I think there might need to be some sort of a 'visitors guide' or something set up for people who come to the South. Here're some things friends and I came up with last night while we were talking about Southern culture.
1. Southerners want people to like us. Not just 'tolerate' us. We want to make people happy. We're bred/brought up this way and it's deep in there.
2. We tend to take people at their word. If you say you're going to do something, we expect that you will do it. And if you don't, then that's it. Of course there are exigent circumstances, but we're not speaking of those. Just instances where you promise to do something and then don't. There are usually no second chances - you've lost us forever. There's some wiggle room, of course. Another Southerner will likely get more leeway than Someone Else.
3. We expect exaggeration and bluster from politicians, not regular people. If you say something, we assume that you mean it. So watch what you say, because people will still settle their differences the old fashioned way in some parts.
4. Southerners are not putting on airs. We are, in fact, friendly, hospitable, and civil. If we're sharing freely with you about ourselves, it means we trust you. But, like #2, if you break that trust, it's gone forever. And we're easily offended. If you've offended us, we will likely just cut you off entirely until you make amends. And even then, it will never be the same. We like a lot of people, but we don't respect them until they've earned it.
5. We gossip. It's not meant to be harmful, though it does get that way sometimes. It's just the way we talk. We share information, but it's boring unless it comes with an interesting story.
6. We can take criticism, if it's done properly. That means you do it civilly, or you do it with some humor. We don't just go straight for the throat. If it's to that point, it's too late and it's already a fight. That's the Yankee way. And we all know they're not brought up right.
7. Brutal honesty is rejected. It is a virtue to maintain civility through slight dishonesty. 'Little white lies' keep society from burning to the ground, people.
8. Do not yell at a Southerner. Ever. Do not interrupt us while we are talking unless the building is actively burning down around us or Timmy is stuck down the well. Do not mock us, jeer at us, or make a public spectacle. We are speaking. You will get your turn, and we expect you to speak politely as well when you've got the 'floor'. If you cannot do this, you will be cut off and we won't even acknowledge that you exist until you've made amends. I'm not kidding. We shun people. You don't have to agree with our opinions, you just have to be able to express yourself like a full grown and proper human being.
9. We're always early. And we always leave late. It's just polite to be on time, and 'on time' just happens to be at least 15 minutes early for us. Seriously. If we actually arrive somewhere at the time we're told to be there, we're late. And leaving takes a lot of good-byes, so expect the ending time of anything to be maybe half an hour after it's 'ended'.