Throw a weak ass BBQ.

Just to be clear — barbecue is a cooking method (it also happens to describe the meat and apparatus) while a BBQ is a gathering you have while you’re barbecuing. It takes a lot of skill to produce good barbecue, but all of your hard work can easily be overshadowed if you have what is commonly known as a weak ass BBQ.

What makes it weak?

Terrible side dishes.

Simple, I know, but people get this wrong all the time. It’s not just about the meat, it’s about the entire spread. A BBQ is like Thanksgiving dinner, you need the proper side dishes to make it a success. If your side dishes don’t complement the main attraction we pretty much consider that a ‘fail.’ What’s considered proper sides? Potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, deviled eggs, grill veggies and thick-sliced white bread, for starters. At the end of the day, a blissful food coma is what people are hoping to get when they head home from a BBQ, so if you can’t ‘throw down’ as we like to say, then you need to sit down.

Assume we’re all Republicans.

People think that because we’re in Texas all of us are die-hard Republicans or staunch conservatives, but that’s just not the case. On the political spectrum, we Houstonians actually lean more Blue and have elected Democratic mayors for the past 30 years. We’ve also voted Democratic in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Prominent Republicans may garner our state a lot of attention, but they don’t speak for all of us here in the Bayou City.

Talk sh*t about our Tex-Mex food.

Hold up. Maybe it’s our habit of using ‘Tex-Mex’ and ‘Mexican’ interchangeably that’s rubbed you the wrong way, but there’s no need to trash talk our regional cuisine. First of all, yes, we know Tex-Mex isn’t traditional Mexican food. Second, that is by design (hence the hyphenated name). And third, we don’t particularly care. Houstonians don’t have to choose a side because we have access to both styles of food right here in town. Hell, some Mexican restaurants have both Tex-Mex and traditional dishes on the same menu, so if they’re not bothered by it, why are you?

Say, “Houston, we have a problem.”

No. Just no.

Compare us to Dallas.

We can debate the differences (or similarities) between Houston and Dallas all day long, but when it comes down to it, the fundamental difference between the two one thing: attitude. Houstonians pride themselves on being down-to-earth, relaxed and genuinely friendly compared to their northern neighbors who have a reputation for being too snooty and pretentious for their own good. Just check out the latest cast of housewives on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Dallas — it kind of speaks for itself.

Blatantly litter.

There is nothing more annoying than watching a driver in front of you toss trash out of their car window while they’re driving or sitting at a light. Is it so hard for you to wait to get to a trash can? Does it have to be disposed of right this second? Our streets are not a dumpster, so if you want to avoid angry stares from Houstonians (and police fines) hold onto your crap until you can find a trash can. And also, you should be afraid of the Texas DOT’s ‘report a litterer’ program. Because it works and we do it — more than a 1,000 Texans get a letter each month stating that they’ve been busted.

Tell us you don’t have air conditioning.

The idea alone makes our tempers rise, so you can only imagine the reaction when informed that a building or car is without A/C — not good. A functioning A/C is one of the few things that make our crushingly hot and humid city bearable, therefore having access to one is paramount for all Houstonians. No one is trying to die from a heat stroke.

Exaggerate our accent.

Sure, some of us have that familiar Texas drawl, but many of us don’t. Except for the occasional ‘y’all’ or colloquialism, you won’t detect a strong accent from most Houstonians. This isn’t surprising given we live in a cosmopolitan city, but for some people, this is irrelevant because they can’t wait to launch into their best (and pitiful) impression of a Texas accent. Just let it go already. We sound nothing like the hillbillies or ranchers you see on TV. How about you focus on your day job and leave the acting to the professionals. Cool?

Be a slow driver who insists on driving in the fast lane.

Most Houstonians have cars which means there are a lot of us on the road at the same time. The last thing we need is another driver who doesn’t understand how to go with the flow of traffic. Just because you’ve reached your cruising speed of 48mph doesn’t mean you can post up in the fast/passing lane. Do you see the six cars tailing behind you? They’re waiting for you to move the hell over. Please, do all of us a favor and ease into the right-hand lane — you will be helping us eliminate a bottleneck on our freeways.