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Old 11-10-2018, 01:10 PM
 
2 posts, read 937 times
Reputation: 10

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My spouse and I recently moved to Minot for a job opportunity fully intending to make a life here permanently. We don't know anyone here, so my plan was to get really involved with the community to try to make friends. It's been a few month now and I have to say I'm feeling pretty discouraged.

We are Midwesterners and I guess I was expecting people here to still have that Midwestern friendliness despite being further north. Instead we've been shocked by how unwelcoming people are. I don't get it. We are nice, polite, friendly, down to earth people. My husband especially is someone who makes friends wherever he goes. He thinks it might be related to the fact that he is not white, but I am white and I feel the same coldness from people when I'm by myself.

I noticed a lot of men here seem to think it's okay to just not respond to someone when greeted or use the traditional basic phrases of "please", "thank you" or "excuse me". I work in a customer service related profession and the rudeness from the menfolk here is really starting to get to me. They always seem angry about something.

The women are a little better. They will talk to you (sometimes forever) but only about themselves. I don't think I've ever been asked a question about myself. There just seems to be no interest in newcomers.

I went to an event for people in my particular profession here one night. It was a relatively small group of people, all pretty well-established here and who knew each other quite well. I did my best to try to chat with everyone but instead of welcoming me, they did this junior high school style catty routine, making slightly snide remarks to me and pointedly leaving me out of things. It was pretty hurtful, to be honest.

I'm actually to the point I've pretty much given up on trying to integrate myself here. I don't bother to try to shop local anymore even - something I had originally committed myself to doing.

Does anybody have an explanation for the unfriendliness of people here? I noticed that when I do meet a nice person in Minot they are always from somewhere else, which leads me to believe its a cultural thing peculiar to people who grew up here.
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Old 11-10-2018, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,236 posts, read 16,724,077 times
Reputation: 13579
Wow, that really surprises me. I suppose it's possible that some natives might shy away from newcomers because so many move there for a short time and leave (Air Force Base, oil field) so friendships are cut short. But honestly, one of the friendliest cities I've lived in was San Angelo, TX, and it has a sizable Air Force Base. In fact, I was in the the Air Force at the time. Of course most of my friends were fellow airmen, but my wife worked at a bank, and we made several friends through it.

The easiest way to make friends is usually at your place of employment, unless you don't work with many people. Also, those in related fields, but it sounds like that "event" was pretty unfriendly.

Did you buy a home or are you renting? I ask because I know some consider all renters as "visitors" -- those who won't be staying in the community for long. I know that sounds bad, but true friendships take awhile to build, and some probably figure it's not worth befriending those who won't be around long enough to form a close friendship.

(I'm just throwing out ideas, kind of a free-forming thought process here.)

When I moved to Wyoming 47 years ago as a young semi-professional, I joined the local Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. I had all the friends I ever wanted. Before long I was on countless boards, nearly a nightly thing. I got burned out after a decade and quit most of them, but I certainly got to know lots of people. Hmmm... do you golf or have any hobbies that would help introduce yourselves to others -- fishing, quilting, bowling, softball, photography, art, dance, etc., etc.? I took a fly-tying course through our local rec center once and not only enjoyed learning to ty flies but also enjoyed the camaraderie with fellow fishermen.

I'm stumped with the rudeness you've experienced. I can't figure that one out. Do you have a lot of tats or piercings that would set you apart?

Good luck. I hope things turn around soon for you.

Last edited by WyoNewk; 11-10-2018 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 11-11-2018, 01:38 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,231 posts, read 8,399,801 times
Reputation: 9735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uialdis View Post
My spouse and I recently moved to Minot for a job opportunity fully intending to make a life here permanently. We don't know anyone here, so my plan was to get really involved with the community to try to make friends. It's been a few month now and I have to say I'm feeling pretty discouraged.

We are Midwesterners and I guess I was expecting people here to still have that Midwestern friendliness despite being further north. Instead we've been shocked by how unwelcoming people are. I don't get it. We are nice, polite, friendly, down to earth people. My husband especially is someone who makes friends wherever he goes. He thinks it might be related to the fact that he is not white, but I am white and I feel the same coldness from people when I'm by myself.

I noticed a lot of men here seem to think it's okay to just not respond to someone when greeted or use the traditional basic phrases of "please", "thank you" or "excuse me". I work in a customer service related profession and the rudeness from the menfolk here is really starting to get to me. They always seem angry about something.

The women are a little better. They will talk to you (sometimes forever) but only about themselves. I don't think I've ever been asked a question about myself. There just seems to be no interest in newcomers.

I went to an event for people in my particular profession here one night. It was a relatively small group of people, all pretty well-established here and who knew each other quite well. I did my best to try to chat with everyone but instead of welcoming me, they did this junior high school style catty routine, making slightly snide remarks to me and pointedly leaving me out of things. It was pretty hurtful, to be honest.

I'm actually to the point I've pretty much given up on trying to integrate myself here. I don't bother to try to shop local anymore even - something I had originally committed myself to doing.

Does anybody have an explanation for the unfriendliness of people here? I noticed that when I do meet a nice person in Minot they are always from somewhere else, which leads me to believe its a cultural thing peculiar to people who grew up here.
I've run into polite people everywhere in North Dakota. While there are jerks everywhere I think they are in short supply in North Dakota. How long have you been in the state? It takes years to meet people anywhere.
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Old 11-11-2018, 02:23 PM
 
2 posts, read 937 times
Reputation: 10
We are renters - though I don't know how anyone but maybe our neighbors could possibly know that.

Nope, no piercings or tattoos. I'm pretty normal looking, not that unusual looks are any kind of excuse to be rude to a person.

I did try to get involved in things when I first got here but the reception we got was so disheartening I've given up. My husband tried volunteering with a local sports organization and they pretty much blew him off when he showed up to help.

We've been here a few months and yes, it does take time to make friends everywhere but it's usually not too hard to start building up friendly acquaintanceships. I don't know about the rest of the state but here there's very much a "outsiders not welcome" vibe from people.

As far as jerks, the first night we got here, someone deliberately tried to hit me with their car when I was crossing the street at a crosswalk, with the light. I've just never lived in such a hostile place before.
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Old 11-11-2018, 11:52 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,231 posts, read 8,399,801 times
Reputation: 9735
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uialdis View Post
We are renters - though I don't know how anyone but maybe our neighbors could possibly know that.

Nope, no piercings or tattoos. I'm pretty normal looking, not that unusual looks are any kind of excuse to be rude to a person.

I did try to get involved in things when I first got here but the reception we got was so disheartening I've given up. My husband tried volunteering with a local sports organization and they pretty much blew him off when he showed up to help.

We've been here a few months and yes, it does take time to make friends everywhere but it's usually not too hard to start building up friendly acquaintanceships. I don't know about the rest of the state but here there's very much a "outsiders not welcome" vibe from people.

As far as jerks, the first night we got here, someone deliberately tried to hit me with their car when I was crossing the street at a crosswalk, with the light. I've just never lived in such a hostile place before.
This all sounds so uncharacteristic of North Dakotans. Sorry you're experiencing this.
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Old 11-15-2018, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
419 posts, read 1,194,966 times
Reputation: 309
This doesn't surprise me whatsoever.
29 years after moving to ND, I am still patronisingly told, "Well, you're not from here, after all."
This is indeed an Upper Midwest thing. There's a saying for Minnesotans "They'll give you directions to anywhere, just not their own front door." Minnesota Public Radio did a series some years back on the Outsiders--what's like to relocate to MN. Large corporate employers had issues with staff turnover because of the difficulty of almost all newcomers to make friends. I think it's even more the case in ND because there are fewer outsiders and it is more insular.
Try to find other transplants. The academic, medical, and military communities are the most likely sources. They are just as likely to be seeking someone like you as you are seeking them.
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Old 11-16-2018, 06:47 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,231 posts, read 8,399,801 times
Reputation: 9735
How is it I have not experienced any issues with people questioning me not being from here? While I haven't made many friends, I accept that as life these days. People like to go back to their hometowns and fall right back in with the old high school crowd. Then they have kids and their lives revolve around them. That's just about everywhere.l
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Old 11-24-2018, 04:59 PM
 
267 posts, read 555,756 times
Reputation: 275
Your experiences are quite similar to what is often described as "Minnesota Nice", "Minnesota Ice" and "Seattle Freeze" which newcomers discover when moving to the Upper-Midwest/Northern Plains or as leaders in Minnesota are attempting re-brand it the "Bold North".

The original poster should do a web search on Minnesota Nice and Minnesota Ice. There are some good threads talking about this topic over on the Minnesota forum and the Minneapolis forum along with the Seattle forum. I would also agree with the poster who suggested the series of MPR radio reports on "The Outsiders" about fortune 500 companies recruiting talent to Minnesota for them to leave soon due to receiving the cold shoulder and making zero friends.

If you do a Google search on "Why I left Minnesota", or a similar search, there are a number of blogs, websites etc where newcomers have cited their reason for leaving good careers in the Twin Cities as being their being unable to make friends and their children's inability to make friends. The saying goes, where do you go in Minnesota and the Dakota's to make friends?.... Kindergarten.

The vast majority of residents in this part of the nation have lived here their entire lives, so have their parents/grandparents and maybe one or twice traveled to Billings, MT or Minneapolis, MN for business. They are family orientated, grown-up with the same friends, and don't have a lot of time for new friends.

North Dakota is a farming, ranching, and oil state, which encompasses time consuming, hard physical labor. In addition, with long brutally cold winters in Minnesota and the Dakota's, it's very difficult to get out and socialize. So far, this has been a warm and mild autumn.
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Old Today, 04:35 PM
 
10 posts, read 18,071 times
Reputation: 46
North Dakota has changed I feel. It has become a rather hard-edged state, and the men tend put on this hyper-masculine front which is very obnoxious. That's probably why many of the men do not say hello back. They think being polite is un-masculine. North Dakota towns are very insular and cliquey. There is major pressure to conform. I would say the only places that are more welcoming are the university towns like Fargo and Grand Forks, especially Fargo (GF can be strange). People there are a bit more broad-minded and they've tended to travel more or live in other parts of the country compared to people in Bismarck, Minot, or in the small towns. I would try to see if there are any events/activities at Minot State. Again, maybe it's just me, but I find the university crowd to be much nicer, open, polite, and welcoming.
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