What we like about Honolulu – the people!

You’ll quickly learn that each island is very small – everyone knows everyone. There are only so many high schools and people on each island. So, each island is like it’s own little small town. With small towns come that small town kindness.

People are really nice here

People are really nice, everyone waves and says hi to people. It’s not foreign for someone to wave to you in traffic if you let them merge into your lane. It’s just what people do here. Locals also use the terms “aunty” and “uncle” to refer to new people they’ve just met as a term of respect for those who are older than them. For example, if someone holds the door open for you, it’d be appropriate to say “thanks aunteh!” Notice I spell it as “aunteh” to emphasize the relaxed way of saying it in the islands. The term aunt isn’t spoken as “ant” but more of “ant-eh.” It’s a very common way of saying it. For the term “uncle,” you’d say it as “unko,” pretty much ignoring the fact that there’s an “L” after the “c.”

What we like about Honolulu: kindness even at the grocery stores

Employees are really helpful at local grocery stores, sometimes you don’t even have to ask for help! For example, I once circled around the dairy section in Foodland three times and an employee came up to me asking if I needed help. People are just really nice and helpful like that. At the cashier register, they’ll have conversations with you and make small talk. It’s not a silent town, people are talkative and kind in our daily exchanges.

If you were to ask someone a question about directions, people are friendly to answer. They may even make a suggestion for you if you express where you’re headed.

What we like about Honolulu: parking lots are chill

When driving through parking lots, people are more relaxed compared to some places on the mainland. For example, you’ll probably never get upset at someone for cutting you off or zooming past you in a parking lot. Locals already drive slowly on the freeway, so we’re even slower than usual in parking lots! It’s just part of the lifestyle here. We’re not in a rush. We’re nice about where we’re going to park, and we don’t park like jerks. If someone is diagonally parked into two stalls, it’s highly looked down upon, but also very rare.

What we like about Honolulu: you’ll most likely run into people you know

One of the reasons why there’s a small-town kindness in the islands is because people know that they’ll probably see that same person, waitress or employee somewhere else. You may run into your local bartender at the beach on the weekends. It’s not like it’d be a foreign possibility!


Just to show you an example of small town kindness, I once got my car stuck in the sand at Sandy’s beach (I was foolishly off roading without having my 4-wheel drive switch clicked “on”) and someone stopped to help towe me out! A husband and his wife were also offroading and he stopped to help towe me out. I just so happened to discover the 4-wheel drive button in this instant (it was a new car for me, I was still learning how to use it, actually it was my very first time driving it after having bought it.) Although I was able to drive myself out of the sand, it was still so nice that he stopped to help me!