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How to Properly Compliment a Californian

by Laurie Koski Nov 9, 2016

When interacting with Californians, the compliments you give them might be new and a bit odd, but when in California just go with the flow. Here are few you might hear yourself utter.

“Dude, that tutu looks good on you.”

Californians love to dress up, and not just for Halloween. With Bay to Breakers, the Superhero Street Fair, Santacon and, of course, the mother of them all, Burning Man, there are countless occasions to break out the glue gun and bedazzle away. Odds are, a Californian has at least one shiny or feathered outfits in their closet that are not collecting dust, unless it’s playa dust.

“Those booties looks so cute on Baxter!”

As much as Californians love playing dress up, we also enjoy adorning our pets with the occasional jacket or hat for fun or function. Some top California cities have larger dog populations than children and fur babies rule the household. Doggie parties, doggie daycare, and dog-friendly work environments are the norm.

“Your rock garden is amazing!”

California is bone dry and every drop of rain is sacred. The six-year drought and water conservation is a regular topic of conversation. If you compliment a Californian on any water saving efforts, whether it’s their cobblestone patio, rain catchers, or low-flow shower head, you’ll get a satisfied smile and a few helpful tips.

“I love what you’ve done with your composting.”

Going green is a worldwide concern. In California, some cities, like San Francisco, have a goal of being a 100% green by 2020. The sale of single-use plastics bags has been banned in many Californian cities. Recycling and composting has become an art. Put something in the wrong bin and you will be chastised.

“This kale shake you made is the bomb!”

If you peek at a Californian’s Pinterest board, there will be a few boards on gluten-free living, vegan pizzas, kale shakes, paleo recipes, homemade granola, and a pin or two on yoga and meditation. Californians are the poster children for healthy living and we are not ashamed to admit it. Ask a Californian about their diet and exercise routine and you will be in for a lengthy discussion.

“Your choice of biodynamic wine is phenomenal.”

Whether the wine is from Lake County or Healdsburg, Californians like it as natural and unmanipulated as possible. Native yeast fermentation? Yes, please. How to insult a Californian? Give us a bottle of Sutter Home or Barefoot White Zin.

“Cute Giants bowtie.”

California is the third largest state in the US, with a population of over 38 million. One in eight US residents were born in California. As a result, we have a lot of sports teams to obsess over. We even have some interstate rivalries. Want to see fireworks? Watch a diehard SF Giants fan discuss stats, team records, and top players with a lifelong LA Dodger fan.

“Your startup is genius.”

California is the home to companies such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, AirBnB, and Uber. There is a huge start-up culture so app ideas — especially when it has to do with fitness (Fitbit), travel (, and international non-profits ( — find success in California. We love to get a pat on the back for our unique and innovative thinking.

“That is a beautiful earthquake kit.”

Native Californians have been through their share of shake-ups. If an earthquake is below a 3.0 magnitude, it’s not even a topic of conversation. We all know the big one could strike at any time so we are prepared with extra wine, water, protein bars, and six dozen cans of SPAM.

“I love your beard, it’s perfectly symmetrical.”

California might not be home to the hipster movement but it has taken over many major cities. Beards and skinny jeans fill cafes and craft cocktail bar. Californians latch onto top trends and LA is at the forefront of the hipster fashion craze.

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