What Makes New Yorkers Angsty And Why People Need To Stop Calling Us Rude

Image via Unsplash/Wojtek Witkowski

Spoiler alert: New Yorkers are sometimes an angsty bunch.

Ok, so you already knew that. But for once, let’s just stop to understand why this is the case. It’s not like 8 million grouchy people just sprouted up from the ground, or the city particularly welcomes all the angry and annoyed people of the world into its equally angsty arms. In reality everyday, every moment, every second of the day New Yorkers are dealing with a host of nuisances with which people in other cities just can’t empathize. Though we love the city to the moon and back, it’s these little things that make life a little more—hell, a lot more—chaotic and stressful. And what kind of person’s mood and well-being isn’t affected by his or her external environment? So, no, New Yorkers are certainly not just inherently grouchy, angsty people. And more importantly, we’re not rude, so this is a misnomer that everyone is pretty sick of hearing. If you want to understand what makes New Yorkers so angsty, take a walk in our concrete-paving shoes—and please, give the “New Yorkers are so rude” spiel a rest.

There’s Never a Quiet Moment

Ok, so you know what you’re getting yourself into when you move to The Big Apple. But that doesn’t mean that we’re immune to the same things that annoy people everyday. For one, the city is incredibly and obnoxiously loud all the time. Imagine being held hostage at an off-key, earsplitting, neverending orchestra performance. You’d have to have the patience and peace of mind of the Dalai Lama not to let that get under your skin. Living in the city means rarely having a quiet moment. Sometimes it’s the rumbles and rattles of construction trucks; other times it’s the sirens and horns of ambulances and cop cars. And just when you think you’ve escaped it all in the nook of your cozy apartment to catch some Zs, you hear the baby next door wailing crystal clear through the thin walls of your 1920s walkup. It’s just loud all the damn time, and just when you think you’re used to it, you remember how annoying it still is when you need one just one moment of silence. So cut us some slack for those ugly scowls on our faces—we’re just trying to zone you the hell out.

There’s Never Enough Time

For the rest of the world, the days are 24 hours long. In New York, somehow they seem much, much shorter. People say life here is always on-the-go, and no one ever stops to rest. Well, there’s no lie in that. While most New Yorkers thrive on that type of non-stop energy flow, it’s also something that can make us come off as extremely annoyed and rude. But the city literally doesn’t sleep, and it most definitely doesn’t run on our schedules. Everything is about timing, and New York life is just a constant matter of getting from one place to another. Whether on foot or on the subway, you’ve got a matter of seconds to cross the street or squeeze your way onto a packed train to get where you’re going. Oh, and there’s also about 100 people doing the same thing at the same time, so agility and swiftness are your friends in the race—otherwise, be prepared to get slammed into, stepped on and cursed at for getting in someone else’s way.

So unfortunately, there’s just really no time for a stroll down the sidewalk or a leisure car ride; New Yorkers are running on a strict timetable that isn’t even dictated by us! Just keep that in mind when you’re snapping 1,500 pictures of the Radio City Music Hall sign in the middle of the sidewalk—which also happens to be our roadway—and someone happens to speedily brush past you without looking up to smile. They’re just trying to make it from Point A to Point B, and it’s taxing enough trying to that alongside 8 million other people without a bunch of tourists acting as an extra obstacle in the mission to make it to work on time.

[It Seems Like] There’s Never Enough Money

This is not news: New York is really freakin’ expensive. You know it, I know it—there’s nothing new to be said here except that it does unfortunately add to the everyday stresses of life here. And no—not everyone makes more money by comparison to make up for the extra expenses. You pay for the experience of life in the city, but sue me for saying that the cost-to-benefits ratio doesn’t always serve as a comfort.

It Rubs Off On You

Have you ever been around a Debbie Downer for long enough that, soon enough, you found yourself in a state of melancholy? Well, being around a bunch of angsty people who have all of the above on their minds is kind of like that. Even on the days that you’re not racing the clock, and you didn’t wake up feeling like the construction equipment was drilling into your head, and even when you’re not feeling particularly stressed about paying your bills, the chances are that someone else is. Actually, a lot of people are still angsty about those—plus a million other problems that contribute to the daily human experience. So, just like sitting in traffic with a bunch of angry, honking commuters is bound to unnerve the calmest of drivers, strolling through a swarm of grouches is hard to brush off unaffected. The truth is that no matter your individual state of mind, the New York angst is contagious, so excuse us for all being so rude.