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Old 12-03-2008, 11:25 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,271 times
Reputation: 12

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I grew up in Eastern Michigan, specifically the Flint, MI area and for all the downside of the Flint area, I generally felt that most people had that "blue-collar" almost southern niceness about them.

After moving to Kalamazoo and visiting with a lot of people throughout Grand Rapids, Holland, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo I have observed that people are not generally very openly nice or probably a better term would be "unapproachable." Battle Creek and Kalamazoo have some exceptions to this.

My theory as to why is the reformed-Dutch underpinnings of the culture. Although there are a lot of liberals for example in Kalamazoo, I believe native Western Michiganders have a weird underlying judgementalism about them and thus do not socialize well with new individuals. Of course there are exceptions to this. However, I often find that coincidentally the people I meet who aren't of the persuasion to act like this are often from somewhere else and have transplanted to Western Michigan. Most native Western Michiganders are quite offish in their manner and personality.

I would posit that this is somewhat due to a lack of diversity culturally and from the Reformed elements of the Dutch Christians.

This has been further backed up in my opinion by my travels and from working in Chicago. In Chicago I have noticed much more openness to talking with people and people are more likely to "meet you half-way" in a conversation. People in areas like Detroit, Flint, Chicago, etc. are more likely to wave, say hi, etc.

In closing, I believe this makes Western Michigan somewhat challenging for new people moving to the area to meet people, etc.

 
Old 12-04-2008, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,409 posts, read 27,043,188 times
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I'm not sure I can agree with you, I lived in Grand Rapids for 20 years and everybody was always quite approachable. Everybody for the most part was friendly, and waved at eachother I guess? I'll give you the lack of diversity, and living here in Miami, life is definitely very different. Michigan in general lacks the diversity from people around the world (as do all small-mid sized cities in the US). People in Michigan definitely don't like "different" as much as other parts of the USA, but again... you can't expect soo much diversity unless you are in the Major cities of the USA.
 
Old 12-04-2008, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,870 posts, read 17,739,660 times
Reputation: 3828
When someone waves or doesn't wave at me, I have no way of telling whether they are originally from West Michigan or not.

I will say that not being a native of Grand Rapids myself, people here are almost nutty about holding doors for other people.
 
Old 12-04-2008, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,409 posts, read 27,043,188 times
Reputation: 16531
hahahah, I hold the door for everyone! My mom taught to
 
Old 12-05-2008, 12:14 PM
 
915 posts, read 1,158,418 times
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I moved from the West side of the state to the East side and it's almost like comparing apples with oranges.

Although, every time I visit Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids I'm surprised at how much more "ethnic" they are getting.

Yes, people from West Michigan tend to be reserved and a lot of it is cultural. There is a slower-pace and life rhythm there.

However, I find that people on this side of the state - depending on the county/specific area - can be horribly rude and just as intolerant as those raised on the more strict cultural Calvinism diet.

Snobby/snotty people exist on both sides of the state. This idea that the Metro Detroit area is some sort of nirvana for finding "nice" people really is misplaced.

Maybe we both just idealize the places where we grew up from time to time. I know I tend to get all warm and nostalgic for Kalamazoo even though it really has warts....like lake effect snow!
 
Old 12-05-2008, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,870 posts, read 17,739,660 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burgler09 View Post
hahahah, I hold the door for everyone! My mom taught to

Not that there's anything wrong with it, and I find myself doing it all the time now. But some people hold the door for you even when you're like 20 feet behind them, causing you to pick up your pace so they don't have to stand there forever.
 
Old 12-05-2008, 06:56 PM
 
316 posts, read 1,081,258 times
Reputation: 134
I completely agree with you Njohnson. I too have made the trek from Michigan in the southwestern Battle Creek, Kalamazoo area, worked in GR for a time. The Chicago area is a much friendlier atmosphere, and far less judgemental. In fact you have described what I have tried to figure out for quite some time about Kzoo. Although people on the surface are fairly liberal and open to in some cases radical ideas, they are quick to judge someone fairly quickly thus making them a very odd mix of liberal and intollerable. GR is somewhat the opposite, being more conservative and intollerant.
As far as knowing who is from the area and who is not, I found that out living in kzoo for 5, working in GR for 5, and living in BC for over 20. You sort of get a handle on that over time.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 10:20 AM
 
2 posts, read 8,140 times
Reputation: 11
I can say that I moved here from Toledo, and I've been here 3 months, and I am very very impressed with the "approachability" and niceness of people here.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
112 posts, read 269,185 times
Reputation: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikenaf123 View Post
I can say that I moved here from Toledo, and I've been here 3 months, and I am very very impressed with the "approachability" and niceness of people here.
That's why we negotiated the deal to end the Michigan - Ohio War where we got the U.P. and we let Ohio have Toledo!

Yoopers are much nicer folks!

 
Old 12-09-2008, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
27 posts, read 135,826 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by njohnson491 View Post
I grew up in Eastern Michigan, specifically the Flint, MI area and for all the downside of the Flint area, I generally felt that most people had that "blue-collar" almost southern niceness about them.

After moving to Kalamazoo and visiting with a lot of people throughout Grand Rapids, Holland, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo I have observed that people are not generally very openly nice or probably a better term would be "unapproachable." Battle Creek and Kalamazoo have some exceptions to this.

My theory as to why is the reformed-Dutch underpinnings of the culture. Although there are a lot of liberals for example in Kalamazoo, I believe native Western Michiganders have a weird underlying judgementalism about them and thus do not socialize well with new individuals. Of course there are exceptions to this. However, I often find that coincidentally the people I meet who aren't of the persuasion to act like this are often from somewhere else and have transplanted to Western Michigan. Most native Western Michiganders are quite offish in their manner and personality.

I would posit that this is somewhat due to a lack of diversity culturally and from the Reformed elements of the Dutch Christians.

This has been further backed up in my opinion by my travels and from working in Chicago. In Chicago I have noticed much more openness to talking with people and people are more likely to "meet you half-way" in a conversation. People in areas like Detroit, Flint, Chicago, etc. are more likely to wave, say hi, etc.

In closing, I believe this makes Western Michigan somewhat challenging for new people moving to the area to meet people, etc.
I agree with this. I'm fairly new, still haven't really met people.
I miss Chicago more than I thought. I hated how huge it was, but I could meet someone new everyday without even trying. Here, I'm trying, and failing. A lot of people judge based on religion. The other day, I started talking to a woman, and after we got over our initial conversation, we asked names, and then she asked me what church I went to. I said I didn't go, and she ended the conversation right there. This is not the only time. I've also noticed that a lot of people here are very insular. They've known their friends for years, and don't want to make new ones. They're only friends with people they knew in high school, and on and on. This was completely different than Chicago because it's such a mix of people coming from many places at many times, and I never encountered that attitude.
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