Are Chicagoans Friendly?

Are Chicagoans Friendly?
Talk, talk

How do you react when somebody, a stranger, tries to strike up a conversation with you?

Suppose you are standing at the bus stop, or eating lunch or having a drink at a watering hole?

Do you automatically think, “What’s the scam”, or “This guy ain’t going to get to first base with me”?

Why is it that most people in Chicago will walk with heads bent and not make eye contact with others on the street?


I have had to travel most of the US and to many foreign countries for work, and, I hate to admit it, but Chicago seems the most unfriendly of cities.  I have struck up idle conversations in New York, Cairo, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Indianapolis and Paris, Illinois, etc., and have had good experiences, just shooting the breeze, even if there are language difficulties.

In Chicago, you start an idle conversation and you get the brush off, more often than not.  This is an asexual thing, too, with men and women both mumbling the briefest of replies and then suddenly getting busy with their smart phones.

So, maybe I am a bore or boorish. Okay, I can accept that my conversation may not sparkle one hundred percent of the time, but that only seems to be in Chicago.

Why is Chicago so unfriendly?




Filed under: Uncategorized


Leave a comment
  • Are Chicagoans unfriendly? Yes and no.

    Yes, because we live in one of the most crime infested cities in the US. We live in a place where we can get robbed at any time of the day. Depending on what side of town you're on (usually the South and West side) you might even get shot. (The funeral shooting a few days ago comes to mind) And I know that's not an excuse but imagine growing up in a city where you're told to hold your head down to avoid the crazies which, have you rode the Red line lately? I've seen a guy masturbate on the train at approx. 6:48 am.

    Even with all that I still find moments where Chicago is amazingly friendly. I find it's a lot easier to get networking opportunities which isn't available in other cities. And as a fellow blogger it's refreshing to be able to directly speak with the owner of a business without it coming off as pretentious. Everyday people surprise me like keeping a spot in line when I step out or taking multiple pictures for me.

    So yes, because of the times that we live in our citizens can come off snotty but if we give them an opportunity they can surprise us.

  • In reply to 4-Star Explorer:

    4-Star, I wrote about that shooting, and I don't have to imagine growing up in a situation where the crazies walk around shouting and talking to themselves, because I was there in real time.

    I made a pledge to myself about public transportation, after riding it as a kid and young adult:: that once I could afford wheels and keep them going, I was no-way-no-how going to get on anything that I couldn't turn a key to make move, so fortunately I have not had to witness the jerking-off crazies.

    Some places in Chicago surprise me too: Most surprising is that I find the south and west sides friendlier than those who live north and generally define who we are.

  • Maybe it's you.
    I find Chicago to be the friendliest big city in the US; certainly better than NYC, Miami (eek!) or L.A.; you can get directions or help without fear of having a game run on you or of being robbed. As far as starting up conversations with strangers...we mind our own business in Chicago and it has always been that way. I was born in 1954 and as far back as I can remember, minding your own business was a great way to avoid conflicts. I've seen people come to the rescue of another and I've seen people ignore domestic conflicts. I've seen older people tell younger ones to STFU and no one got shot. But Chicagoans are very picky about who they attach themselves to because we have a tendency to make friends for life.

  • In reply to Horusbedhetys:

    Horusbedhetys, it could be me. I'm not the prettiest thing to look at and some people might feel I'm running a game on them if I smile and try to be too friendly. Or it could be bad breath.

    You make some good points, especially about somebody thinking they are having a game run on them. I think that myself, but usually you can tell in three seconds if that's true. In mutual, unthreatening settings, I still find it more easy to talk to any New Yorker or somebody from Quincy, Illinois, than right here at home.

    Maybe it is because we know that the people who run the city are scammers, and fear that they could be the "somebody that somebody sent".

  • fb_avatar

    Being someone who recently moved to Chicago from another large city, I agree, Chicago is very unfriendly. People in checkouts at stores, people on the streets, people everywhere here never, or hardly ever, make eye contact or smile or anything. Its so bizarre! I understand that after a certain time in a large city we sort of become immune to humanity-the crazies, the crime, the noise, the sounds, we just sort of block it out for our own sanity. But Chicago is different. People here are different. But different by how much from New Yorkers, Bostonians, whatever---hard to say. But there certainly is a vibe in the air or unfriendliness. Growing up in Detroit, I found people were far more friendly than here and thats Detroit! Way more crime in Detroit than Chicago.

Leave a comment