Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Are the people in the north east (Boston, Providence, etc.) unfriendly?

Are the people in the north east (Boston, Providence, etc.) unfriendly?

Nov 14th, 2001, 09:46 AM
  #1  
Darrell
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Are the people in the north east (Boston, Providence, etc.) unfriendly?

I am interested in a possible move from the midwest to the northeast United States after I graduate from the MBA program at the University of Iowa in December. I have some job offers from companies in Boston, Philly and Providence. (No recession up there I guess!). I am interested but hear all the stories about the people being so unfriendly in the cities of New England. I know there are unfriendly people everywhere but people tell me that those cities can be a bit chilly (people wise), in comparison to the midwest.

I would like to ask the travelers and residents of these places a simple question: Will a small town boy from Iowa like the people in these cities? This is an honest question.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 09:54 AM
  #2  
Liz
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I wouldn't call it unfriendly, but yes, I think there ia a general difference. I think you'll just have to give it a try, though. I've always lived in the northeast, my husband grew up in Kansas. We prefer the northeast.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 09:58 AM
  #3  
Dan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Will, take it from a guy who has lived in Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts. A small town guy from Iowa can do just fine anywhere. People in the northeast may be a bit more abrupt than the midwest, but it's nothing personal, just the way it is.
People from the northeast are supposed to be rude, but this isn't anymore true than midwesterners are supposed to be rubes. Basically people are people, in my opinion. I'm very happy that I've experienced life in several states. I love the Boston Providence area, but take a deep breath before you check rent rates. You'll know your not in Iowa anymore.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 09:58 AM
  #4  
Sarah
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I was skiing in Okemo in Vermont last winter and was sure everyone was on drugs they were so friendly. You are not going to find any place as friendly as the midwest, maybe the south.

Logic stands people will be a bit more guarded near most cities. I find people more rude in NYC than Boston, size also accounts for stress and crowding. Silly to right off the Northeast because of rumors. You are young, you can't stop checking things out on your own already. Go for it, think of it as an adventure. Good luck

P.S nobody on the east coast leaves there real email just kidding but it is a bit trusting.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 09:59 AM
  #5  
Spider
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We are not unfriendly, we're just not over-friendly. And don't ever tell a real Yankee that 'Philly' is in New England. You'll get an icy stare that will haunt you for decades. New England consists of six states: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, and CT.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:00 AM
  #6  
Jen
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You will like them, and they will like you. You might have to make the first move because New Englanders are great respecters of privacy. There is an old saying that once you come to New England, you will somehow find your way back. And the friends you make here will be your friends for the rest of your life.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:04 AM
  #7  
KBS
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hey, Darrell! I'm an alumni of the University of Iowa, too (20+ years ago). Right out of school I moved to Florida (hated it!) and then to the northeast where I love it. I'm in upstate NY where it is very friendly, but have spent quite a bit of time in Massachusetts and have had no problems. Just be yourself - there are snobs no matter where you go (I recall a few at U of I), but it's quite a melting pot in the urban areas you are asking about. I do get a kick out of some of the native northeasterners confusing Iowa, Illinois, Ohio & Idaho --- like it's all the same place! Best wishes with your future employment!
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:08 AM
  #8  
Nicole
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Darrell,

I am from Newport, but when my husband and I married we moved to DC (where he is from). New England is a bit of both I think. Both Boston and Providence are quite transient so I don't think you will have a problem if you move to one of those cities. However, the smaller towns in between may be a different story. Many of the families have resided there for decades upon decades and yes sometimes they are not as nice to 'outsiders'. To give you an idea of the mentality of New Englanders,,,an ex police officer in my town died recently and his obituary read something to the effect that although he was not local, he had moved to Newport when he was FIVE! The man died at the age of 80 something and was still not considered local.

On the other other hand, I miss RI tremendously and would move back in a second if I could convince my husband. He too, is under the impression that New Englanders are unfriendly . Good luck!
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:11 AM
  #9  
Joanne
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
As Dan said, "people are people." But you WILL find cultural differences in how they express the same things, including friendliness.

Certainly, New Englanders are not "friendly" in the midwestern sense of making small talk with everyone, asking the sales clerk how she is, telling personal stories to anyone who'll listen. New Englanders are more private than that. But once you get to know them, you'll find that as *real* friends, they are as steadfast, warm, and giving as they come. They just don't assume that *everyone* is their friend.

As for abruptness, again it's just a cultural thing. Sure, if someone from Iowa were to talk the way a Bostonian does, it would BE abrupt. But when that's the common, basic style of talking, you get used to it and it doesn't seem abrupt any more -- everyone else just seems like they're dawdling.

Botom line: You'l like the people in these cities just fine, once you understand the culture.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:27 AM
  #10  
Liam
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I moved to Boston from outside New England and love it. Coming from NYC, though, I probably had pretty thick skin to begin with.

Boston is a pretty big place, so it isn't quite so easy to say that everyone is a certain way (although I DO think there is a unique New England "character"). In the past thirty years, the character of the Boston area has changed a lot - people here come from all over to work in science, medical fields, education, financial services, computers, etc. What I'm getting at is that the traditional reserved New England Yankee is a dying breed. In Boston you will encounter every personality type imaginable.

Midwesterners are notoriously open, so you will might initially think of some native New Englanders as chilly. Like any big city, don't expect wide grins from strangers on the street, but the friendships you develop here will be as strong as any in Iowa. Boston is also a great neighborhood city. People get to know their neighbors and you really develop a sense of community and belonging.

A former co-worker of mine moved to Boston from a small town in Ohio and she loves it. She has been here for over ten years.

Also, Woody on "Cheers" moved to Boston from a small town in Indiana, and he never complained(!).
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:31 AM
  #11  
getyourfacts
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Joanne,
I don't know where you get your impressions of midwesterners from, I am from the metro Detroit area, and I never make small talk w/ strangers, chat up sales clerks, or tell personal stories to people I meet on the street!!
In fact, last year I went to England, and I noticed that many clerks in the stores there always said hello when you walked in the door. That would ask how are you, etc. I think that we Americans must look rude, because I wasn't used to such behaviour. When I go into my local drugstore, I am polite, but I don't go out of my way to chat w/ people.

I think that what that other poster said, about people just being people is generally true. I think alot of folks like to THINK that they are so different from people in other parts of the country, but that is really a myth. Many people are transplants, and when we watch television, the same shows that are popular in NYC are also popular everywhere else. To really see a difference in people, look at middle eastern countries! Now where talking centuries apart.

And for the record, I have never been to the northeast (am planning to eventually), but I must confess I never heard that they were more rude there than anywhere else. When I think of unfriendly attitudes, I often think of the south and that may be unjustified as well. It's just an impression I get.
But assumptions are just based on half truths and heresay anyway, aren't they?
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:38 AM
  #12  
Christine
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I agree with "get your facts", I am from the midwest, outside Chicago, and I had no idea that some people thought we were "open". I certainly don't feel that way, maybe it just appears that way to the more uptight, closely guarded residents of the northeast. I also don't go around talking to strangers on the street, c'mon now!!
I have been to NYC, and found equally rude, and friendly people. Many people are from other places, and they usually take their upbringing with them. Maybe in SMALL towns in the country people are like the stereotypes some of you say, but I personally have never met one!! I loved the show Northern Exposure, and often wished I lived in a place where "everybody knows your name", kinda like a certain fictional bar in Boston!!!
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:46 AM
  #13  
Ben
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
As a person who has lived all over the country I think there is a distinct chill in peoples personalities in the cities of New England. I have lived in Minneapolis Minnesota and Boston and the people in Boston were hard and difficult to get to know. Offices were less social and there was less chating with neighbors in Boston. I think it is harder to make friends when people are cold to strangers.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 10:49 AM
  #14  
Lived everywhere
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The biggest difference isn't region-to-region, it's small-town to big city. Darrell, don't ever forget that.

Small town people are less suspicious than one has to be in a city (more "open") but they are also more likely to consider a newcomer an "outsider" for a much longer time.

I've lived in both places and a few others. Remember that you have never been a newcomer to Iowa, and you will be an outsider for a while anywhere else you go. Figure on a year before you begin to feel at home and begin to make friends that are closer than just "hiya" on the elevator or in the grocery store.

Otherwise, it's true that New Englanders can be more brusque, more hurried, and more willing to debate a point than Midwesterners, who value being easy-going and are never confrontive. Ask a Bostonian how they liked a movie and they'll tell what, how, why, esp. if they didn't like it. Ask someone from Des Moines and you'll get, "it was okay, I guess. Kind of different." Someone once told me that people in the Midwest have a tradition of positivity and non-competitiveness that was necessary to get frontier towns up and running.

But when it comes to friendship, I found midwesterners slightly more inclined to keep friendship to a covered-dish-as-needed level without much intimacy but allowing for many friendships -- in contrast to New Englanders who have fewer friends, but the friendships seemed to reach a deeper level of sharing, intimacy, and loyalty.
These are, definitely, generalizations. But go to your new community knowing that it takes TIME anywhere you move, no matter what, and be ready to figure out a new set of expectations and habits. Metaphor: In Iowa, it's cross-country skiing; in New Hampshire, it's down-hill. You'll need different equipment, but it's still skiing.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 12:16 PM
  #15  
John
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Livedeverywhere hit the nail on the head.
I've lived in the South (NC, SC) and Boston. Down South the friendships are more superficial and outward. Up North, the friendships are deeper but less numerous.
You would never "drop in" up North but would in the South.
Basically people are people. There are good and bad everywhere. Small town vs city.
To sum it up, in Boston, the few neighbor friends I have I can really count on. In the South I couldn't.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 02:18 PM
  #16  
Kristina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I have to say when I stayed in the area for 2.5 weeks I found EVERYONE to be overwhelmingly nice. I traveled as far north as the White Mountains of NH and West through VT, even south to the Cape & met nothing but nice people.

Then again, I make eye contact with strangers on the street, smile & say hello. I feel if you don't people could take you for a snob & treat you the same way... then again it might be my southern draawwwl.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 05:46 PM
  #17  
Daniel Williams
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I think it's all a matter of perspective really. Living in Montreal, I did not speak with neighbors or randomly with people on the street, in elevators, etc...it's just not done. I made one friend who said that when people said "hi" to him, he would look twice at them, thinking, "what do they want?". I told him they were likely from somewhere else, a different culture. He really found that odd. I must say that while people are reticent on the streets, I found people very warm, really wanting to know who you were. I met some wonderfully fantastic people with similar interests who have remained true friends over the years.

Some people found Montrealers unfriendly. One Russian told me he found them cold (no bear hugs, only the cold two-cheek kiss in greeting). A Danish woman told me she found Montrealers very warm, saying that people had made her feel very welcome and that where she was from people didn't talk much to visitors.

I found when I moved to Baltimore, I'd hear people say "how you doin?" on the street, in the elevator...this struck me as unusual after several years in Montreal, but now I'm used to it. It doesn't mean they're easier to be true friends with; in fact I've found it harder to get to know people here.

Philadelphians and Bostonians I find somewhere in between...not as outwardly friendly on the street as in some parts, but wanting to have a real interaction with you when they do. Funny enough I always find myself getting into conversations with people in Philly, usually while making a purchase somewhere.

 
Nov 14th, 2001, 08:13 PM
  #18  
Maril
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
My friend and I both went to school at the University of Wisconsin. She recently moved to Boston looking for bigger and better things. She likes it but finds it too expensive and lots of those elitist east coast snobs there. If you went to Madison, you'll know what I'm talking about. She's looking elsewhere now.
 
Nov 14th, 2001, 08:40 PM
  #19  
Mare
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've lived in New England all of my life, except for my college years in the midwest. I used to work and go to grad school in Boston, and in no way found the people there to be difficult or stuck up. I do think that it can be harder for an outsider to get to know people in some of the small towns of New England. I wouldn't give up small town life for anything, but speaking as someone who has moved a lot within the area, it can be hard to get past the "hi, how are you?" stage. Sometimes I feel like the everyone here formed all of their friendships as kids, and just don't feel the need to form new attachments.
 
Nov 15th, 2001, 03:39 AM
  #20  
anncat
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I am from a city outside of Boston and I find people pretty friendly here, maybe it is because this is my home state but in my travels thru othere states unfortunately haven't been down South yet, I found New England to be the friendliest. Most likely I am bias. The only place you would meet people with an attitude would be around Newbury Street and some of the posh restaurants and bars in the uptown area. There people are pretty full of themselves and seem to be waiting to be discovered by some sort of talent scout. New Hampshire and Maine are extremely friendly states also. As far as the job situtation in Boston, make sure you are going to a very reliable company since 2 family member of mine have just been laid off and there are more in this area every day. Good luck to you in whatever you decide.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:03 AM.