I’ve lived in Florida for nearly 4 years now and have noticed quite a bit of resentment toward visitors and snowbirds – generally speaking.
At first I found it very surprising. Floridians live in the only tropical (okay, actually sub-tropical for most of the state, but tropical in South Florida) state that you can drive to! Why wouldn’t they be happy? It’s sunny most of the time, the sky is nice and blue, there’s lots of water to boat and fish on, and compared to many parts of the country the cost of living is not extremely high. Why wouldn’t they be happy?
Here’s a few reasons I have come to understand about Floridians and living in Florida over these years. But better yet, what YOU can do about them if you visit Florida.
1. Floridians hate your rules
Nearly all the rules in Florida were created by northerners who moved down and then wanted to change Florida to be how they wanted it.
What you can do: Don’t try to change Florida. For better or worse. Just enjoy it for what it is.
2. You might not be cold in the Florida “winter”, but they are.
Floridians are used to hot and humid for much of the year. Anything below 75 is generally cold to Floridians.
What you can do: Don’t comment about Floridians wearing jackets, boots or jeans. Or anything to do with how it’s so nice and warm when you can clearly see Floridians are bundled up.
3. Northerners make Florida way too crowded
In the winter when so many vacationers and snowbirds come down, there are places in Florida where the population is literally 10 times the amount it is in August.
What you can do: Stay up north! If that’s unacceptable at least read the other stuff here and try to be a happy, delightful visitor.
4. Many Northerners can’t drive
It is amazing to Floridians that Northerners could once drive in snow, ice and other northern storms yet a little winter rain down here (which is nothing compared to the summer storms) causes havoc for them. Not to mention all those people driving around looking at something – anything – besides where they are going. I don’t think I need to expand on the 20mph-under-speed-limit lane campers, do I?
Oh, and Wilma. You might be able to stop in the middle lane of “traffic” in Backwoods, Wisconsin to make a left turn. It’s really NOT a good idea here. One day, one of these crackers is going to plow through you with their 2-foot lifted diesel truck.
What you can do: Take a cab, mass transit, or really, really learn how to drive. Don’t camp in the left lane. Don’t drive under the speed limit, and pay attention!
5. You may be on vacation, but they aren’t
Most of Florida caters in one way or another to tourism and snowbirds. Be that anywhere from hospitality to healthcare and construction, many Floridians earn their income during peak season. They not only resent that they have to work at this time, but combine that with people driving around on vacation, blocking roads and making their favorite restaurants too crowded is enough to make most of them grumpy.
What you can do: Don’t go meandering around during rush hour. Remember that the guy in traffic behind you needs to get somewhere on time and is probably already late. Don’t show up somewhere 5 minutes before they close.
6. Northerners are RUDE
This is the Floridian perception (or stereotype) of most northerners. While that isn’t always the case, there are definitely a lot of demading, entitled acting visitors who seem to feel Florida owes them something for gracing the state with their presence and dollars.
What you can do: Be polite! Say hello, good morning, thank you and all those things your momma (should have) taught you. Open doors for people. Smile. Don’t interrupt. Wait your turn. Don’t cut people off in traffic. And so on…
7. Northerners are more wealthy. Or try to act that way
When Floridians deal with northerners who are blowing money and acting like entitled jerks, this really gets under their skin. No one likes to have someone who has a lot more money than they do flaunt it all the time. Considering most Floridians work in an industry that serves northerners, they see this activity all the time.
What you can do: Don’t try to “be someone” here. Telling your hair stylist or golf caddy about how difficult it is to find a good housekeeper or how the new Bentley you just bought gets bad gas mileage won’t help. Be down to earth, and realize rich-people-problems don’t affect most of the people you may come in contact with.
8. Northerners are CHEAP
Despite their money, many Northerners are incredibly cheap. Just ask those who work in the service industry doing things such as waiting tables or bar-tending who get NO TIP from a large percentage of people. Combining this with the fact they come to Florida to flaunt their money is enough to irritate anyone of lower social economic status.
What you can do: Don’t be CHEAP! Tip well. 20% is a minimum. If you can afford to visit Florida, budget to share some of your finances with those who attempt to make your visit here pleasant.
9. No one in Florida cares what you do up north
Floridians don’t care that you own a car dealership your daddy gave you. You’re just like the next guy at the table/house next door who has a different car dealership. Because many Northerners who think they are big-shots back home are put into an environment where there are so many just-as-big or way-bigger big shots around they feel they need to let everyone around them know just how much of a big shot they are. Floridians don’t care. They just want you to eat your dinner, tip well and go home. Or in the case of healthcare, just quit complaining and get your lasik surgery or wife’s boobs done and go home.
What you can do: Don’t talk about who you think you are or what you did/do up north. Talk about important things like what a nice day it is outside (but don’t say warm) and how fortunate you are to be able to visit this beautiful place Floridians are sharing with you.
10. Floridians don’t want to hear how “back home” is so much better
Sure, you miss Billy-Jean’s ice cream shop, Guido’s Pizza and that one special massage parlor while you’re down here. Maybe even how you can stop your car in the middle of country road BFE to talk with good-ole-no-teeth without someone honking. The last thing a Floridian wants to hear is how you miss something back home or how home is so much better than Florida in any way. They would much rather you just… leave. Immediately.
What you can do: Don’t compare anything in Florida with something back home. Explore. Find the hidden gems here and share them with Floridians. Please don’t tell all your Northern friends about them. Floridians want to keep some places just for themselves. It’s important to their sanity.
11. You’re stealing all their fish
Florida is the fishing capital of the world. Floridians hate that you come down, load up on fish and go home. This is how the rest of Florida – those not involved in catering to visitors – earns their living.
What you can do: Catch and release please. Don’t poach! Don’t freeze fish to take back home. Share some of your catch with the dockhand at the marina where your boat is kept.
12. Your 2nd, 3rd, or 10th House is driving real estate prices up
About 90% (hardly scientific, I just made this up) of the real estate in Florida is owned as vacation rentals, private vacation homes, or just a really expensive house to use as a war-chest in the event of bankruptcy. Floridians can’t stand seeing these houses that are worth more than their entire neighborhood just sitting there not being used while they pay “Their Fair Share” in taxes.
What you can do: Buy a rental property and rent it for long term tenants at a reasonable rate. Fair priced rental housing in good condition is in short supply.
13. Every campground, state park and RV park is full
There is literally no place for a Floridian to camp in all of Florida for 6 months besides a Walmart parking lot. Even if a Floridian found a place, the price will be about 8 times more than it costs in April.
What you can do: Don’t book your entire trip hopping from one campground to another and back. Clean up after yourself and don’t leave trash behind. Thank your camp host.
14. Grocery shopping is as dangerous as walking after through an Iraqi minefield.
If you thought Northerner’s couldn’t drive, just wait till you see how they push their grocery carts. Most Floridians resort to ordering everything they can online or going to the grocery at midnight.
What you can do: Don’t block the aisles. Watch where you’re going. When you’re shopping, look around and see if what you’re doing is getting in someone else’s way.
15. What used to be a relaxing day on the water…
…turns into a soap opera watching boaters with no understanding of: tidal waters, navigational beacons, VHF etiquite, shallow water obstructions, the size of your boat wake or just about anything else to do with boats works.
What you can do: Don’t be a jerk. Learn how to drive a boat, use your VHF and navigational rules of the water. Be respectful of other boaters including kayakers, paddle boarders. Don’t zoom past people stopped who are fishing – slow down and give them space. Understand that you’re throwing a wake and be aware of what it will affect – you are legally responsible for it.
16. Crossing the street is like playing Frogger in real life
It doesn’t matter what color the light is, being on foot or on a bike in Florida is best done May through October.
What you can do: Yield to pedestrians and bikes. It’s the law to do so in crosswalks, but do so everywhere. Pay attention to pedestrian traffic when turning. Don’t be a distracted driver.
17. Northerners Complain about EVERYTHING
Mail was delivered too early. Mail was delivered too late. Their coffee was too hot. Their coffee isn’t the same brand as back home. Florida is too hot in the winter. Whatever. It seems like many Northerners don’t know how to just be happy with anything.
What you can do: Stop complaining! Life is what you make it. If you can’t be happy, please don’t go around sharing your misery.
18. Northerners bring their problems with them
While the idea of escaping life’s problems sounds incredibly appealing, even to Floridians, the reality is that many people either are their own problems, or carry them to every part of their life. Just changing location isn’t going to make someone happy magically. Many Northerners haven’t figured this out yet.
What you can do: If coming to Florida didn’t solve your problems, then consider going back and dealing with them. Once you’ve got them fixed, then move wherever you want to but don’t run away from them only to bring them as baggage.
19. Floridians don’t care about your family problems
Wives and husbands bickering in public about whether they should go back to visit their northern family for the holidays, and how so and so hates one another and the wife wants to stay and the husband doesn’t is enough to make just about every Floridian irritated. They don’t want to overhear your unhappy relationship.
What you can do: Please keep your personal life personal. If you don’t have anything good to say…
20. That guy on the beach in a speedo
What you can do: Never, ever wear a speedo. If you’re a woman with a nice body, wear a flattering bathing suit to help Floridians purge the previous image from their mind forever.
I’m sure I missed some. What are they?
Leave a comment and let me know!