Updated Sep 9, 2021 - Things to Do

Survey: Making friends in the Twin Cities is hard

What is your current attitude toward the number of friends you have in Twin Cities?
Data: Axios poll; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Despite Twin Cities dwellers' best efforts, the region is not the easiest place to make friends — and Minnesotans tend to stick together, according to the roughly 750 Axios Twin Cities readers who filled out our informal survey.

Why it matters: Friendships are on the decline nationally, Axios' Mike Allen reported in July. Only 13% of U.S. adults reported having 10 or more close friends in 2021, versus 33% in 1990, according to May polling by the Survey Center on American Life.

  • Some newcomers say Minnesotans can be "cold," and the pandemic has only worsened the problem. Plus: The business community worries about retaining and recruiting workers if people have a hard time fitting in.

By the numbers: 71% of the respondents to our friendship survey, conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 3, said it's hard to make friends in the Twin Cities, despite 96% reporting to have attempted to make friends in the area.

  • Nearly half of the 450 respondents who grew up in Minnesota said most of their friends are also from here.
  • Meanwhile, only 20% of the 420 respondents who identified as transplants reported most of their friends were from Minnesota.

At least one reason: Many said Minnesotans stick to the friends they grew up with.

  • "Minnesotans aren't cold or unpleasant, just dedicated to their existing friend groups and there's no more room at the inn." — ​​David H.
  • "Hard to break into friend groups that have been together since high school." — Eric S.
  • "Native Minnesotans aren't looking for friends. They're very tribal and stick with people they've known their whole life." — Andrew S.

The other side: Some respondents said they haven't had issues — you just have to know where to look.

  • "It's about putting yourself out there. Friends are made through work, volunteering, at the gym or other ways like meeting friends of friends, joining a group that shares similar interests." — Linda B.
  • "It takes effort once you're beyond your last year of school, but that holds true regardless of the 'where.' It's as easy to find groups and events here as anywhere else, if not more so." — Dan W.

Our thought bubble:

  • Audrey moved here for college four years ago, so her friend group is still an even split of Minnesotans/non-Minnesotans. She has yet to receive the ultimate sign of acceptance: a cabin invite.
  • Torey found it easier to make friends with fellow transplants after her 2017 move. She'll note that while she and her husband love to host, very few native Minnesotans have invited them into their own homes!
  • As a lifelong resident, Nick has heard a common joke from outsiders that it takes seven years to get invited into a Minnesotan's home. This is silly, but also partially true for a metro area that doesn't attract a lot of transplants — or lose a lot of people to other cities — in the first place. We need to get better.

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