I’m from Wisconsin. Here are 11 things you should never say to someone from the Midwest.

I'm a proud Midwesterner.

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I’m a proud Midwesterner.
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Courtesy of Coren Feldman

When I tell people that I’m from Wisconsin, it always gets a reaction.

Whether I’m going about my business in New York City (my home for the last three years) or traveling abroad, anyone who’s not from the Midwest usually has lots of questions about where I grew up. Lots of the same questions.

Oftentimes, their inquiries show just how underrated and underappreciated the Midwest is.

Here are 11 things that Midwesterners like myself are tired of hearing.


“You’re from ‘flyover country.'”

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A rural farm in Iowa.
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Skatie Designs/Shutterstock

Some people call any part of the US that’s not the East or West Coast “flyover country.” It’s an elitist term indicating the belief that there’s nothing in the Midwest worth seeing or doing. Midwesterners are tired of hearing it.


“Do you live on a farm?”

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Not a typical Midwestern home.
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James.Pintar/Shutterstock

Are there farms in the Midwest? Yes. But there are farms in California and New York, too. Stop assuming that everyone from the Midwest lives on one.


“Do you have a pet cow?”

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Cows are adorable, it’s true.
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Eloy Alonso/Reuters

While it’s true that cows are adorable, most Midwesterners do not have cows as pets.


“Do you wake up to the sound of a rooster every morning?”

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A rooster crowing.
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Peter K Mueller/Shutterstock

Again with the farm thing. There are, in fact, alarm clocks in the Midwest.


“Do you drive a tractor?”

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Tractor traffic.
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Modfos / iStock

It’s not entirely unlikely in some parts of the Midwest to see a tractor driving alongside cars on a road. Again, that doesn’t mean that all of the Midwest is just farmland.


“Where is [insert name of city/state]?”

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Look at a map.
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Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock

Some “coasties” like to joke about not knowing where Midwestern cities or states are. Some of them genuinely don’t know.

If you didn’t have to memorize a map of all 50 states in grade school, it’s not too late to get acquainted with some of the lower 48. Look at a map and give us a break from having to convince people that our hometown does, in fact, exist.


“It gets really cold there.”

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The Chicago skyline during last year’s polar vortex.
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REUTERS/Pinar Istek

During last year’s polar vortex, some parts of the Midwest were colder than Antarctica. So yes, it gets very cold.

Read more: Parts of the Midwest are colder than Antarctica due to a polar vortex. Can you guess which photo was taken where?


“Illinois” (pronouncing the “S”)

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The “S” is silent.
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By formulanone/Wikimedia Commonsw

If you pronounce the “S” in “Illinois,” you may not insult anyone, but you will most likely get laughed at.


“Are there [insert minority] in the Midwest?”

The Midwest is more diverse than people think.

I grew up in a vibrant Jewish community in the Midwest with synagogues, schools, community centers, and even a few short-lived kosher restaurants. For some reason, people are always surprised to learn that there are Jews there at all.

It’s not all white people, either. About 10% of people in the Midwest are black, 8% are Hispanic, and 3% are Asian.


“Is everyone in the Midwest friendly?”

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People are nice there.
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pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/Shutterstock

Unless you ask annoying questions, yes. And even then, we’ll probably still be nice to you.

Midwestern hospitality is definitely a thing. Strangers will say hello to you on the street even if they don’t know you, which can be unsettling for people from big cities where that’s usually considered unwanted attention.


“There’s nothing to do in the Midwest.”

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The Milwaukee Art Museum.
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Checubus/Shutterstock

If you’ve never visited Milwaukee’s lakefront art museum designed by Santiago Calatrava, hiked through the otherworldly Badlands National Park, devoured a slice of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza, or shopped in one of Mall of America’s 520 stores in Minneapolis, you don’t get to say that the Midwest is “boring.”