Where Are the Friendliest People on the Planet?

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I like my people like I like my mittens—warm. So where should I (and you) go to meet the warmest people on the planet?

Well, according to a 2003 study, the friendliest cities were Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, San Jose, Costa Rica, and Madrid. Researchers gathered their data quite scientifically—they dropped pens on sidewalks to see if anybody would pick them up, and they feigned blindness or an injury to see if anyone would help them. How did people react? Well, evidently in the poorer cities, they were more likely to help a gal or guy out, according to the BBC. In wealthier cities, they were more likely to look the other way. Indifference was most intense in cities with dense populations—like New York and Amsterdam.

A more recent 2009 study listed countries that are friendliest to expatriates—the top three are Bahrain, Canada and Australia, in that order, according to Forbes. Following those places are Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain and the United States.

What if you want your dog or your bicycle to be treated politely? Food and Wine lists Boston, Chicago, Miami, San Diego, and San Francisco as the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. And Amsterdam, Portland, Ore., Copenhagen, Boulder, Co., and Davis, Calif., are the most bike-friendly spots around, according to

But if you ask me, the friendliest little guys on the planet are the fleece-lined Canadian Olympic mittens that Jon in Calgary dropped in the mail for me after he read my recent post.

Originally published on How Stuff Works


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