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Old 10-16-2009, 02:22 AM
 
139 posts, read 258,094 times
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People's antisocial behavior is noticable just from taking a walk. Specifically, in Herndon/Hunter Mill parks you say "hi" to people when you're out walking and most don't even respond. Then you go to groups and events that are meant to be social, an no one will talk to you. If you go with an attractive female, people will approach her, but I have to become heavily involved in groups and really be outgoing to get people to talk to me. My neighbors will talk to me if I go over to them, but no one ever comes over to me when I'm in my yard. This is not just for me, but my wife too. Of course, the path near my neighborhood is about standard for people not even wanting to say "hi."

You try to get contact information from people, and always get their e-mail. They'll say they want to get together, but either don't respond to your messages or take three days to get a lame one back. Again, this is not just me. This summer, several people came up with reasons to not be able to have lunch with me, and one didn't even want to talk on the phone. Again, not just me. If people perceive that you're powerful in some way and can benefit them, then yes, you'll get lots of lunch partners. But few do it just to be social.

I know that sometimes people from other cultures are wrapped up on them and just don't have time to make friends. For example, Asians often have numerous family events. Also, some folks are very involved with their church and have friends and just don't bother socializing beyond that. But this doesn't account for everyone.

I know that some people just lack social skills. Still, I don't get it. Do lots of people go around without friends at all? There is such a thing as suburban isolation. People on the roads are murderous. Maybe there's just a zeitgeist that is antisocial. It's not that I'm that needful, and I certainly have (superficial, which is another topic) friends, but it seems smart and normal to want to make new friends. Not building a network of people that can help you seems stupid.

Please don't spend a lot of time laying blame on me. I know better. There's just a real negative atmosphere out there. I just don't understand why.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:27 AM
 
4,083 posts, read 4,431,183 times
Reputation: 807
Default It's not you

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlumpen View Post
People's antisocial behavior is noticable just from taking a walk. Specifically, in Herndon/Hunter Mill parks you say "hi" to people when you're out walking and most don't even respond. Then you go to groups and events that are meant to be social, an no one will talk to you. If you go with an attractive female, people will approach her, but I have to become heavily involved in groups and really be outgoing to get people to talk to me. My neighbors will talk to me if I go over to them, but no one ever comes over to me when I'm in my yard. This is not just for me, but my wife too. Of course, the path near my neighborhood is about standard for people not even wanting to say "hi."

You try to get contact information from people, and always get their e-mail. They'll say they want to get together, but either don't respond to your messages or take three days to get a lame one back. Again, this is not just me. This summer, several people came up with reasons to not be able to have lunch with me, and one didn't even want to talk on the phone. Again, not just me. If people perceive that you're powerful in some way and can benefit them, then yes, you'll get lots of lunch partners. But few do it just to be social.

I know that sometimes people from other cultures are wrapped up on them and just don't have time to make friends. For example, Asians often have numerous family events. Also, some folks are very involved with their church and have friends and just don't bother socializing beyond that. But this doesn't account for everyone.

I know that some people just lack social skills. Still, I don't get it. Do lots of people go around without friends at all? There is such a thing as suburban isolation. People on the roads are murderous. Maybe there's just a zeitgeist that is antisocial. It's not that I'm that needful, and I certainly have (superficial, which is another topic) friends, but it seems smart and normal to want to make new friends. Not building a network of people that can help you seems stupid.

Please don't spend a lot of time laying blame on me. I know better. There's just a real negative atmosphere out there. I just don't understand why.
No its not you. I moved to this area 13 1/2 years ago and I noticed it right away and it was hard to make friends. I moved here from SW virginia and a college town where folks were much friendlier. I had a young son so to make friends I found a mom's group, and that was how I made some friends.The best way to make friends is to find an organization, place of worship that you like, folks you work with. There are also newcomers groups. This area is full of transients who work and live here for a while then move on.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:41 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
606 posts, read 1,518,090 times
Reputation: 448
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlumpen View Post
People's antisocial behavior is noticable just from taking a walk. Specifically, in Herndon/Hunter Mill parks you say "hi" to people when you're out walking and most don't even respond. Then you go to groups and events that are meant to be social, an no one will talk to you. If you go with an attractive female, people will approach her, but I have to become heavily involved in groups and really be outgoing to get people to talk to me. My neighbors will talk to me if I go over to them, but no one ever comes over to me when I'm in my yard. This is not just for me, but my wife too. Of course, the path near my neighborhood is about standard for people not even wanting to say "hi."

You try to get contact information from people, and always get their e-mail. They'll say they want to get together, but either don't respond to your messages or take three days to get a lame one back. Again, this is not just me. This summer, several people came up with reasons to not be able to have lunch with me, and one didn't even want to talk on the phone. Again, not just me. If people perceive that you're powerful in some way and can benefit them, then yes, you'll get lots of lunch partners. But few do it just to be social.

I know that sometimes people from other cultures are wrapped up on them and just don't have time to make friends. For example, Asians often have numerous family events. Also, some folks are very involved with their church and have friends and just don't bother socializing beyond that. But this doesn't account for everyone.

I know that some people just lack social skills. Still, I don't get it. Do lots of people go around without friends at all? There is such a thing as suburban isolation. People on the roads are murderous. Maybe there's just a zeitgeist that is antisocial. It's not that I'm that needful, and I certainly have (superficial, which is another topic) friends, but it seems smart and normal to want to make new friends. Not building a network of people that can help you seems stupid.

Please don't spend a lot of time laying blame on me. I know better. There's just a real negative atmosphere out there. I just don't understand why.
Welcome to Northern Virginia.

For that matter, this is how the entire DC Metro area tends to be. People are very difficult to get to know. I've lived in Atlanta, Raleigh, Baltimore, and Johnson City, TN, and this area is by far the most difficult to meet people in.

People tend to be very uptight and keep to themselves. People here also tend to be afraid of other people. The mindset is sort of a "everyone's a potential murderer - tread carefully" one.

I think I've gotten used to it over time --- in fact, I kind of worry that when I move to another area, I'll be viewed as "anti-social" because I became so accustomed to the DC norm.

It's not so terrible once you've been here awhile. You make friends eventually and once you have some networks, things are easier; but most other places I've been are much easier to establish those networks to begin with. And even after living in the DC area for a combined 3.5 years (between MD and VA), I still have more friends in places like Raleigh (lived there for 1 year) and Atlanta (2 years) than I do here. And a good chunk of my friends here have moved here from other areas I've lived in.

I'm content here right now because things are going pretty well and there's lots to do in DC, but I still long for the friendlier cultures in other parts of the nation.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:02 AM
 
139 posts, read 258,094 times
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Thanks for the insight. I'm not new to the area and am not really looking for ways to make friends. I'm just puzzled. I wish I could attribute it to folks being from the Northeast, but it doesn't seem to matter where they're from. Maybe it being scared like Jakilathehun said. I know that people are extra paranoid that you're going to get a one-up on them like getting ahead of them in line. So many people are so sour too. I'll me in my shorts getting ice cream and people will saunter by with tombstone looks on their faces.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:20 AM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,159,059 times
Reputation: 6500
Well, I am one of those unfriendly natives!!!

I assure you that I am not worried that people will murder me nor do I think they will one-up me. Not at all. Quite honestly, I am a working mother with a long commute and two kids that take up a lot of my time. Once I get home, I don't go out that much and I spend weekends getting my chores/errands done. Would I like a social life? Sure I would. But I truly don't have time for it. My free time is spent just trying to get some time alone to just sort out my thoughts. I'm sure that things will change as I get more empty-nested.

I can't say how other areas are as I am a native. When I lived outside this area, I was in the military and that, in itself, is a different world. I made tons of friends there because you had to (and I didn't have kids and a commute keeping me busy either).

I'm quite sure that you are correct in that we are more unfriendly here but of all the people I know (mostly natives or long-term people here), it is not out of fear but it's due to time constraints.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,758,268 times
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A lot of people seem to make this sort of observation about the area, so it is probably a valid concern.

Personally, I've had no trouble making friends here at all, but I second what a previous commenter said about joining organizations and building friendships that way. You're unlikely to develop a real connection with someone you happen to bump into on a walk - people aren't necessarily comfortable with that, for better or worse - but if you belong to the same group, then they feel like you already have some common ground. And yeah, even then, someone has to be proactive. I commend the OP for at least taking chances, most of us don't go out on that limb and then we wonder why we don't have as many friends as we'd like

People talk to me when I'm out and about all. the. time. While I'm not particularly attractive, I'm very...approachable, somehow? I mean, I frequently get asked for directions even when I'm a tourist. Having kids has only increased this - I think this is because if you know anything about moms and you come up to talk to me, you've already got some sort of basis for conversation. You ask how old the kids are (nobody asks me where I went to college - EVERYONE asks how old my kids are) and the conversation goes from there. If you approach just a random person, who knows what they're interested in?

I think that because this area is filled with wealthy, successful people, it's easy to assume that they're all just being snobs. I'm sure this is true for some of them. But even when they're wealthy and successful, they're still people. Busy and worried and sometimes scared of rejection. I don't think the way we live around here is conducive to forming friendships, and that is a shame, but I'm reluctant to paint all the people here as jerks because of this.

I do know one woman...just one out of the many I've met here...her husband works with my husband...honestly, I almost never return her emails or phone calls. I feel really bad about this and I think she wants to be friends, but we've spent some time together socially and honestly? I just don't like her. I don't enjoy her company. But what am I supposed to do? "Thanks for the email, but I'm just not feeling the love here. My husband really likes your husband, though!" So the email goes unanswered. Sometimes people just don't "click."
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,844,610 times
Reputation: 18992
Maybe I just lucked out when we were choosing neighborhoods, but my experience has been completely different. When we moved here from Los Angeles we were struck by how many people waved at us.

Everytime we walked down the street complete strangers would wave as they drove by. My son used to get a little nervous about it. He'd say "Mom, do you know those people?"

But then we realized that's just how everyone in the neighborhood acts... so we started doing it to. Now it seems totally normal to wave at everyone who goes by. Before moving here I lived in Cleveland, Miami, Houston, Denver, North Carolina, Georgia, and all over southern California. I never had strangers waving at me in those places, not like they do here.

But maybe my neighborhoods just unusually friendly. I live out in the 'burbs in a neighborhood that's gotten relatively settled. Maybe that has something to do with it, too. One reason I like to buy a house in an established neighborhood rather than buy new construction.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,758,268 times
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I also agree with Normie about neighborhoods being "settled." Nobody looked at me twice when we lived in Ballston, everyone there is truly transient. But as soon as we moved to Falls Church City, our neighbors came by to introduce themselves. People in my neighborhood don't wave, but they do always say hello when we're out on a walk.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,844,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athousandlogins View Post
I do know one woman...just one out of the many I've met here...her husband works with my husband...honestly, I almost never return her emails or phone calls. I feel really bad about this and I think she wants to be friends, but we've spent some time together socially and honestly? I just don't like her. I don't enjoy her company. But what am I supposed to do? "Thanks for the email, but I'm just not feeling the love here. My husband really likes your husband, though!" So the email goes unanswered. Sometimes people just don't "click."
At the same time, I can relate to this, too.

I've had a few people who've tried to push friendships on me, and for a variety of reasons I didn't want to be friends. Some people are too needy. And god forbid you act friendly to them for a little bit and then shy away--they're always the ones who make a big fuss and then blame it all on how "unfriendly people are around here."

I'm also friendlier to people that I see on a regular basis. And I'm definitely friendlier to people in the real world. Since I've started spending time online I've become vigilant about my anonymity. A lot of people from this forum have sent me DMs, suggesting we get together. I think that's really nice, really I do. And they're usually people I think very highly of. But even though it's nice, I always decline. No exceptions. I've heard too many scary stories about meeting people from the internet. Besides, my life is already full of friends. I really have no extra time.

I guess that makes me seem unfriendly. So be it, I can only stretch so far and do things with so many people.

Last edited by normie; 10-16-2009 at 07:16 AM..
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
606 posts, read 1,518,090 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
it is not out of fear but it's due to time constraints.
Commuting in Atlanta is probably even worse than here, but Atlantans are very friendly; especially when compared to people from DC.

Of course, there might be somewhat of a generational gap here, too. This area has become more transient over the past few decades, but people who have lived here for a few decades and have some roots here now probably came in when there was a much different environment present in the area.

The transience might be the primary reason the area seems very unfriendly. There aren't too many places in the nation with more short-term inhabitants than the DC area. You have immigrants from all over the world, you have contractors, you have the political-types, you have short-term employment opportunity seekers, etc, etc. I don't know if there are stats on regional population "turnover", but I imagine the DC Metro area has a very high "turnover".

The high turnover could mean that communities and culture don't become very firmly rooted. This means people don't know as many people, on average. This, in turn, means that people are less comfortable in their surroundings and perhaps more skeptical of "new" people.

I don't think people here are radically different once you get to know them. They just tend to be more insular and it's more difficult to get to know them in the first place.

Of course, I'm from the South, so maybe my perspective is biased by that to some degree, but even Baltimore has always seemed much more friendly to me than DC.
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