Norwegians may use “Texas” as shorthand for “crazy,” but the actual origin of our state name tells a different tale. “Texas,” if you trace it back to the Native American usage, meant “friends,” hence our state motto—”Friendship.” And according to Travel + Leisure, our ancient moniker and the whole Southern hospitality thing precedes us.
For about half of a year, Travel + Leisure let users participate in its ninth America’s Favorite Place’s survey on their website. According to the magazine, the “readers ranked more than 400 cities and towns on 70 different features, from the best burgers and wine bars to festivals and free attractions for all ages. Survey voters also weighed in on the locals, ranking them for their apparent quirkiness, hotness, or charming geekiness.” So, the survey was meant to determine a number of things, but Texas got bragging rights as the friendliest state in the union.
Travel + Leisure readers ranked San Antonio as the friendliest city in the country. Houston earned a silver star at number two, and Fort Worth was number seven. A whopping thirteen out of the twenty states mentioned were located in either the South or Southwest. Still, on the other side of the spectrum, surveyors crowned Dallas the eighth rudest city in America.
Although these types of lists are fun, they’re also far from scientific. There isn’t a way to conduct a fair test in which all of the variables and methods are the same. Rather, they’re random vignettes of personal experiences. I mean, here’s the lede in Travel + Leisure‘s “Friendliest Cities” blog post:
Befriending strangers in Raleigh, North Carolina is easy work: “I was standing alone, waiting for my meal at a restaurant called Mami Nora’s and a fellow patron was like, ‘Ma’am, do you have anyone to sit with?’”
I’m sure not everyone that’s gone to North Carolina has had the same experience of being asked to dine with random people. I’m also not sure that everyone would be comfortable with that level of friendliness.
A similar study from about a year ago took geo-tagged tweets and used them to determine the cities most and least welcoming to tourists. This Twitter experiment found Arlingtonites hate tourists the most out of any city in the U.S. But how would you feel if you were just trying to live in an inexpensive Fort Worth suburb and the place turned itself into a giant Times Square? It’s not exactly something you signed up for, and it might drive you to publicly voice your annoyance more than places where tourism is a more obvious part of the deal. And it’s hard to blame Arlingtonites, anyway—traffic could make anyone a little “Texas.”