Midwest Etiquette

I recently read a few Instagram posts on strange and unique Midwest etiquette. It made me laugh. I’ve lived in the American Midwest most of my life and yes, these behaviors are accurate. Here are just a few silly things we do in the Midwest:

  1. If you are a Midwest man and your buddy helps you with home repairs or hauling furniture, the typical repayment for services rendered is a 30 pack of Busch Light.

2. If you are a Midwest woman and another Midwest woman compliments your blouse, your immediate response should be to say thank you and indicate where you got the blouse. Be sure to also inform whether you got it on discount or not. Midwesterners love discounted stuff. Then both of you should nod at each other approvingly.

3. If you are a MIdwesterner and you have been conversating with another MIdwesterner for a while but must leave, you should slap your knee lightly and say, “Well, I guess it’s about that time.” The other person should reply, “Yep, I guess so.” Or something similar to that in agreement. Then you should proceed to go to the door. Place your hand on the door knob and then turn and have another short conversation for about ten to fifteen minutes before you finally decide to go.

4. If you are on a gravel road and another Midwest driver drives up near you, It is customary to lift the four fingers of your driving hand at the other Midwest driver. For bonus measure, add a slight curt nod. Do not smile or wave your hand otherwise you will put the other Midwest driver on guard and they’ll mutter something under their breath like, “There’s something not quite right with that boy.” Also, if you refuse to show your four fingers to the other MIdwest driver, they will be offended.

5. Never try to out-nice a Midwesterner. We are notoriously known for being overly nice BUT if you try to out-nice a Midwesterner, they will fight ya. Consider the following scenario: A Midwest man holds a door open for another Midwesterner and smiles. He says, ” Go ahead.” But the other Midwesterner steps back politely and says, “No, no. You go first.” Then the first MIdwesterner will motion with his hand, ” No, please, I insist. You go first.” Now, the second Midwesterner will come back with the following comment, “No, it’s alright. You go.” At this point, the Midwesterner holding the door will exhibit an exasperated face and say, “Now look here pal……I said YOU GO FIRST!” To which the second Midwesterner will get suddenly taken aback and say, “Alright, alright….I guess.” The second Midwesterner will go promptly through the door but think to himself, “No need to get huffy!”

This strange contest of wills regarding Midwest niceness can be seen often at 4 way road stops, door entryways, and at all major Midwest airports.

6. Midwest men LOVE to strap stuff down in their truck. After ten to fifteen minutes of carefully strapping something down in the truck, the Midwest man will always slap the tightened strap lightly and turn to you and say, “That ain’t going nowhere.”

7. Midwest men answer the phone by saying either one of the following: “Yello.” This word is the colloquial term for Hello. Or if it is a close buddy, they will typically switch to Spanish and say something like this, “Que paso, amigo!”


Author: J. Speer

I like to write. I have 5 books currently on Amazon, mostly fiction. I try to write positive and uplifting children's stories, expressive poetry for women, and interesting articles about personal growth, alternative medicine, and spirituality. My stories are often about diverse people but with human connection in mind through inner perspective. I love my characters especially the ones from my first book, Searching for Fire. I moved recently to Vermont. I live in the North Country region near Lake Willoughby, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My heart will always be with Kansas but I love travel and meeting new people with diverse perspectives on life. I have found Vermonters to have many admirable qualities like stoicism and a love and stewardship of nature. My hobbies are writing, gardening, outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking. I am an amateur herbalist. Many years ago, an alternative medicine doctor cured me of a respiratory illness by teaching me about vitamins and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I recently bought a Jeep Wrangler that fits my personality and love for adventure. Associated with the military in my younger years, I have lived in Israel, Germany, and Virginia as well - all of which I loved in different ways. I thoroughly believe in the military spouse phrase, "bloom where you are planted" and endeavor to carry a positive optimism wherever I roam. Most days are good but admittedly I get down sometimes. I am prone to sadness or severe cynicism at times, so I turn to music as my consolation and source of expression or inspiration. My favorite songs currently are "How Deep is Your Love" by the Beegees, "La Vie en Rose", "A Million Dreams" or maybe Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You" or Elton John singing "Your Song." I also like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship or "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders. "Faithfully" by Journey always reminds me of rollerskating with friends in the 1980s. My favorite quotes are from the Velveteen Rabbit, Steve Jobs, and this one..."To the caterpillar it was the end of the world, but to the butterfly it was merely a beautiful beginning." Or there is the quote from Peter Pan teaching Wendy..."What if I fall? But, oh my darling, what if you fly?" I also believe in being a pearl - graceful on the outside but full of grit and gratitude on the inside. My favorite women of the Bible are Ruth, Hannah, and Hagar. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, friend.

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