Minnesota is known for lots of things: its lakes, being the healthiest (and now clearly the coldest) place to live, and for being the passive-aggressive capital of the world. My family is from NY and we are super direct (maybe too much so) – but I do know a few Minnesotans!
In Minnesota you are not supposed to tell another person how you actually feel. It’s considered “bad form” to share your personal life here in our great state. You can allude to how you feel but not say it directly. And, if you do, someone will appear as if they are listening politely but inside they are checking out how “bad” your outfit really is.
Minnesotans are so bold with false attention. Minnesotan’s version of false attention is amazingly obvious. I guess I’ve gotten used to it. That includes being good at talking behind someones back and at the same time making sure no one knows its us. We are too “nice” for that.
Let’s be honest here, what other place in the planet would you hear people say, (when they really do want to get off the phone or walk away from the conversation), “Well, I’ll let you go. You seem busy.” Love when I get that one!
For you transplants, someone once gave me some steps on learning to be passive aggressive (no comment on how well I’ve learned these!):
Step 1: Never show that you’re angry or frustrated. No matter how mad you are, you must maintain a blank face and your normal, relaxed posture. And for goodness sakes, do not let your words betray you either. Don’t worry, you will get your revenge later.
Step 2: Avoid conflict at all costs. Even if you hate the person’s idea or are repulsed by a person’s actions, avoid conflict. Talking about it will just make it worse.
Step 3: If you didn’t think of it yourself, or had a hand in making it, or grow up with it, be highly sceptical. Doubt that it could ever work. Doubt the idea is any good. Skepticism makes you brilliant.
Step 4: Performance review tomorrow? Maybe you’ve got a sudden “illness” or it’s too cold to go to work. Maybe have to do it another day.
Step 5: A colleague doing something incorrectly? Same mistake over and over again? Just sit back and watch the show (and by all means don’t say anything to them or help them out!).
Step 6: Cover up your own mistakes quickly. You must keep looking cool (but not too cool) so find a way to hide your mistakes before anyone notices.
Step 7: You want to let loose? You are only allowed to do it on family and a few close friends (if you have any left).
Have a great day today (she says with her “genuine” smile). 🙂 🙂