The Niceties of Texas

by Philip M Cruts



The State of Texas has always been known for her friendly people. I never knew anywhere else was different until I went to New England to see my wife. I walked into a store and asked the clerk how she was doing and I received the strangest look. I could tell she was trying to figure out if she knew me or not. Some places just aren’t used to Southern hospitality.


I made the move from The Panhandle to The Hill Country 15 years ago. The difference was astounding! I remember the first time I was driving down the highway and someone pulled over to let me pass. I had never seen this before and I knew I had found my new home. The people of Central Texas were the friendliest group of people I had ever encountered. When you walked into a convenience store to get a coke, you were greeted by whatever clerk happened to be on duty that day. It didn’t matter what they were doing, they stopped to say “hi”, “good morning”, or “how are you?”, but that was 15 years ago.

texting-while-driving-not-just-a-teen-issue-report--44483d2ab4I’m seeing less and less of the friendly Texas attitude and it’s being replaced by a nonchalant, it’s all about me attitude. My wife and I went into a convenience store recently and wanted to order a burger. Two clerks who were in their early twenties were standing at the counter. We proceeded to the deli counter and stood for several minutes before politely asking the clerk (who was texting) if there was anyone who could help us. She rolled her eyes and came over. Now, I’m a very patient man, but I’m also big on customer service. It almost seems like clerks think they’re doing you a favor by allowing you to have them ring you up. There are 7 other stores in our small town. I’ll do her the favor of shopping at one of them.

I’ve always been proud of waving and being waved at by other drivers. And when someone lets me pass, I always wave as a simple courtesy. I’ve seen the wave, I’ve seen the brake tap, and I’ve seen the flashers, but I’m also seeing less and less of each. I was on my way from Brownwood to Brady the other day and I decided to do a little experiment. I drive rather slowly anyway, so I decidedjim-jeep-wave to pull to the shoulder for every car that came behind me. There were 11 cars/pickups and 7 big rigs. Out of the 11 cars, I received 2 waves and 1 brake tap. Out of the 7 trucks, I received 6 flashers. It doesn’t surprise me with the trucks, but the cars did. Eight people never even acknowledged me taking the time to be courteous and let them pass.

All of this was just to say, we need to find our way back to the true Texans we used to be. Take the time to say thank you. Take a minute to say hello. Let people know that they are appreciated by you. And most of all, remind them what being from Texas is all about.

P.S. I also noted license plates while driving. Out of the 11 vehicles, 10 had Texas plates. The other was from Oklahoma; he waved.


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10 thoughts on “The Niceties of Texas

  1. The younger generation is not being brought up the way we were. I have had the “always be nice” attitude ingrained in me by my father. I have in turn made sure to teach it to my children, who are now polite teenagers who say “yes sir” and Yes ma’am”. Thanks for the article, and I will be sure to continue to use my flashers when someone lets me pass!

  2. I remember my dad waving with two fingers at every car that passed. One day while in patrol (yes I was a cop in a cop car) I decided I would do the same for every car I passed. Face to face interaction so to speak. Some waved back, most had the funniest “what the heck” look on thier face.
    Even now that I have retired I try to wave when others let me pass or when on a two lane road to wave at the oncoming cars. Sometimes they even beat me to it!

  3. Come to Atlanta in far east Texas. We still wave to almost everybody on the road. Small town Texas. Nothin better………………..

  4. Just because they have Tx plate don’t mean they were all from Tx. Transplants are some of the most unsociable and horrible drivers. They are coming here because we have job and it cheaper to live here. Imagine Yankees crossing rebel lines coming down for a better life. But then get here and attempt to change things.

    • Soldiers as well. I am from Merkel (for those who don’t know it’s a little town outside of Abilene), and have always waved at everyone when passing, being passed, or when we pass going the other direction of each other. I recently got stationed in Fort Drum, NY and I still do it up here out of habit but i get the craziest looks. And there are SO many TX plates up here from people buying cars down there when they are stationed at Hood or Bliss, it’s crazy. Needless to say courtesy isn’t frequent up here.

  5. I’m glad to have read your blog. I was born in El Paso then moved with my family three months later and never returned to Texas. I don’t believe the young people working at the store you visited are an indicator of all of Texas but a management problem. The manager should have a standing rule for employees not to be on their cellphones texting or talking during working hours, at least that’s how it is at all the places I’ve worked in the past. I’ve asked a question of other Texans in the past and no one would give me an answer. The question was,”What makes a person a Texan”. I was born there but do not consider myself to be a Texan because I don’t know anything about the place. I’ve been trying to read up from newspapers about it but don’t feel they are very informative. Your blog gave me a small view of Texas then and now.

  6. Just because they don’t wave or acknowledge you does not mean that they are rude. I am extremely friendly, I have been living in the hill country for most of my life and I don’t usually wave at anyone, unless I know them personally. I keep my eyes on the road in front of me and don’t really look to see if I am being waved at. So, don’t take it personally or as a sign of rudeness, if I or someone else does not wave back.

  7. I have lived in the Rio Grande valley most of my life and even when I moved away and would come back home from time to time. There is one stretch of two lane highway that for years the slower drivers would pull over and let you pass them. Today they could care less every now and again you come across and old timer who pulls over and you wave a thank you and they wave back.

  8. This “no waving” thing really riles me up! So does this lack of manners and other Texas niceties. I am 37 years old, but was raised primarily by my great-grandparents and grandparents…real salt of the earth people. Accordingly I have awfully strong opinions about people being polite. I broke the rule and married a “mostly” yankee. He doesn’t understand when I get upset. I try my best to educate him on what is proper. He just doesn’t get some of it. He is in aerospace and works with a lot of yankees. He makes sure to remind me of this before gatherings so I don’t get so riled. Maybe we real Texans should write a “manners” book to explain what folks ought to know but don’t.

  9. I moved from Abilene to Bedford, Pa to live with my daughter because of my age. I was surprised to find people here friendly ( except when I wear Dallas Cowboy shirts ! ) . I think it is because this is such a small place. I did not find that to be true in the north in the past even in small towns. I still will always miss the friendly ways of my home, Deep In The Heart Of Texas. That would be Chappell, Texas !!

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