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Feedback from Transplants at December 2013 Meetup

Although we've hosted a number of Minnesota Nice discussions in the Twin Cities, we finally took some notes at the end of the December 2013 meetup when we asked folks what they thought the key points or take-aways were from their small group discussions. About 30 people contributed.  The bullet points are basically what we captured on the flipcharts.  The themes are what we (Corey and Jerilyn) identified later.  Take a look and see what you think. 

Theme #1 – Minnesota is a Unique Place

  • In talking to other transplants I realize that my experiences in Minnesota aren’t unique (“I’m not crazy!”)

  • People who have lived in other US states and moved here have many of the same experiences that are very unique to Minnesota

  • Minnesotans don't seem to recognize the challenges transplants have here

Theme #2 – Problems Making Friends/Socializing

  • It is hard to meet people here organically (i.e. socialize)

  • Minnesotans don't realize that they are very insular

  • One person commented they have become less outgoing and social as a result of living here

  • One transplanted couple called the concept of being insular and the behaviors that go along with it being Magoo-ish

  • Many people commented they have surface, “nice” conversations

  • Minnesota don’t seem to recognize or appreciate the challenges people who move to Minnesota have making friends

Theme #3 – Ways to Make Friends

  • It's a good idea to break the ice with humor, Minnesotans appreciate that

  • Minnesotans don’t like sarcasm

  • Men's and women's groups, churches and religious institutions are great places to meet people

  • Meet ups are really helpful to meet others not from here and to give you some social outlets

  • Creative/athletic pursuits are good ways to meet people (such as knitting, book clubs, etc.)

  • Join a “communal” housing community

  • One thing you need to know what you need to get the Minnesotans perspective on things

    [See "Building a Circle of Friends" for more on this.]

Theme #4 – Politeness/Personal Niceties

  • Personal niceties are just common here

  • “Excuse me” is seen by Minnesotans as a rude statement (i.e. when moving your cart around at the supermarket)

  • Minnesotans were bad drivers that don't merge very well (because they’re being so polite about it and getting in line miles before the exit)

Theme #5 – Minnesotans Want To Be “Safe”/Don’t Like Change/Aren’t Open to New Experiences   

  • Minnesotans aren’t very spontaneous

  • They don't like change

  • People in Minnesota want to be safe and spontaneity isn't safe

    • One person said that they have to have a meeting before the meeting to make sure that unsafe topics are talked about ahead of time

  • Minnesota who work for global companies tend to learn how to be open to differences and have a world view

  • Minnesotans who move away and then come back look at things a little bit differently and tend to be more open

Theme #6 – Feedback

  • In the work environment Minnesotans don't give feedback or like getting it

  • Minnesotans have to realize that not getting feedback can be a career killer  
    [See "Getting Minnesotans to Give You Feedback" for more on this.]