Everyone is friendlier than people from New Jersey.
I am a born and bred South Jersey girl, and honestly, I never really believed the above statement was true until I was away this past weekend. I drove oh so far away, it took a whole hour and fifteen minutes to get there and I crossed an actual state line, but I may as well have been in another country. I walked (like Forrest) around this little PA town and everyone (and when I say “everyone,” I mean EVERYONE) greeted me as I passed by. Fellow walkers, people on bikes, working people – every variety and age of human being said, “Hello” and/or asked How I was.
At one point, after walking for about an hour and having everyone and their brother (literally) acknowledge me in some way, I passed by a house where three adults were standing far back on the property in the middle of a discussion. As I came closer I thought to myself, they are totally gonna stop talking and say “hello” to me. And you know what? THEY DID.
People from New Jersey think they are friendly. We recognize that Southerners are certainly way higher up on the Friendliness scale than we are but other than that, I don’t think we actually believe the whole “New Jersey people aren’t friendly” thing.
We honestly believe that we are friendly.
I feel friendly. I talk to people in grocery lines. I smile at people walking by. I almost always at least say “Hi” if I pass a dog walker on the bike path. I even bring Welcome Gifts to new neighbors.
I truly believed, until this past weekend that is, that I was friendly. Maybe not Southern friendly, but friendly.
Traveling to another state shot that idea to crap. I realized that, yes, I AM friendly, but in a NJ friendly kind of way which probably doesn’t translate to other areas of the world as “friendliness” but to us New Jerseyians, it totally does. We get it.
For instance, if I am walking down the street and someone is passing by on the other side, I will politely ignore them so as not to disturb them from their internal revelry. NOT acknowledging a passerby so as not to disturb them, translates as friendly to a NJ person. If however, I am passing on the same side of the street as another person, I might nod and smile, I may even go so far as to say, “Hi.” And that right there is like Girl Scout Badge Award Winning Super Duper friendly in New Jerseyland. We are friendly in our own minds.
At least I am.