Since moving here in 2006, I have held the belief that Lehigh Valley natives are nice, but not friendly.
True, there are exceptions. The friends who go above and beyond, the neighbors who are now like extended family members, the co-workers who show they truly care. And also - the guy who took the time to roll down his window and lecture me about how stupid I was for letting people go at an intersection (where I would have sat at a red light and they would have waited forever), and another guy who verbally assaulted me for "nearly killing him" when he and his wife stepped into my path in a parking garage without looking. (BTW, the wife looked mortified and I felt worse for her than I did for myself). There's no knowing whether those two men - I won't call them gentlemen because they didn't behave like gentlemen - are natives or transplants. But I would be willing to bet that most people who have lived anywhere with real traffic problems would not get so bent out of shape.
I digress. Recently my nice-not-friendly belief was reinforced when my 92-year-old grandmother moved from the senior community where she lived in New Jersey to an assisted living community here in the Valley. When I asked her what she thought of the place, she seemed pleased with the staff and the facility, but remarked that although people say hello in the hallway and make a little small talk at the dinner table, not one person has reached out in a friendly way to make her feel welcome.
It made me sad, since she's "the new kid" and is still figuring out how things work there. Maybe they all think someone else will be her friend. Maybe they think she's weird since she's not from here. Or maybe, more likely, they don't think about it at all. I think that's the case with many natives. They have their friends and family close by. Work, school, church, soccer, birthday parties, repeat. No room or real need for new friends who don't fit in their tightly knit circle. And when you're 92 or thereabouts, I guess you have a network so deep you don't even notice the new kid.
Natives, what do you think? Transplants, what's your experience been?