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Old 06-22-2012, 03:43 AM
38 posts, read 185,999 times
Reputation: 63


I think Seattle is a very nice city.....due to the nature, the economy, the new-ness and overall appearance of the city compared to other older cities back east, the lack of real bad and crime riddled areas, and ..well...that is about it in my opinion. Here are the reasons I have left the region. Firstly, the summers are seriously short ( I am always tickled when people say how beautiful the summers are in Seattle.....and how they love to point this out), and Seattle only gets around 60 days of sunshine a year! It is also way too crowded nowadays, and the traffic is one of the worst in the USA. It is also expensive in Seattle...from rent to food to the median cost of a home being over 400,000 dollars. Seattle has got some diversity, mainly Asians, yet still is a very predominantly Scandinavian/white city. There is not a great amount of ethnic culture in Seattle within the Caucasian/European heritage element in Seattle.

Seattle is one of the most liberal cities in America and wears that badge very proudly. It is seemingly more accepting of folks who are more into the alternative lifestyle, such as those into getting tatted up, and folks who are heavily into yoga, new age belief systems, and holistic living lifestyles and etc. All in all, yes, there are tons of people who love and enjoy all this about Seattle...and feel wonderful about residing in Seattle. I understand that.

But here is the biggest factor as to why I left Seattle........the social climate...I found most people in Seattle (the locals from the area)......to be very civil, well-behaved and polite enough, but nearly impossible to get to know. Seattle in my view, is a very elitist city, a smart, highly educated populace more or less. For me, it was much too elitist. Most people I met immediately longed to know what you do for living. This was imperative to most the people I met over the years I spent there. As if not much else really mattered much to them. I went through the experience of being shunned tons of times due to this because I am in construction and not some Microsoft software developer or something. Also, with a huge Scandinavian influenced culture and heritage, I found most people to be too leery, too uptight, unenthusiastic, and very fickle in regard to the cultivation of new friendships.

No matter how wonderful a person you are, how loving, how kind, Seattle is one tough nut to crack socially if you are not from the region and do not fit real snugly into one of the very liberal sub-cultures. I found folks to primarily be much too standoffish, much to leery, and actually very silently judgmental. It just felt all very superficially friendly to me. Too uptight, and very anti-social, coupled with the elitist provincialism. It is like their is no zeal, for people, but more for pets, nature and alternative lifestyle views. I have never encountered such a tough social climate in all my travels abroad and in the USA.

I always felt it could be the Scandinavian influenced heritage affecting the social climate in the region. When I was in Germany years ago, I recall the Germans joking that if people thought they were reserved and aloof, one ought to go to Sweden and really see how reserved and hard to go to know the Swedes are.

Also, for single men new to the area, Seattle has over 50000 more single men than single women. The area has one of the worst demographics in the USA for single men. I assure you, it shows as well.

I just cant believe all the years I spend in social isolation in Seattle, not being from there and trying to cultivate new friendships. Folks are more introverted in Seattle, much less social, and not fond of people who are gregarious and overly friendly. There is something amiss in my opinion when it comes to dealing with people socially, in Seattle. I found no heart and soul in Seattle....seemed to be all about career, money, and being anti-social to the those who they do not know, or who do have glowing white collar careers, and who share their liberal views and lifestyles. It is the sort of social environment where ou may meet some folks here and there, they will say they will call you, get in touch, maybe go hang out sometime and etc.....yet then you simply never hear from them again. It is real strange. Just very flaky socially, like nowhere else I ever been in the USA. I had to leave due to my character and personality type. I was just way too friendly for Seattle, and genuine about it. Seattle is not for gregarious, and people loving social souls.

If you are more passive, want to be left alone, don't care to make many friends, are reserved, and like life that way......yes, then Seattle is a great city for sure.

Old 06-22-2012, 07:09 AM
260 posts, read 768,395 times
Reputation: 151
I too have experienced what you have. I love the city of Seattle, the beauty, and yes even the weather but the chill of people here is what makes Seattle gloomy for me. That said there are a lot of people not from here and I have found friendships with them. So the question is where do you go? California is a financial mess and the rest of the country too extreme in weather for me. So here I stay.
Old 06-22-2012, 08:39 AM
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,811 posts, read 5,624,039 times
Reputation: 4009
Maybe my wife and I have just been lucky, but we find most people here (neighbors, coworkers) to be pretty much the same as they were back home in the Midwest- very friendly, outgoing, and easy to get to know.
Old 06-22-2012, 08:47 AM
Location: N26.03 W80.11
326 posts, read 949,558 times
Reputation: 329
I respect your opinion of why Seattle is wrong for you, but I find your whole Scandinavian aspect of why people are "chilly" to be kind of funny. Have you ever spent time in the upper Midwest? The friendliest place in the country in my opinion and it's a pretty homogenous place with more of a Scandinavian/German heritage than anywhere else in the U.S.

I think in order to make friends you have to have interests in something other than work. What do you enjoy doing? I bet there's a club for that, whatever it is. Find like minded people. If you aren't interested in the tech world then don't try to be friends with techie people. You say you're in construction then maybe volunteer some time with an organization like Habitat for Humanity. Maybe you won't find your BFF there, but you will be socializing.

Where do you plan on going? If you want to meet some seriously cold and exclusive people I would suggest hot and always summer South Florida.
Old 06-22-2012, 09:02 AM
1,638 posts, read 3,830,783 times
Reputation: 3502
I have my own theory about the "Seattle freeze". My DH and I are getting ready to move to Seattle and here is my take on things:

Seattle is full of extremely smart people. Some of them are probably genius smart, and often people who are extremely smart tend to be challenged in the social arena. A lot of "genius range" IQ people also have Aspergers. People with autism have a very hard time with socialization. People who are highly gifted often have a hard time with socialization, probably because they are used to not being around like minded peers, and find they don't have much in common with people. So they generally keep to themselves. After a lifetime of devoting yourself to your interests, socialization just doesn't rank very high on the list of "interests".

My husband and I are both very smart and "quirky". Neither one of us has very many friends because it's just so hard to fit in with people. Neither one of us is much into drinking or the bar scene, bunco clubs, the PTA, and many of the other social outlets parents have. I do like to make friends, but usually it's just 1 or 2 close people. A lot of people would probably say I'm "snobby" or "snotty", but really, I am not at all. I just have a very hard time relating to people, and I'm hoping when I move to Seattle I will find a lot more smart and quirky people like me.

So yes---I think if you're used to a traditional social environment filled with church functions, PTA meetings, soccer clubs, bunco, and drinking/bar hopping---you are going to have a tough time in a place like Seattle. But if you're a like minded peer, liberal, a bit introverted, and have similar interests to the IT geeks, you will probably make a few good friends.

My MIL always tells me that while she rarely gets invited out, she has never had anyone turn her down when she asks. I think everyone kind of sits around waiting for everyone else to take the initiative or make the first move. Maybe Seattlites just need to be a bit more aggressive in their approach and just keep trying.

Old 06-22-2012, 10:05 AM
Location: Washington State. Not Seattle.
2,251 posts, read 3,269,786 times
Reputation: 3480
Although there are major differences in political viewpoints, affluence, education levels, etc, around different regions of the Pacific Northwest, I think the general social attitude seems to be fairly similar all around the PNW. I see that attitude as more of an "aloofness", rather than elistism or people being unfriendly. In other words, I find people all over the PNW to be extremely cordial and nice and pleasant to talk to, but it seems that very few of them are willing to go out of their way to make new friends or help out a stranger.

In contrast, to me (and, granted, I have only been there a few times) people in the South seem very unfriendly. Having made many, many business trips to both Texas and Florida, I have yet to discover the famed "Southern hospitality" that I hear so much about. I'm not sure if it's because I have a "Northern" accent that turns them off, or if Southern hospitality just doesn't exist anymore, but I definitely find people in the PNW more pleasant to socialize with. Just my opinion.
Old 06-22-2012, 10:36 AM
Location: Berlin, Germany
507 posts, read 1,668,640 times
Reputation: 345
I've been here for two years now and I cannot at all confirm the OP's observations.

I've met lots of people here, at work and socially, and I don't think I've met more than two persons of Scandinavian heritage. In my experience nowadays most Seattleites have moved here from somewhere else, just like in other big cities I have been living in.

Once you're out of high-school or college and working it's difficult to make friends anywhere in the world. I've found Seattle much easier in that respect than for instance London, where I lived before. It's still not easy but I made some friends, all of which work in totally different areas than myself and don't appear to be too interested in what I do
Old 06-22-2012, 10:39 AM
561 posts, read 1,180,007 times
Reputation: 384
Having lived in Seattle about 14 years I generally agree. While I absolutely love the natural beauty and outdoor recreation (during the summer anyway), the people have always seemed a bit 'off' to me. The reasons for this are very complex, but many other posters have made some valid observations. To affirm and elaborate on them...

Seattle has become primarily a career oriented city. This began with the mid-90s tech boom, and has continued since. So many people who live here now are so focused on work that's pretty much all they do and know, including most of the people they socialize with. With all the growth, Seattle has become more of a generic large city than it once was.

The University of WA attracts many out-of-state and international students who live here for a short-time (less than 5 years). This is also true to a great extent of the general population; many residents are transient, living here for a short time. This doesn't create much incentive for them to develop a sense of community.

To some extent I think Seattle has always been somewhat "clique-ish" (as long as I've lived here), but trend seems to have exaserbated over the past decade or so. Several years ago someone compared New Yorkers and Seattlites (paraphrase): 'Seattlites are very polite and courteous, but not really friendly; they're warm on the outside, but cold and closed off on the inside. New Yorkers are just the opposite; they seem rude and abrassive at first, but once you get to know them they're actually warm and effusive.' I haven't spent much time in NYC, but I think his/her description of Seattle is accurate.

Unfortunately, it also might be a trend with the country at large: More and more, people tend to spend time only with others who are like them in terms of socioeconomics, culture, etc. Our entire culture has become clique-ish.

While the PNW is a beautiful place, and there are some things I love about it, all other things being equal I prefer to live in a smaller, quieter area. Unfortunately, most of those areas have severely limited job opportunities. I work for King County and have wonderful pension benefits that I'm not going to get anywhere else (defined pension benefits seem to be going away for many new public sector workers). Consequently I'm sort of stuck here, at least for a few more years.
Old 06-22-2012, 11:03 AM
Location: Moose Jaw, in between the Moose's butt and nose.
5,152 posts, read 8,525,636 times
Reputation: 2038
I think Vancouver, BC, is even worse, than Seattle, when it comes to this stuff ("freeze").
Old 06-22-2012, 11:08 AM
2,064 posts, read 4,433,613 times
Reputation: 1468
I am fine with this. I am generally not all that social either. I hang out with work people sometimes (happy hour, etc.) and a few friends and acquaintances here and there but in general I enjoy going out to nice restaurants, drinking nice wine, and that's about it.

I am also fairly conservative politically. I usually don't talk politics because my views tend to clash with most of the people around me but if someone asks, I'll answer. I hope people don't take this the wrong way but I also don't really like spending too much time with people who aren't that smart...i.e., I don't watch Jim Carrey movies, watch SNL, etc...actually I don't watch much TV at all so I don't really identify with people who get excited over the latest episode of Mad Men, etc.

My typical week is spent working from mon-fri all day so I only have time for a nice dinner most nights. Saturday is spent on hobby stuff (I bike a lot and like other stuff like photography, scuba diving, etc.). On Sundays I got to church. Sunday afternoons are spent resting at home with the family. Most of the friends I make are church friends actually because we tend to have a lot more in common with it comes to politics and social issues.

So in that sense, I think I'll be fine in Seattle. I don't think I'm elitist but if I am, I like other elitists. Xanthos will be my friend...
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