Why Does Everyone in Minnesota Do This When They Get a Compliment?
Let's act a out a little scene.
Person 1 to Person 2:
Person 1: "Oh my gosh I love your jacket!"
Person 2: "Thanks I got it on sale and even used some Kohl's cash on it."
Person 1: "Wow, what a great deal."
For whatever reason, in this state you have to reply to a compliment with a short story of how you acquired that item at a discounted price. But why do we do it?
Minnesota was settled by people mainly from Europe, with strong influence from Norway and Sweden. According to an article written by MPR News in 2012, there’s something in Scandinavian culture called the Law of Jante, a concept that values understatedness over backslapping.
The Law of Jante is a code of conduct in Nordic countries that portrays not conforming, doing things out of the ordinary, or being overtly personally ambitious as unworthy and inappropriate
Along with this comes a list of 10 rules:
- You're not to think you are anything special.
- You're not to think you are as good as we are.
- You're not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You're not to imagine yourself better than we are.
- You're not to think you know more than we do.
- You're not to think you are more important than we are.
- You're not to think you are good at anything.
- You're not to laugh at us.
- You're not to think anyone cares about you.
- You're not to think you can teach us anything.
So aligning this weird compliment habit we all have with this helps make a little more sense of it. We live in a land settled by people who were taught not to boast or brag, so when we are given a comment that is meant to make us feel better about something, we immediately take ourselves down a peg and talk about how cheap it was.
This is the only way I have found to explain this weird custom we all take part in. If you don't think about it too much, it makes sense.
Just one time I would like to say, "thank you", and walk away just to see if the other person explodes. But I won't do that because it wouldn't be Minnesota Nice.