Minneapolis can be a warm, welcoming place -- provided you’ve been here forever.
Anyone who’s moved here from someplace else can tell you the reception is, on average, about as warm as…a Minneapolis winter. If you haven’t known its residents since high school, good luck making friends.
Now we know the city may be at least a little self-aware when it comes to its frigidity. A recent poll from YouGov Citybus, a “global public opinion and data company,” according to its website, shows most Minneapolitans know they’re cold.
Residents of the 20 most populous metropolitan areas were asked how welcoming they are to people of “different backgrounds and cultures.” Houston, with 85 percent of its residents characterizing the city as “very” or “somewhat” welcoming, rated itself at the top. Minneapolis put itself at No. 19, with 72 percent. Meanwhile, 21 percent characterized the city as “very” or “somewhat” unwelcoming.
The survey was quick to point out that that’s “roughly one in five residents.”
Why is Minneapolis such a cliquey place? We’ve tried to puzzle this out before. Maybe it’s our state’s supposed politeness and reserved demeanor -- a kind of passive-aggressive, standoffish behavior many of us have taken to calling “nice.”
Maybe it’s our particular brand of Swedish/Norwegian whiteness (about 65 percent of the city’s residents are white), which draws on centuries of sharing a language, a religion, a king, and probably, a kindergarten teacher.
Maybe it’s because so few of us tend to leave, and therefore don’t understand what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land. There’s been an increase in border swaps with Wisconsin in the last century or so, but for decades, the state has “retained the same high share” (about 72 percent) “of its native population.”
Whatever the reason, we know this: The city is well aware that when it comes to newcomers, we can be real jerks. The only city Minneapolis managed to top in YouGov’s survey was Phoenix, where only 69 percent of the residents say the city is welcoming, and 11 percent are just “not sure.”
If you happen to be a long-time Minneapolitan, perhaps take this as a cue to be nicer to the new guy in your office, or to realize that there are cooler people out there than your buddy Dave from the third grade. You might just make a friend or two.