How To Be A Texan (An Outsider’s POV)

Here are my rules for transforming into a Texan (or at least tricking outsiders), should you find yourself in the Great State.

Complain About Texas Weather.

The weather here is the craziest. I’ve seen temperatures drop 60 degrees in 12 hours. What scares this Illinoisan the most is that we have dangerous tornadoes, yet no basements.

Proclaim Texas Drivers Are The Worst.

We have bad traffic, yes. Our rush hour is from 7-10 am and from 3-7pm (on average). But our drivers are insane. Car karma seems especially bad; everyone has a story. From the years 2002-2008, I had four speeding tickets, one engine flooded out, an 18-wheeler’s tire tread took out my side mirror and caused major damage while driving down LBJ, and then…MY CAR WAS STOLEN.

Don’t Realize How Spoiled You Are.

We have amazing shopping: thrift, vintage, luxe resale, popular mid-priced chains, malls, outlets, designer chains, the highest-of-the-high-end boutiques. So many amazing educational options: public, private, charter, magnet, fine arts, Montessori, unschooling, play schools, nature schools. Every convenience: Lyft, Shipt, Uber, UberEats, DoorDash, Boost, Lush, Amazon Fresh, every grocery delivery imaginable. We have elite sports teams year-round. Every major tour (music/comedy/arts/etc.) comes through DFW. The best in arts and culture. Klyde Warren Park. Ballet, musical theater, the opera, the symphony. The Dallas Arboretum. All kinds of corporate headquarters settle here. The job and housing markets are booming.

Never forget: Everything is pretty much 25 minutes away. This is a fact.

Texans Have A Deep, Unwavering State Pride.

No matter their politics, religion, or cultural beliefs, deep down…they truly believe Texas maybe should’ve seceded—it’s that great. It’s not exactly their fault for their state obsession. Texan schoolchildren are taught the Texas Pledge from Kindergarten; Texas state history is on the curriculum every year. And why shouldn’t it be? There’s much to learn, much to remember about the great frontiersman, leaders, and rabble-rousers who formed the great state of Texas. Such an enormous piece of land, with so much history, so much pride, deserves to be taught, if you grew up here. Pro Tip: If you are looking to marry a Texan, do the best you can to acknowledge and learn about Texas state history; if you mock it, you may never be forgiven.

Texans Come Back To Texas.

One way or another, they all come back. So you had a bad childhood? Texas is still referred to as “home.” So you wanted to get away from being landlocked and experience “real culture”? You still find yourself back a decade later, looking to put down roots. You don’t identify with any of the traditional state politics or voting patterns? You stay here in the hopes that you can sway the votes and get Texas on a less traditional road. You got a big job in New York and had some success? After you bore of that lifestyle, you return home to Texas to settle down and live the good life. I’ve seen every one of these stories, and many more, play out in the 16 years I’ve lived here. I distinctly remember being jealous of my boyfriend (now husband) who came back from college, and all his friends from school came back, too. He had his group, like he had never left, except that they all had, but came back with stories and experiences and new things to talk about with their most trusted group of friends.

Texans Are True-Blue Friends.

Once a friend, always a friend, at least in my experience. I moved here at the age of 22, and it was immediately clear who was a born-and-bred Texan, and who was a transplant. It was harder to break into the tight-knit Texan circles of friends, but they were the most loyal and trustworthy once you broke that seal. It became a challenge: if I wanted truly good friends, I had to force my way into some of the more tight-knit groups (none were snobby, in my opinion, they just took their time getting to know me: the random Illinoisan). But once you’re in, you’re in. You’re going through a hard time? Texas friends organize fundraisers, meal trains, prayer groups, you name it. A Texan isn’t going to let you go through something alone. You have job success? A new baby? Moving to a new house? Texans celebrate with you and bring you a casserole.

From somewhere else but now have Texan babies? Check out my post on how to deal with being a mom with Texan kids.


Whitney Reed
Whitney is originally from central Illinois but moved to Texas for love. After enjoying being a single twenty-something in Dallas, she settled down in 2010 and married her college sweetheart (the guy who got her here). She has two sons and a daughter. Whitney works for a major retailer in digital marketing creative, where she has been since 2009. She loves Dallas—the amazing friends she has met here, the Tex Mex, the bluebonnets, the arts and culture, the mild winters, and having lots of family, including her in-laws, one of her sisters, and her favorite uncle, nearby. Her passions include reading, sports, (daydreaming about) traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


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