The term Seattle Freeze refers to a widely held belief that it is especially difficult to make new friends in the U.S. 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 the Seattle Daily Times described the phenomenon as early as the 1940s.
Newcomers to the area have described Seattleites as being standoffish, cold, distant, and distrustful, while in settings such as bars and parties, people from Seattle tend to mainly interact with their particular clique. One author described the aversion to strangers as "people are very polite but not particularly friendly". While some residents dispute the existence of the Seattle Freeze, 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. 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". The rapid growth of Amazon and its accompanying influx of largely young, male technology workers may have exacerbated the phenomenon.
It has been speculated that the origin of the phenomenon could stem from the reserved personalities of the city's early Nordic and Asian immigrants. Other reasons may include the emotional effects of the climate (such as Seasonal Affective Disorder), or the region's history of independent-minded pioneers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle was the first major U.S. city affected and began implementing social distancing measures earlier than other regions. The Seattle Freeze was cited as a factor in the pandemic's slowdown by late March and below-average speed of disease spread across Washington state.
- Emotional trust
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- List of U.S. states ranked per five-factor model personality trait
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- Jim Gates (March 17, 2014). "Is The Seattle Freeze A Real Thing?". KUOW.
- 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.
- "Such Discussion Can Help Build A Better City". The Seattle Daily Times. February 1, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
- Berger, Knute (April 30, 2020). "Transplants vs. locals is the cultural permafrost always under Seattle's feet". Crosscut. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
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- Madison, Amber (2011). Are All Guys Assholes?. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-54755-7.[page needed]
- 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.
- Thomas, Linda (March 28, 2011). "The Seattle Freeze". KIRO. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- 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.
- 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.
- Permenter, Cody (3 May 2016). "How I Learned to Love the Seattle Freeze". Thrillist.
- Reifman, Jeff (March 22, 2015), Peepless in Seattle: Dating, Friendship and the Seattle Freeze
- Amageddon: How Amazon's culture is taking a toll on Seattle's future, Geekwire, November 19, 2014
- Wing, Jennifer. "Why is the 'Seattle Freeze' so hard to melt?". KPLU. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
- Rolph, Amy (January 6, 2012). "The Seattle Freeze: Real or all in your head?". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
- Balk, Gene (December 4, 2012). "Seattle Freeze: Can we blame it on the Norwegians?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved Dec 4, 2012.
- Baker, Mike (March 29, 2020). "Coronavirus Slowdown in Seattle Suggests Restrictions Are Working". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- P-I, Alex Halverson, Seattle (2021-01-04). "Washington has the third-lowest COVID-19 spread in US". seattlepi.com. Retrieved 2021-02-14.