they'd tell you to leave, tell you that you aren't important enough, aren't part of their secret club. I've noticed more attitude in "emerging" cities than the truly big cities. Especially, in the parts of those cities than consider themselves impressive. They think they need to act a certain way because they perceive big cities to be that way.

For example, Chicago is much friendlier than Omaha, Indianapolis, Des Moines, etc (you simply aren't supposed to start random conversations in these cities). Those smaller cities probably wouldn't know.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:35 PM
208 posts, read 364,460 times
Reputation: 73
I haven't traveled as much as most of you, only been to 13 or 14 of the cities on the list, so I'm a bit handicapped in the sense of evaluating cities by comparison. Based on my experiences, I voted for Houston. I have some generally favorable impressions of a lot of other places but in most of those cases, an otherwise pleasant experience was marred by just one negative encounter or incident. So overall, not that many bad impressions, really and I would have a long list of honorable mentions, if had the time.

I agree that friendly and nice are not necessarily the same things and there are lots of different kinds of "friendly", some of which, leaving you wishing they weren't so friendly, after all. Also, I agree that interactions with retail clerks are not the same as spontaneous conversations with natives. Still, there are often vast differences between retail clerks from one locale to another, in terms of alertness, genuine friendliness, intellectual curiosity and a generally happy attitude, which in some cases, can tell you something about the city in which they live and work.

I can usually learn something about a city by watching the interactions between clerks and customers. One of my pet peeves is customers who are abusive with clerks over something that is the fault of the management/owner(s). Perhaps, these customers don't have the intelligence to know that the minimum wage cashier didn't unilaterally decide to raise prices or maybe the customer is so unhappy, unfocused or meanspirited that the only way they can think of to address their frustrations is to attempt to grind someone else under their heel. Either way, when one observes a disproportionate number of these types of scenarios in one locale, it is a major tip-off that something is very wrong here. One such place, is a suburb, 15 miles from the city I live in, which is aesthetically clean, pleasant and upscale, rapidly growing in population and has often been the subject of favorable articles in various national publications as a desirable small city, but the social environment is pure poison. You couldn't drag me there now, with a team of wild horses. The people are mostly insecure, rich-wannabes but apparently, believe that rich people spend their time putting everyone else down. Over the years, I've seen this attitude and behavior manifest in many ways but I first became aware of it watching store clerks and their customers interact 27 years ago.
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:27 AM
107 posts, read 162,685 times
Reputation: 78
No New Orleans on this list ?
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:34 AM
Location: North Texas
23,989 posts, read 32,798,789 times
Reputation: 27517
I voted "other" because in my experience, Raleigh-Durham has the friendliest people.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:47 PM
Location: Chicago =)
307 posts, read 443,080 times
Reputation: 233
I'm going to say people in Memphis were actually very friendly towards me, every single person I interacted with was nice, helpful and seemed interested in me. NYC people were helpful, I wouldn't say warm but they didn't exactly ignore me, which was the treatment I kinda got in LA
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:57 PM
1,495 posts, read 1,946,678 times
Reputation: 804
The whole conversation about "friendliness" is so tiresome. Different places have different ways of relating, period. If you don't "fit" in a given place, then don't live there! If you're stuck, then sorry, it happens.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:10 AM
3,644 posts, read 8,997,592 times
Reputation: 1798
So im probably biased because I love St. Louis so much, but it is a very friendly place, especially considering how big & busy it is compared to where I'm from. You'd think that people would be less friendly, but that hasn't been my experience. I was just there on Friday. Almost everyone we interacted with was so friendly and helpful. They became even more friendly when they found out we were from Memphis. We always found ourselves having conversations with random strangers. They seemed to be genuinely interested in us and our trip.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:31 PM
1,017 posts, read 2,120,261 times
Reputation: 729
Wow...Nashville is 2nd with 10 votes. I have relatives that live 2 hours away from there.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:23 AM
1,401 posts, read 1,638,567 times
Reputation: 1428
Dallas or Seattle.
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