“Minnesota Nice” for Non-Minnesotans
For non-Minnesotans reading this blog, first a definition:
“Minnesota Nice” refers to the locals’ custom of being preternaturally pleasant on the surface . . . and seeming to be chilly and unavailable just below.
Non-natives, especially from bigger cities (like New York) invariably find the practice off-putting if not outright annoying; the most common complaint I hear is, “you never know where you stand.”
The runner-up? ‘it’s passive-aggressive.’
Meanwhile, natives like myself understand “Minnesota Nice” for what it is: a collective agreement to . . . be polite, at least on the surface.
How different in principle is that, really, than 100 strangers jammed into a subway car all tacitly agreeing not to make eye contact?
Ultimately, “Minnesota Nice” is really just a regional preference — a “default mechanism” — for managing social interaction on a mass scale.
As such, it’s no better, no worse (and certainly much less confrontational) than social styles in other parts of the country . . . or world.
What would you expect from a couple million, *stoic Scandinavians?? (still the most dominant ethnic heritage locally).
Minnesota Nice & Showing Feedback
So how does “Minnesota Nice” play out between Realtors?
A good example is the showing feedback form that Buyer’s agents are asked to complete after taking a client through a home.
I would say that some variation of the following easily represents 25% of the responses I get from Buyer’s agents on homes that I’m listing (representing the Seller):
How did your Buyer like the home overall? “Good.”
On a scale of 1-10, what was your opinion of the home’s condition? “7”
Floor plan? “8”
What did you think of the home’s price (pick one): Above market/at market/below market (this one always cracks me up) “at market”
Any future interest? “No”
Obviously, anyone who had continuing interest in my client’s home would be communicating that, in a variety of ways.
So, I don’t take umbrage at the above, or email or call the other agent hostilely asking for more.
I understand it for what it is: a “no thank you” — politely conveyed, to be sure.
*the joke about the long-time local Congressman (and quintessential Scandinavian) Martin Olav Sabo was that he once got so worked up over an issue that . . he almost spoke up about it!