Unlike with Midwesterners counterparts in the South or their neighbors to north in Canada, you have to put a little work in to experience genuine Midwestern friendliness. Once you do, though, a Midwesterner will be the first to get you anything you need, bring you a pasta bake during a time of need, or apologize when they’re in the wrong.
Midwesterners know that family comes first, and that’s a good thing. People don’t move away from their hometowns as often because they recognize that being surrounded by family is the best way to be surrounded by friends. Midwestern family bonds are unshakable and families love to visit at all hours of the day.
Southern hospitality may be a well-known trait, but the smile and introduction a Southerner will give you may not always be completely genuine. It may take a little bit longer for a Midwesterner to warm up to you, but once they do, they’ll always say hi or offer a helping hand.
If you’re down in the dumps, Midwesterners will always be the first to offer a helping hand and a full meal. If someone close to you has died, expect an offer of lasagna for the wake and a week’s worth of comforting, homemade casseroles for your dinners. If you’ve just given birth or you’ve been through any sort of tough time, from an illness to a bad breakup, a Midwesterner will always bring you a home-cooked meal filled with lots of cream, butter, and love.
Is someone sitting there? Is it OK that I parked out front? Do you mind if I have a glass of water from your fridge? If Midwesterners need something that may even slightly inconvenience you, they’ll check and double-check to make sure they have permission — and then they’ll apologize for interrupting your day.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the Golden Rule, and Midwesterners know it well. Whether it’s driven by religion or just a genuine concern for other people, people from the center of the U.S. will always try to treat others the way they want to be treated (which is with kindness).
Over-apologizing isn’t quite a signature trait for Midwesterners — our friends in Canada have that one covered —but Midwesterners are quick to accept the blame, apologize, and mean it. Did you bump into a Wisconsinite? Expect to hear a “sorry” for your own mistake.
If you’re out walking the dog and someone from your same neighborhood is walking in the opposite direction, they’ll wave to you. It doesn’t even matter that you’ve never met and will never exchange words; they’ll acknowledge you with a warm smile at the very least. And forget about going to the grocery store without engaging in a conversation.
According to a 2009 Corporation for National and Community Service study about volunteering habits, Midwesterners are the most likely to give up their valuable time to volunteer for something. It goes along with their work ethic, kindness, and love for their fellow man.
There’s a well-meaning but empty promise that people often make that I call “lunching.” Essentially, it’s telling someone, “Hey, we should get lunch sometime!” but they don’t actually ever intend on reaching out to you to grab a bite. But when Midwesterners offer to do yoga with you or grab a beer at the local watering hole to catch up, you can guarantee they’ll really follow up.