Hope everyone had a good independence day!
So, Stacy and I ended up chatting about the Seattle Freeze. I don’t remember exactly why, but I thought it was an interesting topic, and I’ve heard about it from numerous people, so hey, why not drop my thoughts in a blog post.
Seattle folk may seem polite, even friendly. But try to make real friends and you may quickly come to the conclusion that we’re all fake cold cliquish xenophobic jerks.
Well, you’re absolutely right. Throw in a good dose of passive-agressive too.
I blame the crappy weather. Seasonal Affective Disorder on an epidemic scale. Everyone gets it. There’s no escaping. We self-medicate with epic amounts of coffee, our liquid sunshine, but the caffein just aggravates our i’m-going-somewhere-important-so-excuse-me-please-and-get-out-of-my-way attitude.
We go from our condos to our cars to our cubicles. Drop us inside a safe little box, protected from all the scary people on the outside, and we’re happy. Not like other big cities where people do experience one another in crowded subways, crowded sidewalks and the like.
So how does one actually go about making friends and meeting people in Seattle? Same way you do everywhere else.
1) Be interesting. Get a hobby. Read books. Play with computers. Like sports. Whatever. You gotta have something in common with people to get the time of day around here.
Me? I took up bellydancing because I’d always wanted to. And surprise, surprise, I made some really great bellydancer friends. I also happen to like goth/industrial music, and hey, Seattle has a surprisingly great community for those on the dark side.
Most recently, I’ve taken up writing fiction. Other writers are coming out of the woodwork, now that I’ve come out of the literary closet. No surprise there, as probably a quarter of us in Seattle want to write a book.
2) Be available. You don’t meet people and make friends by hiding at home. You just gotta get off your ass and be around people.
Mumble-mumble years ago, I discovered coffee. Seattle coffee. The double-tall-half-caff-split-shot-macchiato-with-extra-zest kind of coffee. Mine was simpler, a single tall mocha, but you get the idea. I ended up going to The Last Exit on Brooklyn most evenings to sit and read, or work on the computer. After a bit, I became part of the Exit crowd. The regulars who’d look dismissively at me when I walked started to smile and nod. Soon, I ended up becoming friends with a number of them. Just because I was there all…the…time.
Bellydancing? I didn’t sit at home bellydancing in front of my dog. Well, I do that sometimes, but that’s beside the point. I took classes. Lots of them. Classes with people in them. That is, in fact, how I met my bellydancer friends.
And hey, I discovered sci-fi and fantasy cons recently, and I’ve found I like other writers. How about that.
3) Be patient. You won’t immediately make friends with a core group of Seattle folk. It may take months, even longer. You’ll run across a lot of shallow people, a lot of flakes, and a lot of drama magnets. Avoid them. Just hang in there, and do items one and two above.
4) Don’t be desperate. Show some self confidence. If you come across as a pitiful clingy loser, you’ll never meet anyone. Well, except for other pitiful clingy losers.
5) Don’t be pushy. Seriously, I don’t want you to shove your life story down my throat. If I’m interested in talking to you, I’ll talk But if you sit down next to me on the bus and regurgitate your opinion on the political situation in the U.S. into my lap while I’m trying to read a book, I’ll likely not want to be your friend. I’ll probably want to chew my arm off just to get away from you.
Fortunately for you, I’m a native, so I won’t start a fight or bitch you out. I’ll just shove my nose deeper into my book.
Sound like the typical advice for making friends anywhere? It is. You just gotta do a lot more of it in Seattle.
Spend a year or so becoming part of a clique or two, and you’ll be set to do your passive-aggressive best to those losers wandering around Seattle. Hey, most of them are from California anyway. Fair game.