A foreigner turned to the internet to ask Americans what the differences are between the East Coast and West Coast, geography aside. The answers that followed were more than they bargained for.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
A Boston native describes having culture shock when they moved to California’s Bay Area. They remember being told they were far too direct when asked to critique projects. “People would literally pull me aside and ask me if I hated them,” they said.
2: Walking Speeds
“The West Coast loves to mosey and saunter and stroll,” observes a person who’s spent time with people from both coasts. “East Coasters tend to walk with purpose and agenda.”
3: Indoor vs Outdoor
A West Coast native says they were shocked to find how indoor-oriented East Coasters are. “My East Coast counterparts seem to just go to shops, restaurants, and bars all the time,” they observe. In contrast, “Most people out West like to get outside (camping, hiking, biking, running, etc.).”
4: Country Knowledge
To one West Coaster, the “most concerning” difference between the West and East Coasts is that “the East Coast has almost 0 knowledge of West Coast issues (climate disasters, politics, etc.), whereas West Coast knows a lot about the East since that’s where a majority of the major news corporations are.” They even had a coworker claim that California was the only state with a major fire in recent years. “Sir,” they said, “the West is literally on fire from June to September.”
5: We Don’t Hate Each Other
“In New England, you can hear two dear friends talking and think they were in a fight and hated each other,” observes an East Coast native. Many others agreed with the sentiment.
6: Suit for Who?
One person sums up East vs. West Coast differences in two sentences. “Wear a suit on the East Coast, and you’re the boss. Wear a suit on the West Coast, and you’re the boss’s driver.”
7: Nice or Kind
An East Coast native who now lives on the West Coast remembers someone saying, “‘An East Coaster is kind but not nice, and [a] West Coaster is nice but not kind.” Their opinion? “I feel there’s definitely some truth to this.”
8: All About the ‘Tude
A person’s attitude is the number one difference between the West and East Coast, according to one commenter. They believe “People from the West Coast seem to be more relaxed and chill.” On the other hand, East Coasters “are always in a mega rush and just wanna get to where they’re going.”
9: Work Culture
Several people cited the work culture being more intense on the East Coast than [on] the West Coast. ” It’s much more common to work late into the night and for your boss to have that expectation,” observes one person. The result? People are more competitive, there’s a bigger drinking culture, and people are more cynical, according to them.
10: Grabbing Coffee
Grabbing a coffee doesn’t look the same on the West and East Coast, observes an East Coaster. “When people say grab a coffee here, it refers to Dunkin’ or something like that.” In contrast, grabbing a coffee on the West Coast “means [at] a new age local coffee shop with trendy baristas.”
11: It’s Diluted
According to one traveler, West Coast culture has been diluted due to an enormous influx of East Coasters moving out West. “Some of the most insufferable people I’ve met out West were people from the East Coast,” they observe, citing how they complain about other cities and states as if they weren’t from there.
12: Toll Haven
The West Coast doesn’t have a lot of tolls, notes a native. In contrast, they were shocked to learn that there are tolls “everywhere” upon moving to Boston.
13: Appearance Isn’t Everything
A person from California says their family from Florida is “appalled at our lack of concern for fashion, or even general outward appearances.” They note that on the West Coast, “people can get away with having wild lawns or beat-up cars regardless of social class.” They see it as a good thing, saying there isn’t the pressure to keep up appearances for others like on the East Coast.
14: Free Range, Please
There’s a difference from a health and humanitarian standpoint between the West and East Coast, according to one person. They cite people on the West Coast as being more concerned about animals being free-range than on the East Coast.
People on the West Coast are “very laid back when it comes to punctuality,” observes a commenter. “On the East Coast, if you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late.”
16: To Dress Up or Down
Several people cited clothing as a major distinction between the East and West Coast, with East Coasters dressing up more for work and outings than West Coasters. One person who moved from Boston to Vegas couldn’t believe it when they went from jeans on Friday being only okay during the summer to casual Fridays equating to t-shirts and worn jeans. Other than that? “No one cared about the jeans” on other days, they said.
17: Turn Signals
An East Coaster who moved to California says they can’t get over how West Coasters don’t use their turn signals. One person commented that their friend from Southern California says, “‘Turn signals are a sign of weakness.'”
18: Acting Neighborly
A California native who moved to Boston said one of the most striking differences between the two coasts “is that on the West Coast, people would hardly say hi or wave in neighborhoods.” They’ve noticed much more “neighborly” behavior in Boston. That said, they note that “when you get into a deeper conversation [with an East Coaster], you hear a lot of prejudice, judgment, and anger come out.”
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