The Seattle Freeze « Brian Herman’s blog

There’s a supposed phenomenon known as the Seattle Freeze. It is said people in this town are openly friendly, almost in an extreme, but they don’t easily dive deep into new relationships. So people seem nice but they don’t really want to be friends with you. Seattleites (I love that word) are somewhat polarized about if it’s a real thing or not.

I’ve read blogs and forums discussing this and many people say it’s absolutely true and “happened to them”. So far I can not comment on the validity of this; I’ve not been in town long enough to form any friendships. But I can tell you that the people of Seattle are amazingly welcoming! This is nothing like what I’m used to in Denver

My wife points out that Denver’s culture stems from it’s old-west roots and the cowboy ethos of ‘minding your business’ still pervades our sensibilities. That’s not to say Denverites (not as cool a word) are cold, but there’s a definite edge. Random conversations with strangers take place when required and scarcely go beyond the basics of “nice day” or “your dog is so cute!”; restaurant workers are polite enough but don’t really engage beyond the dance of their profession and store workers will largely ignore you unless you approach them.

Not so in Seattle. From my first meal there I was taken aback by how engaged my server

was in talking to me, she was really pushing a conversation not just an ordering process. The folks at the coffee shop are overwhelmingly bubbly and have a way of lifting up your day (imagine your best Starbucks barista and then double it). I have a little pub down the street from my apartment and I’ve been 3 times, when I walk in the door they call “Hey Denver!” from the conversation that I had with a waiter on my first visit and they come and TALK to me. I’ve had strangers seated at the bar strike up detailed conversations about not just the game on TV but about my job, my move, and their lives in Seattle.

None of these conversations have been superficial and when I revert to my learned behavior of neatly wrapping up the topic and going back to “minding my business” these people don’t give up on it, they ask another question or come back to something I’d said earlier and continue the conversation.

My apartment is on the ground floor and rather than ignoring me sitting in there, people wave at me when walking by! People chat me up at the bus stop. I don’t know if there is a Seattle Freeze or not, if there is it will take me months to discover, but in the mean time these people make it hard not to feel engaged in the city and its culture.

I’ll keep you posted!

Clearly Brian is doing it right. Perhaps his time in standoffish Denver, as he put it, is what puts the Seattleites in a light to be appreciated.

Glad to hear things are off to a good start, Brian!

Posted via web from Seattle Freeze


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