Saturday, October 07, 2006

east/west coasters

so i had this sort of story about how west coasters are friendly on the surface but below that kind of hard whereas east coasters had a rougher surface but kindness and loyalty beneath. tonight i met this danish guy who has the opposite perspective. someone please tell me what to think! i don't know what stereotypes to operate under anymore. arghhhh!


Nani said...

I think it would be nice to operate under no stereotypes, but I don't know if it's possible. We always have our preconceived notion of things and people - based on our experiences and observations.

Talking about experiences and observations, based on mine, I have found at least San Franciscans (I don't know if it's a west coast thing) are friendly but flaky. I remember during my first few months, or even years, here, I made a constant mistake that when people said "let's get together," they actually meant it. To this day I am still very frustrated about this - part of it is that there are so many events and going ons in the city, and another part is perhaps just the perpetuation of this flakiness. I mean, I think I am more flaky than, say, five years ago. Part of it, at least with me, has to do with the fact that sometimes I imagine myself to be a social person, or a person that wants company, say, on Friday... and then when Friday does come I no longer feel this way anymore, or that when I am actually with people, I feel like I would rather do something else.

I wonder also if attitudes toward work and money in the two coasts are different... I don't know.

Anyway, since I have never lived in the east coast, I don't know what people are like there. So I can only speak from my SF Bay Area experiences/ observations!

Nani said...

By perpetuation of flakiness this is what I mean: because when I got here I met flaky people, I sort of "learned"- maybe not so consciously- that flaky behavior is tolerated and is something that everyone does. And another thing is the simple fact - although not everyone agrees on this I am sure - that it's just so much nicer to end a meeting or say goodbye with "I'd love to hang out with you sometime" than just a simple bye without any sense of continuity that gives comfort to some people, however imaginary this comfort is. This is more of the psychological aspect of it, I guess. Does this make sense?

As you can tell, I am very interested in this behavior - it is rather complex and can noy be explained by a single answer.

Regardless, genuine kindness and loyalty are qualities that are rare to find in people - perhaps no matter where we are... ?

Boaz said...

Thanks for the comments Nani.
I have less distance and perspective from what you describe as flakiness, since I grew up there. But I do notice this issue of wanting to keep people happy and sort of keep possibilities open and so not be rude. This combined with being a person who likes to keep his promises causes problems sometimes, because I feel burdened by too many unfulfilled comittments. So. like you point out, its easier to be flaky if you have this "keep people happy" philosophy.
But it also sounds like you're talking about misunderstanding. "We should get together soon" can mean anything from "I plan to call you" to "if I happen to see you in the street, I'll wave..." I guess you just have to get to know people before you know how on the spectrum to interpret what they say. But I agree that "I'd love to hang out with you sometime" should really mean something.
As far as where east coasters lie on the flakiness spectrum, I've mainly just interacted with scientists/engineers. They don't seem that different from others I've worked with.