New Cultures For Me

For better or worse, Minnesota is passive aggressive. It’s basically bred in the culture, I was a follower of it as well. I fully admit that, now, y’know after I moved out of the state. 😉 Minnesotans also have the long goodbyes, the ones that you walk to the door you have already said the goodbye and then there is guaranteed at least another 15 minutes of conversation. I love the Minnesotan goodbye and my first few weeks here it was hard to process that, that was not the normal mode down here. For the first while, I thought that I was being rude by walking away after one goodbye. Kid you not, I had a long conversation about it with my Husband, then boyfriend. I went to him all flustered and feeling bad and even a bit guilty that we were just leaving the houses when the people were so kindly opening up to me!

Wellllllllll an hour later, I was reassured that it was not necessary to be worried or to be nervous about leaving after 1 goodbye. I have lived elsewhere and was new to different cultures, but here it really hit me because all of the people I interacted with were so gosh darn sweet! My Minnesotan mode was, “here let me show you how much I have enjoyed this by saying goodbye for 15 minutes”, which in my previous town was a compliment, here not so much. Then, of course my insecurities were opened wide, that oh my goodness did they not like me? Am I too loud? Did I come on too strong? I said the wrong thing! All of those things, but the truth was it was just a different culture and I had not opened my mind up that wait, things are different everywhere. Goodbyes, hellos, parties, dinners, and social norms. It is easy to logically thing that things are different, but when faced with the emotional response, I had forgotten that.

More truth was that they liked me and looked forward to getting to know me more. Also, I was so worried about what they were thinking about me, I was not even having fun or really getting to know them. I have made this mistake more than once. It took me a couple of parties and interactions to start learning that the more I focused my attention on learning about the other person and really being interested in their experiences, the more fun I had and the more genuine of a time it was. I have not had to really go out and make friends as an adult and it is way different than making them in school or at work. I am still learning, but I am quite excited to find more friends and grow as a person.