MJ1

San Diegans: Why so rude and cold?

I've lived in quite a few places around the U.S. and Europe and have managed to make friends very or fairly easily just fine any place I've lived--even a couple of them in San Diego. However, I'm absolutely bewildered by a generality I've experienced since moving to San Diego: its surprisingly rude, cold, aloof, and unfriendly population.

I mean, there are things I like about SD, sure. It has a great climate, much like the rest of coastal SoCal, of course. It has easy proximity to L.A. and Tijuana.

However, in only five months in SD (I live in North County and work in the city), I've experienced:
- Indifference in customer service
- Coldness and unhelpful attitudes from all levels of management in the company I've worked for--I've never walked out of a job so quickly in my life, and I've had some nasty bosses previously (as well as many great ones)!
- The nastiest attitudes from job interviewers and recruiters--as in, I've called two companies' HR departments and complained about the interviewers, something I've never even felt the compulsion to do previously
- Road rage directed at me numerous times, which I have not instigated, engaged and fueled (I honestly didn't experience this in L.A. or the Bay Area!)
- Going out in PB, OB, and La Jolla, which has introduced me to the wide range of douchebags that San Diegans seem to love to rag on L.A. for supposedly having
- A landlord who, after putting her "nice face" on through the moving-in process, has turned out to be nuts and the only bad landlord I've ever had

Now, I'd like to think that much of these attitudes can be somehow attributed to SD's super extremely transient (more so than even L.A. and the Bay) population, but I've had bad experiences with the natives, too. So much for "Happiness is Calling," as SD's tourism board likes to tout.

I'm incredibly disappointed and I feel soured as I already plan my exit strategy. Both L.A. and the Bay blow this place out of the water--additionally, the food, arts and culture are significantly better up there, and I did enjoy living in those places. What gives, SD?!?!
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jasona12 Dec 21, 2017
Avoid SD at all (thru the roof) costs! I've been living here since 1978 and it's gotten WAY worse on so many levels (I should write a book but it wouldn't sell because nobody cares). The main issue is the transient population. Namely those that come from other places to work here. It's a Navy town. It's a bio-engineering town. It's a polished shantytown. It's a town that doesn't breed locals. It breeds a false-privileged class that couldn't get away with a fraction of their rudeness anywhere else. Blame the big employers! The Qualcomms, the Illumina, and all those medical businesses that keep feeding the pockets of those who want, not those who need.
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lalacs 2yrs+
I have been trying and trying to make meaningful friendships here in SD for 6 years. But I feel like it's all a waste of time now because people are either flaky, dramatic, cold, distant, or too high maintenance. I decided to move back to my town, close to Santa Barbara. I have about 23 friends there that I can talk and hang out and four was like my sisters. Mind you, I made that much connection with people within 2-3 years after my divorce and started on my own while in my hometown. In San Diego, I made some connections but it's not the same at all.
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brittnayg
brittnayg Its hard to make friends regardless, especially as we get older. People don't take the time to make friends in person when they have their phones. lol
2yrs+
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rosem6 2yrs+
I grew up in The Polite Belt: Ohio. We lived in Thousand Oaks northwest of LA for years until we moved to San Diego in 1993. We were amazed and delighted at how much nicer San Deigans were compared to the people in TO. And I have to admit, once you've seen something in SD, there's no need to go back, like the LA museums, restaurants, and the Armenian bakeries Glendale. To me, LA is an armpit, and LA traffic sucks. I found the friendliest people in Austin, TX. I didn't like living there, but loved the BBQ and Lamme's Pecan Pralines.
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randalll
randalll Thousand oaks is a lot like san diego and barely considered LA
Oct 05, 2019
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fzb Feb 21, 2019
I'm from NYC and have lived in SD the last 5 years and don't find people cold or rude, sounds like you may have a bad outlook on life if EVERY single thing you did here didn't turn out well... a bit odd to be honest.
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johnj25 Feb 09, 2018
Dear MJ1,

Sorry Im late to the party, but this is a great topic and Id love to add my perspective.

I moved to SD from Portland, OR in Fall 2016 to get state residency so I can get in-state tuition for college. I had cousins down here so I thought SD wouldnt be a bad place to hang out and work in for a year or two before going back to school.

Once I got here, I jumped into a place with some guys off craigslist (always a bad idea) in Linda Vista and started working. Within about 3 months I was pretty disillusioned with life down here because I had experienced everything you mentioned above and more. But since I knew Id be here for at least another year I trudged on, trying to learn from these experiences and here is what Ive found:

What gives? The native San Diegans had the bad attitudes then let the transients intensify it -
For better or worse, SD and its people like all other cities have a stereotype and identity. In SD the general stereotype is that people are laid-back. Id say there is a grain of truth to that, but I think its more like egotistical and apathetic. They live in a beach town in SoCal so they just want to relax and go about their life. If you dont harm others theres nothing inherently wrong with that. But I think that attitude is what has bred the more sinister things that have afflicted you and I. Since the native San Diegans are so self-interested it has bred apathy. That apathy causes them not to care about how they treat other people or how those people treat them. Everyone just goes about their day focused on themselves. As a whole, this allows for the growth of the rudeness, coldness, aloofness, and unfriendliness which youve mentioned. From that point of view you begin to understand that: the locals are focused on themselves so they let the transients stomp right in with the "false-privilege jasona12 mentioned and run amok. Then this cycle keeps revolving and in my opinion growing. Its almost as if many of the people here never grew out of the toddlers mentality where I can do what I want when I want, and you cant stop me! I can do anything I want to you and your belongings without any guilt, but, if you find a way to interrupt me Ill start screaming and crying. And when anyone who has a conscience or basic concept of respect dares speak up, you will get this quintessentially SD and dismissive response, it sounds like you have a bad attitude and everyone will be happier if you leave. I mean, honestly. Thank you lmaD. If you want the perfect example of South California responses to any criticism legitimate or not look no further than lmaD.
The shamelessness is whats been hardest for me to come to terms with. The way I grew up if you make a mistake or wrong someone its your responsibility to learn from the experience and try not to repeat it. Youre also taught guilt and shame to deter you from further errors. The rapscallions down here dont believe in such things. If you make a mistake down here, keep calm and carry on. No need to fret over trivial things like other people.

Heres why its worse than most other places -
Also as lmaD brought up, you can find nasty people... in most major areas and Id add on that you will find them pretty much anywhere. But what is unique about SD is the prevalence of nasty people. The average person's week will generally involve most time spent at home, work, and going out in their town (for food or fun, etc.) In MJ1s case and mine, at home weve had to deal with an awful landlord also in my case awful roommates. At work; from the interview to coworkers, and finally management weve had to deal with genuinely terrible staff. And then, going out you encounter indifferent customer service and insane douchebags out on the town. There's nowhere to hide from them here. In most places, the amount of nasty people you encounter is 1 out of every 10. Here I feel like anywhere you go that number is easily 5 to 9 out of every 10 people. Oddly, with a population of about 1.3 million people, SD feels like a collection of small towns. And with that comes the big-fish-little-pond attitude. Whereas most major cities would stomp that attitude out in a heartbeat or at least push it to the side SD has let those scoundrels flourish. If cities were shrunk into a university, in SD frats take up 50-90% of campus.

So there you go. Its a terse analysis but no gives transplants the heads up. I have 2 pretty good friends here who are born and bred San Diegans and their input has helped verify many of my opinions here. One good point they bring up is that one reason the good San Diegans (honestly there are quite a few of them) dont care about these morons is that theyre focused on their day and when you grow up around that attitude you become desensitized to it.

My other thoughts on SD:

Now that I live in OB a block from the beach I decided that given the option to stay - I dont wanna be around these people anymore. The weather and beaches only go so far. I concede that my opinions can be perceived as oversensitive and hyperbolic but honestly, this sort of widespread mistreatment makes living in such a beautiful place not worth it. Its pretty disappointing and I agree with MJ1 that Im also soured as I plan my exit strategy.

A popular theme in a lot of movies is how New York City and Boston toughen people. Ive got coworkers in SD from both cities who have said that even though both of these places are notoriously rough, once you get through the hard times you become one of us and theyll protect you as their own. After a year here my coworkers and I can tell you that people here will backstab their best friend without hesitation and have no shame or guilt about it. In fact, the next day they'll sincerely smile and chit-chat with their "best friend" because in their mind nothing wrong happened.

If life is really a highway think of these comparisons; if you live in Portland or most places in the US, no matter who you are or what car you drive youll get through traffic in a reasonable amount of time, listen to something good, have nice scenery around you, and someone will be polite enough to give you the right of way when you need it. In SD, picture buying a Mercedes convertible (because you like live in SoCal duh!) and being stuck in traffic. Your face is burnt, youre already stressed from life in general, its gonna take at least an hour to go 10 miles, the top wont come up, and youve been cut off by some prick at least every half mile or nearly hit a lane-splitting motorcycle. You thought life was gonna be awesome down in sunny SD, but it turns out youre just another burnt pissed off fool in a luxury vehicle sitting in SoCal interstate traffic.

Last but not least - despite all my whining I have to say I have had an alright time here. The women, beaches, and weather are more gorgeous than most people can imagine. Definitely hit Balboa Park, watch a sunset at Sunset Cliffs, go to Comic-Con, and hang out at La Jolla Shores (Dr. Seuss spent his final days there) during your vacation. Although I wouldnt live here again and dont recommend anyone reading this too either, do come and visit.
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randalll
randalll You hit the nail on the head there. Its a place that breeds apathetic people with no culture. People are introverted as well from all the self centeredness and lack of cooperation. Its a town run by competition. The worst thing ive encountered here which i will never understand is many people are bent on being jerks, ive had cars try to cut me off even after i slow down to let them pass and almost no one will let you change lanes. Its like get a life San Diego. Ironically many San Diegans are moving to Portland. Hope they dont ruin it.
Oct 05, 2019
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realitychecker 5 days ago
Some people have never known anything but low standards and cold rudeness. They get used to it and love it. We see this in New Yorkers. Once a person has experience high standards and gracious manners anything less is unbearable. San Diego attracts cold, rude, dumb people that think they are brilliant. It's full of anti-Americans that don't take care of their community, state, or country. It's a rare person in San Diego that has a good heart. It's not just San Diego, it's California in general. They sell a fake story of superiority to the masses, but in reality they are the ugliest people in America.
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mobbymajm Nov 07, 2019
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randalll Oct 05, 2019
LA native here. Funny how SD rags so much on LA yet you cant even compare the two. SD is like a small town compared to LA. SD is lame and unfortunately has rude unrealistic people who are everywhere

The natives are rude too they just think theyre different that the hoardes of middle and east americans

Its so dull. I made lots of aquantainces and no real friends because everyone is only down to have fun if it looks cool

I made one good friend here and hes from Riverside so doesent count

And it has been the same last 15 years(wasted) ive been here and luckily out soon.
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bobj10 Sep 25, 2019
I don't understand it either. How can such a beautiful place be filled with such ugly people?
It's not just the rudeness, but the general complacency and attitude that San Diego is better than any other city is what gets to me.
The funny thing is that most of the people who feel this way have never traveled to have any type of comparison. So in turn you
have a population of people convincing each other that they're in the greatest place on earth because its 75 degrees and sunny
most of the time.
The reality is that the majority of the population is comprised of completely average and apathetic people who have no real reason so be so stuck-up.
No major accomplishments, talent, or accolades that justify the terrible behavior. It's like that guy who lives in his Mom's basement who believes
he deserves a hot girlfriend or an overweight girl who is bitter that Joe sixpack won't give her the time of day. I don't get it. But it's fine. I don't live
there anymore so I don't have to endure it. But it's always uncomfortable when I go down to visit family.
The crazy thing is I've met brilliant and extremely talented people in LA, SF, and other parts of the country who are gracious, welcoming, and have half the
attitude of a San Diegan. I feel that people in San Diego think they're entitled to a trophy just by showing up to the game. Like somehow living in a city
with nice weather is an accomplishment in itself. Please, get over yourself. The truth is most of you live incredibly boring and forgettable lives that revolve
around the beach and craft beer. Which is perfectly fine! But please don't be a jerk about it. If it was really that great then I assume you'd be much happier ;)
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johnm55 2yrs+
You are experiencing the same as i in north county. I'm Asian American and a native San Diegan. It wasn't like this before. Something has changed and I suspect the unfriendliness is likely from people who are not from San Diego they have just brought their city attitudes in. The cold areas mostly observed are in
Carlsbad, Encinitas, Along the 56 freeway but that said the median income is indeed much higher
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I have been trying to figure out why San Diego is so cold for 18 years. My guess is that they have so many transients and tourists that their communities get constantly displaced by strangers. It makes them cranky and possessive. Or maybe they are just angry that the locals aren't tourists buying their wares. I have had many, many San Diego residents tell me how cold they find San Diego. A lot of people move away. The flora, fauna, and geology make up for the people.
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ImaD 2yrs+
If food, arts and culture are a priority to you, San Diego is probably not for you. While you can find it here, it's harder to find than LA or the Bay. If you're looking for sunshine and lots of activities, then San Diego has that. As for friendly people, every major area has its share of nasty people. It's sounds to me like you ran into most of them. I've certainly met every character you described while I was in Orange County.
I moved here from Orange County in the 80's and have found people much easier to connect with. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but it sounds like you have a bad attitude and everyone will be happier if you leave. I mean, honestly. What kind of response do you expect from a question like the one you asked?
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