Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Seattle Freeze

Recently, a transplant to Seattle sent me this 2005 article on that city's standoffish personality and assures me that the "Seattle Freeze" is alive and well.

I've taught workshops throughout the United States and encountered a real contrast between places like Seattle (which, don't get me wrong, is a marvelous city) and places like New York, New Orleans, Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles. I found New Yorkers, contrary to the stereotype, to be quite friendly and I seldom taught a workshop down South (or L.A. for that matter) without being invited to lunch.

The sociologist in the article has a theory on the reasons for The Freeze but I'm not sure if it contains the answer.


Anonymous said...

My husband is a native Seattlite. About 5 years ago his job began to involve a lot of travel. He was very surprised at how poorly Seattle compared with most other cities he visited. He has a good explaination for the "Seattle Freeze". When he was growing up, all Seattle had was Boeing and people who moved here knew it was a terrible place to live. There is a reason it is the suicide capitol of America. As a consequence, very few people came here. Entire years would go by without a single new child in class. Any new child could be guaranteed to leave in 3 years or less. (After 35+ years here, I can attest to the fact that 3 years is the maximum for any unmedicated transplant from a decent climate.) So even as a child he knew better than to bother getting to be friends with non natives. You have your family and your childhood friends and ignore anyone else.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that there are a lot of explanations for it, but, rather than calling it "The Seattle Freeze" and applying it only to meeting people, I formed the opinion that many (not all) of the people I've met in this area (native or not) seem to go out of their way to be negative. It's almost like symptoms of mass depression.
Also, there's this lingering, yet pervasive dislike of "transplants" among natives over 30, who seem to long for "the old days" before "all of these Californians (seems like all non-natives are considered 'Californians' here) moved in."