What’s with Big 7 Travel’s vendetta against the Garden State? Did their staff all get turned down by hot Jersey girls at some point? Actually you can blame their readers. When polled about which states are friendliest, New Jersey ranked near the bottom. 46th.

The least friendly states were...

46 New Jersey

47 Massachusetts

48 Delaware

49 Arkansas

50 New York

The most friendly were...

1 Minnesota

2 Tennessee

3 South Carolina

4 Texas

5 Wyoming

Find the full list here.

Now let me tell you why it’s wrong.

I am a native. I was born and raised in Union County. I’ve also lived in Cape May County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Somerset County and Hunterdon County. I’ve spent 40 years here. I think I’m qualified.

It’s not that New Jersey people are unfriendly. It’s that we live on top of each other in the most densely populated state in the country. We have 1,207 people per square mile. We are stressed out not only from that, but from decades of political corruption, graft, greed, scams, impossibly high cost of living, and we live each day at our breaking point. We walk around wearing emotional suits of armor. It’s a survival game.

But when things hit the fan we are there for each other. Superstorm Sandy was the best example of this. I will never forget how proud I was to be from these great people in the days that followed a tragedy that damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of homes and caused a $30 billion loss. We took calls for weeks from people who had lost everything. Their stories were heartbreaking yet their spirits were unbroken. The Jersey Strong attitude was still there.

The most amazing part of the aftermath was how many calls we also took from people whose homes were not affected saying total strangers should come to stay with them. This happened more times than I can recall. A family of four having nowhere to go would call in, then within twenty minutes people were calling to offer these complete strangers and their children their spare bedrooms or sofas or anything they had. Strangers helped each other and they didn’t think twice about it. Donations were through the roof. People walked into devastated shore towns they had never before set foot in and rolled up their sleeves and helped clean up. Where the government fell short, Jersey guys and Jersey girls did whatever they could, not just for their neighbors, for people they never laid eyes on several counties away.

So you can run all your polls about “friendly” states you want. When you do one on states with the most genuine heart we New Jerseyans will be over here waiting for you in the winner’s circle.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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