Coloradans – Friendly, Yet Reserved

I’ve visited Colorado many times over the course of my life; everywhere from resort towns to rural areas, ski slopes to national forests. Each time I go, I find myself slightly confused when interacting with the people there. Sometimes I’m baffled by their seemingly unfriendly nature, and other times I’ve felt downright disrespected.

Maybe it’s just all in my head…

Or maybe not.

Even though I have been around a generous assortment of Coloradans, I realize that some certainly can’t speak for all, but honestly, it seems as though they have a very limited interest in talking to other people – At least when it comes to small chit-chat.

That I can respect.

But being from Texas, considered to be one of the most friendly states, it’s a bit of a shock when you seem to be the only one walking around asking people how their day is, or how they’re doing. Eventually, I don’t even want to ask, and I find myself refraining from my “natural” behavior. I would definitely consider myself to be friendly, but I wouldn’t say outgoing, at least by Texas standards. In Colorado, I feel as though I stick out like a sore thumb just for saying hello to a stranger!

Don’t get me wrong, people in Colorado are very friendly, but just a lot more reserved. Frankly, after stopping by Colorado again, I got a reminder of just how fake and insincere the standard, “how are you?” really is. If you’ve ever worked in service or retail industries, you especially know what I’m talking about. You will typically be required to interact with customers (surprise, surprise); however, let’s be honest – After the 15th interaction you really don’t care how they’re doing, do you?

Honestly, do you?

It really holds no weight anymore at that point.

What’s more, is that they don’t care that you asked. I ask each customer, or anyone in any setting for that matter, the same thing, and they will typically give me the exact same reply – “Good, and you?”

To which I’ll reply with the same damn thing, no matter what my mood actually is! The worst part is that in Texas, if you don’t say it, then it would be out of the ordinary. So even though no one seems to really care, they still expect it as a formality.

So maybe the Coloradans are onto something. They are a straight forward people, in a world full of pointless fabrication.

For instance, I stopped by a woodworking yard today to look at a few finished cabins in hopes to understand a bit more as to how they are constructed. We pulled into the yard and were followed by a woman in a truck. She rolled up and shouted, “What are you doing?” from inside her truck. It didn’t seem very inviting. I simply stated I was looking at a particular cabin, to which she said she built it and eagerly helped me out and answered any questions I had.

All-in-all, the initial contact was rough around the edges, but the actual conversation was the same as anywhere else.

Sure, forcing small conversation prior to hitting the main point is a great icebreaker and can build the framework to the beginning of a social relationship, no matter how short-lived, but sometimes it’s really unnecessary.

I never thought that just a few states away social interaction could occasionally be so much different, but I guess that’s just a testament to the social and cultural diversity of America.

If you’re from Colorado and disagree, please let me know what you have to say. I’m also curious to know if you see Texans as more outgoing or maybe even a little obnoxious.

If you’ve had similar experiences as I have, please assure me I’m not just losing my mind!

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2 thoughts on “Coloradans – Friendly, Yet Reserved

  1. hi –
    i have lived in colorado off and on my whole life. i keep coming back, so there’s something to be said about that. but what i find very unsettling is the fact that i don’t find a lot of people who really get down to the REAL stuff… i guess in general “reserved” is a good way of explaining it… maybe they are just not as conscious or spiritually-aware as i wish, i don’t know. i can’t tell if it’s me or if this place has become so transient that it’s hard to tell… denver in particular used to be a “big small town” – they called it. now it just seems foreign to me. of course, i did spend 3 years in NYC recently and so i know part of what changed is me. i heard someone say they believed a lot of people here are actually kind of depressed, despite the rap we get for being so upbeat and healthy, due to the sun exposure. but ultimately, as a native coloradoan… i just think this place lacks a little SOUL, a little flavour – dare i say i find colorado to be a little vanilla… it’s beautiful no doubt – wonderful scenery and nature is the saving grace {which is why i moved to the mountains}, but overall – your observations are pretty freaking accurate, in my opinion 🙂 particularly the “how are you” reference – nothing drives me more mad! i have come to realize that people just say it, it’s like a greeting, not an actual concerning question for how the other person is feeling. so i’ve had to learn to stop taking it personally…
    thanks for posting this – from an outsider’s perspective, it was really interesting and refreshing to read! i don’t know if it is a texas versus colorado issue – but i do think colorado in general houses some very interesting people and a bizarre lack of real culture. but – nature, again… is the reason i stay!

    • Thanks so much for your reply.
      I’m really happy it struck a chord with you!
      Maybe you’re right – It could be that Colorado can be a little vanilla at times, at least in terms of culture. It’s as if they let the nature do all the talking, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Nature is the reason I go, not to get close to and meet other people. Maybe at the end of the day there’s some sort of understood notion that you came for the nature, not the people. By moving somewhere for nature, maybe you lose just a little bit of that social aspect and eventually it just kind turns into a culturally accepted value. I could be way off, but who knows!

      At the very least, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way!

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