As someone who lives in the Northeastern United States, I understand we have an errrmmm, interesting reputation. Visiting the west and the south will quickly inform you, as a northerner, to the fact that many people see northeasterner’s as unfriendly. Is it true, is it false? Well, it’s really somewhere in the middle.
Yes, you are definitely more likely to have a conversation with a random stranger in the west and south than the north. Does that make both locations seem more friendly? Sure. Are they truly friendlier? Not necessarily.
Flattery does not get you anywhere in the north. Nowhere at all. In fact, to use a salesperson term, unless you have credibility, then flattery is completely useless up north. This is probably why the north has the reputation that it does. Credibility is always being vetted by everyone, and contrary to psychology, being a gorgeous salesperson in these parts triggers everyone’s suspicions.
A much better and relevant example for me is guitar stores. I’ve been playing guitar for years, but I remember going into stores when I was still a noob only to be ignored constantly, even by sales staff. Nowadays, I pretty much can’t go into a guitar store and play around without someone coming up to me and starting a conversation. Not to say that I’m fantastic or anything, but I guess I’m good enough to seem credible.
The major difference in both the west and the south is that people don’t care so much about credibility. Sure, they like credibility, it’s just that they aren’t testing it all the time. If you go into a store in the friendly parts of those locations, then you will definitely run into someone who will assume that you are an amazing conversationalist/interested in buying stuff. Which is to say, you need to be prepared for a five-minute conversation at all times.
Flattery is big in those parts. This isn’t to say that it’s used all the time. No, instead it’s just a rhythmic piece of the conversation. Whereas in the north, you want to avoid flattery most of the time. If you do use flattery up here, it must come across as sincere.
Funny how a little thing like flattery can be perceived so differently wherever you go. Even if it’s within the same country. Will flattery get you everywhere? No, but you might be crazy for accepting that as a universal truth. Alternatively, it seems to me that there are many more places where flattery is an accepted part of a conversation rather than an ugly entity to be avoided. If you will flatter, then I suppose it’s best to flatter sparingly.