1. Be nice
The most notable stereotypical characteristic of Minnesotans is the attitude of “Minnesota nice”– being friendly and courteous when interacting with others. In order to successfully interact with a Minnesotan, you should try to be nice as well. Don’t be argumentative, raise your voice or brag about yourself. They’ll be confused and probably leave rather than make waves.
Additionally, try to be helpful. Offer assistance to people at the grocery store, even if you don’t work there. Always hold the door open for people. Cruise around in your truck during blizzards looking for people you can pull out of the ditch.
Here’s a hyperbolic take on how we like to act in the great white north:
2. Invitations should be extended three times
The worst crime for a Minnesotan is to put someone out, or inconvenience them in any way. When inviting a Minnesotan over for dinner, it’s common practice for them to refuse twice, to test out whether you are “just being nice” or are genuinely interested in their company. Minnesotan’s are culturally conditioned not to be someone people have to make a fuss over. It’s good character to be laid back, so indulge them.
3. Easy on the PDA
While Minnesotans are liberal with being congenial to everyone, they’re reserved in making big proclamations of love.
4. Sprinkle in some regional vernacular
Try inserting some extra “ooohhs” into conversation as a response to someone else telling a story. Refer to soda as “pop.”
Other phrases you might like to try include “no kidding?” “Uffdah” and when all else fails, “how ’bout them vikes?” A real money phrase when speaking to Minnesotans is “that’s different” because it shows you are listening and have an opinion, but isn’t divisive.
5. Tell an Ole and Lena joke
This is a joke series that exemplifies Minnesotan behavior, and as self-deprecating people, Minnesotans love them. Ole and Lena are a Norwegian couple living in Minnesota and are friends with a Swedish couple, Sven and his wife.
Ole is on his deathbed. The doctor has told him he has only a few hours to live. He catches the scent of his favorite bars wafting through the air. With all the strength he can muster, he drags himself into the kitchen and sees a fresh pan cooling on the rack. He cuts one out and bites into the scrumptious cookie. Lena comes in, smacks his hand, and says, “Shame on you, Ole! Dese are for after de funeral!”
Sven and Ole are roofing a house. Ole picks a nail out of the pan, examines it, and with a “nope” tosses it over his shoulder, picks up another one does the same thing, picks up a third and after examining it uses it to nail in the shingle. Sven seeing all of this exclaims, “Ole! what the hell are you doing, wasting nails like that?” Ole replies, “Well you see, those nails they’re pointing towards the house, I can use them. But these nails… they’re pointing away from the house, they’re useless.” “Ole you IDIOT!!” Sven replies, “those nails aren’t something you just throw ‘way willy nilly… those nails are for the other side of the house.”
Ole and Sven are at a funeral. Suddenly it occurs to Ole that he doesn’t remember the name of the dearly departed. Ole turns to Sven and asks: “Sven, could you remind me again who died?” Sven thinks for a moment and says, “I’m not sure,” Sven points at the casket, “…but I think it was de guy in de box.”
6. Goodbyes should take at least five minutes
When leaving a public place, like a church service or a Knights of Columbus hall, you need to make rounds and say goodbye to each person you know. When someone leaves your home you should walk them to their car and linger until you’ve said a lengthy, solid round of goodbyes.
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