16 Things Southerners Do Better Than Anyone Else

16 Things Southerners Do Better Than Anyone Else

For those of us who grew up or spent any significant amount of time there, we know that the South ain’t just a place; it’s a state of mind. From our drawls to our down-home hospitality, there’s just certain things we do with a little extra somethin’ somethin’. Here are some of the things Southerners excel at better than anyone else.

1. They’ve turned sweet tea into a culinary art form.

Up North, tea is just, well, tea. In the South, it’s a lifestyle. There’s the perfect level of sweetness (debatable, but trust us, there IS a perfect level), the ideal ratio of ice to tea, even brewing time is a matter of fierce family tradition. Sweet tea isn’t just hydration, it’s a symbol of porch sittin’, leisurely meals, and quenching your thirst after a hard day’s work.

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2. They master the art of storytelling.

Forget straightforward communication. Southerners know a good story ain’t about gettin’ from point A to B quickly. It’s about colorful characters (“Bless her heart, she’s dumber than a box of rocks…”), vivid descriptions, meandering asides influenced by sweet tea consumption, and always landing with a punchline that either makes you gasp or laugh ’til you cry.

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3. They understand porch sitting is a competitive sport.

Rocking chairs? Check. Ceiling fan? Preferably. Pitcher of sweet tea within reach? Essential. Porch sitting is how we beat the heat, catch up with neighbors, or simply watch the fireflies come out. It’s more than relaxing; it’s achieving an almost Zen-like state of doing absolutely nothing, and doing it better than anyone else.

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4. They’ve perfected the art of the backhanded compliment.

Closeup front view portrait of a happy couple on a rustic porch swing at a vacation house. They are having some tea and casual conversation.

Bless your heart, that dress is… real interesting.” Sounds sweet, but Southerners have weaponized politeness. It’s like verbal judo – they can express disapproval with a smile so wide it’d fool a Yankee. The key is in the tone, the subtle pause, the twinkle in their eye. You’ll spend the rest of the day trying to decode its true meaning.

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5. They throw shindigs that would make Gatsby jealous.

Southerners don’t just “have a party,” they throw an EXPERIENCE. Cotillions, garden parties, tailgates with more food than a small army could eat – we find any excuse to put on our Sunday best and gather en masse. There’s a nostalgic flair, a focus on bringing generations together, and a commitment to good food and drink that would make event planners weep with envy.

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6. They make comfort food an Olympic event.

men at the pub eating and drinking

Fried chicken so crisp it crackles, mac and cheese creamy enough to make you weep, biscuits with layers so flaky you question physics – we understand comfort food ain’t about health. It’s about memories, tradition, and feeding both the body and the soul. Plus, we’ve perfected the post-meal nap, an essential part of the process.

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7. They know how to truly embrace a slow pace of life.

Rush? What’s that? Sure, cities have their hustle, but Southerners cultivate a different kind of efficiency based on savoring the moment. Chats with the cashier ain’t an inconvenience, they’re catching up with Ms. Betty. A lazy Sunday afternoon is sacred. We may meander, but we always finish what we start, just on our own sweet time.

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8. They have an entire vocabulary that baffles outsiders.

Y’all, fixin’, might could, yonder… it ain’t just an accent, it’s a linguistic ecosystem. We have phrases our great-grandmamas used, words with unclear origins, and sounds that simply can’t be replicated by those not born below the Mason-Dixon Line. Trying to translate for a Yankee can feel like a UN summit gone wrong. But hey, that’s part of the fun!

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9. They find beauty in the ordinary.

Sure, we have breathtaking mountains and beaches, but real Southern beauty lies in the everyday details: the way sunlight filters through Spanish moss, the chorus of cicadas on a summer night, a perfectly ripe peach so juicy it drips down your chin. We appreciate nature’s simple gifts, making even the most mundane day feel special.

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10. They understand hospitality isn’t optional, it’s a way of life.

A guest in a Southern home is treated like visiting royalty (or long-lost family, even if we just met). No one leaves hungry, no question goes unanswered, no request is too much trouble. It goes beyond good manners; it’s about making everyone feel welcome and ensuring their needs are met before they even ask.

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11. They can accessorize with big hair and bigger personalities.

The higher the hair, the closer to God? Seems legit. Southerners, especially Southern women, have a flair for the dramatic, and our hairstyles reflect that. Humidity is our nemesis and our muse, inspiring gravity-defying bouffants and updos that would make Dolly Parton proud. And we pair that big hair with bold personalities to match.

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12. They maintain impeccable manners, even when they’re mad as a hornet.

“Yes ma’am,” “No sir,” and “please” are ingrained so deeply we could mutter them in our sleep. But those manners mask a sassy side. We can deliver devastating verbal jabs with a smile, or convey our disapproval with a chilling “Well, isn’t that special…” that’ll leave the offender thoroughly chastised, yet confused as to what they did wrong.

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13. They make college football a near-religious experience.

men watching american football on couch

Saturdays in the fall are sacred. Tailgating is akin to performance art. Our team colors run through our veins, passed down through generations. Win or lose, we’re fiercely loyal, gathering in massive stadiums or around TVs in our best game-day attire to cheer on our boys. The energy is unmatched, and the rivalries are legendary.

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14. They celebrate everyday accomplishments with food, glorious food.

Graduated kindergarten? Fried chicken picnic. Got that promotion? Time for a shrimp boil. Neighbor’s cat had kittens? Let’s bake a cake! Any excuse, big or small, is reason enough to whip up a feast and gather loved ones around the table. Because sharing good food is how we share joy.

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15. They have a knack for finding nicknames that stick.

Bubba, Sissy, Scooter…rarely do Southerners go by their government-issued names. We bestow nicknames based on personality, appearance, funny childhood stories, or sometimes no discernible reason at all. They’re terms of endearment, marks of belonging, and let’s be real, sometimes a bit of gentle teasing all rolled into one.

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16. They cherish family ties that stretch like kudzu vines.

Southerners keep track of cousins out to the third and fourth remove, and those family reunions are massive affairs. We’re fiercely loyal to our kin, even the eccentric ones. There’s a sense of history, of shared roots, that binds us together. And if you marry into a Southern family? Well, bless your heart, you’re one of us now.

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Jeff graduated from NYU with a degree in Political Science and moved to Australia for a year before eventually settling back in Brooklyn with his yellow lab, Sunny, and his girlfriend, Mia. He works in IT during the day and writes at night. In the future, he hopes to publish his own novel.