Minnesota Nice: “Well, that’s…interesting.”

Minnesota Life: It snows in April.
Minnesota Life: It snows in April.

I’ve met another set of transplants. They moved here from Tennessee. More from-the-south friends! I’ve had several of those…they don’t last very long here on the tundra. 🙂 We got to talking about phraseology. (Is that a word? I may have just made that up.) I should’ve been a linguist because one of my favorite things about any new place or person is their dialect, accent, and colloquial vocabulary. A phrase that came up was, “Bless his/her heart.” In the south, if you say that about someone, it is not a blessing at all. It isn’t even anything nice. It’s an offhanded way to say, “That idiot. I can’t believe what she/he did/said, etc.”

Which brought us to an altruistic Minnesotism, “Well, that’s…interesting.” Another gem. My friends from Tennessee have already experienced this one. When a Minnesotan says, “Well, that’s…interesting,” they don’t mean it’s interesting at all. They may mean, “Holy crap, what is she wearing???” or, “Oh my gosh. Can you believe he said that?” or, “I would never in a million years act that way.” But interesting? No, not so much.

Do you know what we say out east if you are wearing something we don’t prefer? We might say, “Ummm, WHAT are you WEARING?” or if someone says something we don’t understand you might hear us ask, “What the hell are you talking about????” Or if someone has a weird idea we may exclaim, “Well, that’s bizarre!”

Rude? Sometimes. Honest? Always. Why not be honest? And although I am getting used to it, the tendency towards passive-aggressiveness here in my not-so-new-anymore state still troubles me. Niceness to a fault or,  as one of Chris’s (my Hubs) not-from-here professors at the University of Minnesota once said, “a pathological need to be nice,” still strikes me as worse than a tendency towards being too blunt at times. Blunt can always be followed by an apology, but I stand a greater chance of helping you be a better you by being honest with my opinions than by never telling you anything more than, “Well, that’s…interesting.” 🙂

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