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How to be Minnesota Nice: A Guide to Being a Good Person

Updated on February 13, 2015

Start the day with a smile, and end the day with saying "Have a good evening!". Here, where I live, Minnesota, this is our way of life-- it is Minnesota Nice. And the good news is anyone anywhere can learn to be "Minnesota Nice."

Being "Minnesota Nice" involves hospitality and making others feel welcome.
Being "Minnesota Nice" involves hospitality and making others feel welcome.

What is "Minnesota Nice"?

"Minnesota Nice" is an attitude. It involves being positive and sharing positive actions with others. All Minnesotans are not "Minnesota Nice", but many of us try to be. We try to look at the good things in life anf focus our attention on sharing and caring for and about others.

We "Minnesota Nice" people have learned what goes around comes around, and generally, if you are kind to others, they will be kind to you.

An explanation of "Minnesota Nice"

Smile! That's part of being "Minnesota Nice."
Smile! That's part of being "Minnesota Nice."

How to be "Minnesota Nice".

Smile. Take time to smile at everyone, even strangers. Why not? It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown, so smiling involves less effort.

Be friendly, even to strangers. As I walk down the street here in Minnesota I notice people are generally friendly. Even if they don't speak to you, usually Minnesotans acknowledge you with a nod, or a smile, or a "Hey." It's important to take time to recognize others because we all need attention, even if it's just a smile or a nod.

Be courteous. Some places opening doors for others is a thing of the past. Not in Minnesota. I work as a Security Ambassador, and part of my job focuses on hospitality; needless to say, I open a lot of doors for people. I must be courteous, and, more importantly, I want to be. After a few weeks working my job, I noticed the more doors I opened for others, the more doors others opened for me.

Use manners. For many being polite is a lost art. Many of us spend far too much time complaining, whining, and not being respectful of others. Using manners, and talking mannerly (not using profanity constantly, especially around the kids), is important because it demonstrates consideration of others. Part of "Minnesota Nice" is considering and using appropriate language in public.

Be neighborly. Wave and say "hi" to your neighbors, and they'll probably say "hi" back. This is how we establish a sense orf community. We ackowledge each other and show we care. Neighbors are not just the people next door, they are also the people who live down the street, or around the corner, or a few blocks over. It's so important to make connections with the people around you. Here in Minnesota this often involves talking about the weather -- the next rain, or the next heavy snowfall, or how beautiful today is. Sometimes we talk about fishin' too.

Lend a helping hand. If someone is struggling with a bundle of packages help them out. If someone accidentally drops something, let them know, or better yet, pick it up and give the item to them. If a disabled person is having a difficult time getting through a doorway, try to assist them. If you see a customer leave a bag at the checkout, try to get their attention.

Show concern for others. When you hear someone is ill or has suffered a loss, let them know you are thinking about them and ask if you can help them in any way. Oftentimes, there may not be any physical way you can help out the individual, but by asking them, you let the person know you sincerely care about them.

Share. Most importantly share your time. Take time acknowledge others. We live in a fast-paced world where effective communication is deteriorating. Sometimes we're too busy texting to take time to listen and look at the person talking to us. Share you time -- look and listen, say "hi", ackowledge others. Share a bit of yourself, and others will share with you. This is part of being "Minnesota Nice".

In the last 24 hours how many strangers have you smiled at

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Respect elders, always. Our elders have given us much, and they deserve respect and special attention. Recognize when they need assistance, and give them a helping hand. They cared for us when we were young, and now it is our turn to help them out and show them respect.

People all over the world are "Minnesota Nice", but here, in Minnesota, when winters are long and people are cooped up for days at time because the weather is bad and roads are impassable, we have learned to get along with each other. We practice "Minnesota Nice" because it makes life a lot easier.


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    • Julie A. Johnson profile image

      Julie A. Johnson 3 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Unfortunately, cranky people live everywhere. Hopefully as you meet other Minnesotans, you will find those who are "Minnesota Nice." Come to Duluth. We'd love for you to experience our friendly, outdoorsy town!

    • profile image

      Nanalie 3 years ago

      I would love to experience this Minnesota Nice I have heard so much about. But, unfortunately, I have moved to New Ulm, Mn A small town with many rude, grouchy, unfriendly people. They consider anyone not from here an Auslander which means outsider. Sad.

    • profile image

      mts1098 4 years ago

      Great job on explaining what nice means in MN - It is not the first time I heard the expression but this is the first time I read about it...cheers

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Yup! True story. I love the little 'you might be a minnesotan' jokes because they are all pretty close to the truth!

    • J Burgraff profile image

      J Burgraff 6 years ago

      Your hub made my day. If everyone could be polite to the next person, try to take a virtual "walk in their shoes", and just offer small kindnesses, the world would be a better place. We don't really know what the person walking down the street next to us is going through. If we open a door for them, smile, help them find something in the store, it may make a difference for them that starts to turn things around. I live in Oregon...that place where Minnesotans come to find other Minnesotans who don't like harsh winters!

    • profile image

      Julie 6 years ago

      And that is one of the many reasons I love Minnesota.

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      marellen 6 years ago

      Nice motto to live by anywhere. On Facebook this morning I seen a comment on others page about having manners and be courteous. Doesn't matter where you live smiling is a real icebreaker and something I do all the time. Most people respond in a positive smile back. Makes my day.