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20 Things You Only Understand If You’re From Florida

Florida sometimes seems like its own special place separate from the rest and Floridians often seem like a foreign breed to everyone else. We live where you vacation, we enjoy perpetual summertime, we don’t understand a single thing about the north, and we truly believe saltwater heals all wounds. Us Floridians are a breed of our own and no one understands us like each other. Keep reading for 20 Things You Only Understand if You’re From Florida.

1. A little rain can’t get you down.

Between 2pm and 4pm every single day during summer you can guarantee that it will be raining. There’s no point in even getting out your umbrella or pausing your plans for the day, it’ll be over in a few minutes. Fear of rain is really what separates the native Floridians from the tourists during the summer season.

2. Sweat? No, this is just my natural sheen.

It’s hot year round in Florida, which means sweat plays by Miley Cyrus’ rules of “can’t stop, won’t stop”. We sweat during every holiday, every season, and every moment of our lives. Us Floridians don’t even really notice it anymore, we just “glisten” all year.

3. You say “up north”, but are still referring to the southern parts of the United States.

You mean North Carolina isn’t considered the North? We’ll talk about traveling to Tallahassee as if it’s so far away and not still in the same state. The majority of us haven’t even seen snow, let alone been in the “real” North.

4. You have no idea what seasons are.

We have hurricane season, love bug season, tourist season, and summer. Fall and winter are elusive ideas you’ve only read about it school or seen on TV. Sometimes it’s in the 50s at night in January…is that what winter is like?

5. You love, cherish, and worship Publix.

Pub subs, sweet tea, those chocolate chip cookies…this has been your diet your entire life. And if you haven’t worked there, at least 3 of your friends and family members have. Every other grocery store is strange and new in comparison. You know you have “your” Publix, and you have no idea how to function in one with a different layout.

6. College football can tear your family apart.

It becomes a central part to every family dynamic, even if you don’t care about football. For Floridians, the debate comes down to UF or FSU, and it will destroy families (#gogators). Florida even hosts the world’s largest cocktail party for the FL/GA rivalry game in Jacksonville each fall. We take football and tailgating very seriously. You pledge your allegiance to one, and one only.

7. You can spot a snowbird anywhere.

The overly packed Buick going 15mph is without a doubt the snowbirds we dread each year. Stop feeding the seagulls, stop complaining about the heat, and stop driving so slow. We understand that your tourism funds our entire state, but you are annoying nonetheless.

8. You’ve attended your fair share of hurricane parties.

And no, not like the University of Miami Hurricanes. Floridians literally have parties for hurricanes. You’ve had days off of school and work for hurricanes, and you spend those days in the best way you know how—celebrating. Unless it’s a category 5, barbecue at my house?

9. You know that a good parking space has nothing to do with distance and everything to do with shade.

You’d rather walk extra than have to park your car in the open sun. When you return from your hour long shopping trip in Publix to a car that has been parked in the open, you might as well be sitting in the fiery pits of hell. You’ve been burned by your steering wheel and branded by your seat belt one too many times.

10. Nothing is more annoying, frightening, and downright obnoxious than seagulls.

They are the rats of the sky and we all know it. Those birds will ruthlessly dive bomb you for everything you have—food, toys, children, it doesn’t matter. The tourists who feed them not only confuse you, but also become your mortal enemies each and every year.

11. You are constantly defending your state.

People around the world all have assumptions about Florida and you will always have to defend your state. Every week there is another news story making national headlines that include some infamous “Florida man” doing something absurd, embarrassing, and shocking. We promise our whole state isn’t crazy.

12. You know every word to every Jimmy Buffett song ever.

Jimmy Buffett embodies everything we are as Floridians. You were raised listening to his music, reciting his lyrics, and decorating your home in tacky beach decor. Margaritaville is more than just a song—being a Parrothead is a way of life.

13. You’ve lived your entire life either barefoot or in flip flops.

Going to the beach, to school, to work, to restaurants, even to weddings, flip flops and sandals are your go-to footwear. Socks and sneakers are only reserved for bowling and working out.

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14. You don’t think you’re as southern as you actually are.

You have denied that you’re southern at least once in your life before because, as Floridians, we aren’t considered the typical “southern belle”. But you need to face facts. You say “y’all”, chug sweet tea, tailgate for hours at country concerts, go fishing on weekends, and own a pair of cowboy boots. Although we don’t feel like it, we’re still southern deep down.

15. You grew up learning some-not-so traditional lessons in school.

Throughout school you had to learn the basics like everyone else, but you also had some specific lessons that only Floridians get. You know how to do the sting ray shuffle (and the importance of it), how to zig-zag if a gator is chasing you, and how to pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee, Withlacoochee, Thonotosassa, and Micanopy. It’s just one of those things that anyone not from Florida will never understand.

16. Yes, we do live where you vacation.

You’ve grown up with the beach around the corner, Disney World and Universal Studios a few hours away, and Busch Gardens a hop and a skip from your house. People from around the world come to your home town on vacation to experience what you know as daily life.

17. People from the north kind of freak you out.

It took you years before you realized that some people don’t have swimming pools, have never been to the beach (seriously lakes don’t count, stop playing that card), and don’t always have the A/C running. The North is one of the most foreign places you can think of, and you will never understand their way of life.

18. Learning how to swim was just as important, if not more, as learning how to walk.

More than half of your childhood memories were spent in the pool. Having the coolest pool toys and floats was directly correlated to your popularity; we’ve all invested some serious money in pool accessories. And yes, we all know you’ve had an embarrassing number of pool related injuries. The red eyes and green hair from the chlorine wasn’t even concerning as a child, it was just the sign of a fun weekend.

19. You still somehow can’t figure out how to not get sunburned.

You’ve spent your entire life in the sun. Most of your childhood memories were created outside. You’re an expert when it comes to all things beach. But for some unfortunate, baffling reason, you still can’t manage to not get sunburned. The immense pain, the sun poisoning, and the peeling (lizard or Floridian, you decide) have taught you nothing, no matter how old you are.

20. You couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else.

You’ve definitely complained about living in Florida because the heat, the humidity, and the tourism is just too much for even you sometimes. Sitting on a porch in the mountains or on a balcony in a big city has been alluring to you for your entire life. Even if you do move away, you will always have this strange appreciation for Florida and couldn’t imagine having grown up anywhere else.

What are some other things only people from Florida understand? Comment below and share this article with other fellow Floridians!
Featured image source:
Megan Ellinghausen

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