The Seattle Freeze is, according to widely held belief, a difficulty with making new friends in the U.S. city of Seattle, Washington, particularly for transplants from other areas. A 2005 article in The Seattle Times appears to be the first known use of the term, although the phenomenon was documented during rapid population increases in the early 1920s, World War II, and the 1980s. The phenomenon is sometimes found/associated with Portland, Oregon, Denver, Colorado and Vancouver, Canada as well.

Key traits edit

Newcomers to the area have described Seattleites as socioculturally apathetic, standoffish, cold, distant, and distrustful.[1] People from Seattle tend to mainly interact with their particular clique in social settings such as bars and parties.[2] One author described the aversion to strangers as "people [who] are very polite but not particularly friendly",[3] while some residents dispute any existence of the Seattle Freeze altogether.[4][5]

History edit

Speculation of the origin is the reserved personalities of the city's early Nordic and Asian immigrants,[6][7] the emotional effects of the climate (such as Seasonal Affective Disorder), or the region's history of independent-minded pioneers.[7][8][9]

The Seattle Times reported in April 1920: “Seattle people have been accused of being too cold and distant.”[10] The Seattle Daily Times described similar characteristics as early as the 1940s.[11][12] Seattle experienced an influx of new residents from California beginning in the 1980s, and a 2005 article in The Seattle Times appears to be the first known use of the term.[7][13]

A 2008 peer-reviewed study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science found that among all 50 states, Washington residents ranked 48th in the personality trait extraversion.[14] In 2014, a report by a local nonprofit organization ranked the population 48th out of 50 similarly sized cities in "talking with neighbors frequently",[15] and 37th for "giving or receiving favors".[16] The rapid growth of Amazon and its accompanying influx of technology workers who could be considered more introverted than other working professionals may have exacerbated the issue.[17][18] A 2019 nonscientific poll conducted by Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance found that about 40% of the 1,200 respondents in Washington and Oregon said making new friends was not important.[19] In a similar 2022 poll, about two-thirds of residents agreed, at least somewhat, that giving newcomers the "cold shoulder" was a typical trait from those in the Pacific Northwest.[10]

The Seattle Freeze was discussed in relation to isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic spurred lockdowns due to the region's already engrained propensity for "cultural distancing",[20] along with the Director of the University of Washington's Center for the Science of Social Connection describing it as "you feel outside the group but the group itself is intact".[21]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Lacitis, Erik (January 17, 2009). "Friendless in Seattle: A popular website is used for relief from our chilly social scene". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  2. ^ Madison, Amber (December 2013). Are All Guys Assholes?. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-54755-7.
  3. ^ Maria, Christensen (2007). Newcomer's handbook for moving to and living in Seattle (3 ed.). Portland, Oregon: First Books. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-912301-73-0.
  4. ^ Thomas, Linda (March 28, 2011). "The Seattle Freeze". KIRO. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  5. ^ Judd, Ron (January 9, 2015). "If you weren't born in Seattle or the Northwest, you'll never be one of us". Pacific NW Magazine. The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  6. ^ Wing, Jennifer (January 6, 2012). "Why is the 'Seattle Freeze' so hard to melt?". KNKX. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Sommerfeld, Julia (February 13, 2005). "Our Social Dis-ease: Beyond the smiles, the Seattle Freeze is on". Pacific NW Magazine. The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 5, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  8. ^ Rolph, Amy (January 6, 2012). "The Seattle Freeze: Real or all in your head?". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  9. ^ Balk, Gene (December 4, 2012). "Seattle Freeze: Can we blame it on the Norwegians?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Clarridge, Christine (April 12, 2022). "What it takes to be considered a true Seattleite and PNW local". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  11. ^ "Such Discussion Can Help Build A Better City". The Seattle Daily Times. February 1, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Berger, Knute (April 30, 2020). "Transplants vs. locals is the cultural permafrost always under Seattle's feet". Crosscut. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  13. ^ Gates, Jim (March 17, 2014). "Is The Seattle Freeze A Real Thing?". KUOW.
  14. ^ Rentfrow, Peter J.; Gosling, Samuel D.; Potter, Jeff (September 2008). "A Theory of the Emergence, Persistence, and Expression of Geographic Variation in Psychological Characteristics". Perspectives on Psychological Science. 3 (5): 339–369. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00084.x. PMID 26158954. S2CID 17059908.
  15. ^ Permenter, Cody (May 2, 2016). "How I Learned to Love the Seattle Freeze". Thrillist. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  16. ^ Holmdale, Kearsten (February 13, 2014). "Study confirms 'Seattle Freeze' is real and rampant". KCPQ. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  17. ^ Reifman, Jeff (March 22, 2015), Peepless in Seattle: Dating, Friendship and the Seattle Freeze, retrieved April 13, 2022
  18. ^ Amageddon: How Amazon's culture is taking a toll on Seattle's future, Geekwire, November 19, 2014, retrieved April 13, 2022
  19. ^ Clarridge, Christine (May 5, 2019). "'Seattle Freeze': Forget making friends — half of Washington residents don't even want to talk to you". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  20. ^ Paton, Dean (May 13, 2020). "Why Washington state was so prepared for its pandemic challenge". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  21. ^ Sayler, Zoe (August 4, 2020). "The Future of Social Lives: Could Covid-19 Melt the Seattle Freeze?". Seattle Met. Retrieved April 13, 2022.