1. “You really know how to handle yourself with that shovel/snow blower.”
Wisconsin’s brutal winters are a fact of life. You can either be miserable for 50% of the year or grin and bear it. People who know their way around a pile of snow with a shovel (or the lucky ones with a snow blower) are more likely to survive and have lots of adoring friends and neighbors. And if you compliment their amazing snow-gifts, they may be more likely to help you clear your driveway.
2. “You know how to talk football.”
The Packers and the Badgers are extremely important to our state identity. But cheering and wearing green and gold can only take you so far. Wisconsinites who know how to make intelligent and relevant comments about the game they are watching really garner a lot of respect, and may even get a free beer or two.
3. “Are there any festivals you haven’t been to?!”
Milwaukee is the summer festival capital of the US. Whether it’s Summerfest, touted as “The World’s Largest Music Festival” or one of the other countless festivals ranging from Juneteenth Day to Fiesta Mexicana and everything in between, we love our summer festivals. Recognize our stellar attendance of several festivals and we will be more likely to invite you next time.
4. “This lake really IS great!”
So much of giving us a compliment has to do with admiring the state’s greatest features. Lake Michigan, all along Wisconsin’s eastern coast, is one of the five Great Lakes and if you truly recognize its greatness, we will swell with pride. Stroll along Milwaukee’s lakefront or spend an afternoon at North Beach in Racine and you will find yourself convinced.
5. “Why would this ever be considered a flyover state?!”
We love to be recognized. Period. Too often, Wisconsin is overlooked by those from other regions of the US and not given its fair share of attention. Point this out to a Wisconsinite and rant about how unfair it is, and you will win our heart.
6. “This XXX is amazing!” (fill in blank with anything that is not beer or cheese)
We get it, Wisconsin is the dairy and beer state. It’s a critical part of the state’s history, economy, psyche, and often puts us on the map. But Wisconsin has many other notable features. Praise us for Milwaukee’s art museum or Door County’s restaurant scene, and you will make our month. Or year. And probably your whole visit here.
7. “You really know how to tailgate!”
The practice of pre-game food tailgating is an art. While we tailgate before Brewers, Packers, and Badgers games, a tailgate is not a tailgate is not a tailgate. A true tailgate veteran will know the subtle differences between picnic food and tailgate feasts, and wow you with their tailgating expertise.
8. “You are so gosh darn friendly!”
Wisconsinites pride themselves on being friendly and welcoming to out-of-towners. Visitors not familiar with Wisconsin might take our questions and enthusiastic smiles as nosiness or superficiality but don’t. It’s genuine — we really want you to enjoy our state. Admire us for this friendliness and we will feel as happy as a kid who just found out they got a snow day.
9. “Geez whiz, you sure are a good cook!”
Compliment our cooking, no matter the origin or dish, and we will be very appreciative. Many people think Wisconsin is just farm country with a homogenous population, but that simply is not true. Wisconsin is composed of a unique mix of people from very diverse backgrounds. When you compliment a Wisconsinite’s cooking, whether it is tamales, beef larb, wiener schnitzel or collard greens, you are not just complimenting their food, you are also recognizing the journeys the people and their foods took to get here and the intricate fabric of Wisconsin’s cultures.