Seattle Freeze

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The term Seattle Freeze refers to a widely held belief that it is especially difficult to make new friends in the city of Seattle, Washington, particularly for transplants from other cities. A 2005 Seattle Times article appears to be the first known use of the term, though a 1946 Seattle Daily Times excerpt also describes the phenomenon.[1][2]

Newcomers to the area have described Seattleites as being standoffish, cold, distant, and distrustful,[3] while in settings such as bars and parties, people from Seattle tend to mainly interact with their particular clique.[4] One author described the aversion to strangers as that "people are very polite but not particularly friendly".[5] While some residents dispute the existence of the Seattle Freeze,[6][7] 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.[8] In 2014 a similar report by the Seattle CityClub ranked the population 48th out of 50 similarly-sized cities in activities such as "talking with neighbors frequently".[9] The rapid growth of Amazon and its accompanying influx of largely young, male technology workers may have exacerbated the problem.[10][11]

It has been speculated that the origin of the phenomenon could stem from the reserved personalities of the city's early Nordic[12] and Asian immigrants.[2] Other reasons may include the emotional effects of the climate (such as Seasonal Affective Disorder), or the region's history of independent-minded pioneers.[2][13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jim Gates (March 17, 2014). "Is The Seattle Freeze A Real Thing?". KUOW.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Lacitis, Erik (January 17, 2009). "Friendless in Seattle: A popular Web site is used for relief from our chilly social scene". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Madison, Amber (2011). Are All Guys Assholes?. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-54755-7.[page needed]
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Thomas, Linda (March 28, 2011). "The Seattle Freeze". KIRO. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  7. ^ Judd, Ron (January 9, 2015). "If you weren't born in Seattle or the Northwest, you'll never be one of us". Seattle Times - Pacific NW Magazine. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Permenter, Cody (3 May 2016). "How I Learned to Love the Seattle Freeze". Thrillist.
  10. ^ Reifman, Jeff (March 22, 2015), Peepless in Seattle: Dating, Friendship and the Seattle Freeze
  11. ^ Amageddon: How Amazon’s culture is taking a toll on Seattle’s future, Geekwire, November 19, 2014
  12. ^ Wing, Jennifer. "Why is the 'Seattle Freeze' so hard to melt?". KPLU. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  13. ^ Rolph, Amy (January 6, 2012). "The Seattle Freeze: Real or all in your head?". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  14. ^ Balk, Gene (December 4, 2012). "Seattle Freeze: Can we blame it on the Norwegians?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved Dec 4, 2012.