The “Southern Friendly” Effect

The "Southern Friendly" Effect

When our team at Carolina Plantations hosts folks that are looking at Coastal NC for a possible place to retire to, many are quite stunned that when driving through communities where people randomly wave at us. “Are these people planted, Doug”?  No, in fact, most of them are former hardened and bitter northerners!

So, can it be? Can true yankees who trudge through life actually learn to smile and be friendly to strangers when they move south? Say it ain’t so, please!!

In the winter of 2002, Doug was an on-site agent for Winding River Plantation in Sublivia, (Supply & Bolivia) when he ventured to his home state of New Jersey for one of the Live South real estate shows. He manned a 10’ x 10’ booth solo for the weekend and quite often found people 3-4 deep listening to his presentation about life in Coastal NC.

One afternoon, a behemoth of a man in the 5th row towering over the rest of us mortals bellowed out something like “Those southerners really cannot be that friendly”. He repeats this to grab Doug’s attention and totally sucks the life out of his presentation, so he did something a bit out of the ordinary and walked around the crowd and stood toe to toe with him. The crowd was apprehensive, but Doug assure you, not nearly as much as he was! Anyway, he reached up and put Doug’s finger on his chest and said “Sir, do you know what the top benefit is for northerners who move to the south is”. He replied “No” and Doug continued with “most everyone of them learns how to be friendly!”

Well, the crowd quietly gasped and his small, diminutive wife looked at Doug and said, “thank you”, and Andre the Giant slowly disappeared into the crowd. In minutes he was back in front of the crowd with his large map extolling the highlights of living in Coastal North Carolina.

About five years ago, Doug was out on Long Island in Huntington to do a seminar on real estate when he found himself at the local grocery store. He just needed a few things, and after he circled around the parking lot twice looking for a spot to park, Doug’s blood pressure went through the roof. In North Carolina, we have thousands of parking places at our stores and unless it is Christmas at the mall, you will always find a parking place here! However, this incident hit him like a ton of bricks and helped Doug understand why Andre the Giant and millions of others up north could be grumpy people. It’s because there are just too many people living in a small, confined area. No matter where you go, it’s crowded. Church, barber shop, Yankees game, I-495/DC, LaGuardia, butcher, deli, hair salon, nails place, hardware store, LIE, I-80, bakery, Garden State Parkway, I-93, downtown Philly, etc. – they are all lined up out the door more often than not, right?

Doug’s guess is that the average northerner needs 6-12 months to unwind before they begin to wave to strangers driving past their home. Imagine if folks did that in Boston? There, you only wave to your family members and friends from high school. And FYI, the fines for unwanted waving are rather steep in Mass, esp. on the south shore…!

Crowds, traffic, long lines, horrible commutes, undependable public transportation, etc. make even the nicest of people a bit crabby – it’s just human nature. And the more we have to deal with the aforementioned, the crabbier we get, right? So, when you are living in states north of the Mason Dixon line and wind up heading to explore the palm tree lined communities of Coastal North Carolina, don’t be surprised to find many genuinely happy people! And why not, right? Here you can enjoy your own private parking place just about anywhere you go, plus experience virtually zero traffic and almost no lines, and friendly faces waiting to serve you. Heck, it’s no wonder that so many people add on years to their lives by moving to a warmer climate with lots of open space and almost zero crowds!

Over the years, Doug has had a number of clients come down, and due to their own stubbornness, have seen them wrestle with their transition for years while they hold onto their northern ways and attitudes. Eventually, they all accept the friendly and southern way of life or, United Van Lines just found another return customer!

So, when you come down to visit us here in Coastal North Carolina, don’t be surprised if some of those people waving to us as we drive through the communities were some of the meanest, ornery and bitter people on the planet just two years ago!! We hope that we at Carolina Plantations can help you and your family find the perfect home on Coastal North Carolina!

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