Blogs Nov 10, 2010 at 8:24 am


Fuck you, Travel Plus Leisure Magazine! We are so goddamn attractive and friendly!
It is, in fact, quite possible to disagree with that statement Charles.
beckham was here on sunday they should rerank
sadly, it's kind of true. when we moved to Seattle we definitely noticed that people were not nearly as friendly and outgoing. people here are really nice once you get to know them (mostly) but are VERY reserved initially and generally a little antisocial. And yes - on average Seattlites are very frumpy. (there are, of course, exceptions -- especially around Cap Hill).
If someone wants to take me shopping and buy me a new wardrobe I would be happy to be more stylish.
Stylish people don't like getting rained on.
Strangely, this makes me like Seattle more.
fuck you if you think how you dress matters to anyone intelligent
@4 - Every once in a while, I'll try to make eye contact with a stranger (not counting those who are selling something), just to see if I can. I have not yet succeeded.

People around here will go to incredible lengths to avoid eye contact with other people. I wonder if Seattle is autistic. Has anyone noticed Seattle obsessively stacking things or flapping their hands?
and we don't iron our clothes either. i know this because my mom told me during her last visit.' child' she says - she always starts a criticism with 'child' - 'child.. does anybody in seattle even OWN an iron ? '
'...well yes..' i reply..' ..i do , but now that you mention it, i don't know where it is.' ' i KNOW you don't..and neither does anybody else here'.
Charleston, South Carolina was the birthplace of the Confederate States of America. I'm not so sure they ever really came back to the Union, not in their hearts, at least.

That city will never be "the most wonderful city in America.
Whatever keeps people from moving here and discovering we're the best fucking place to live in the fucking universe is alright with me!
I have to agree with pffft. Having been raised in the Midwest, and lived in NYC and San Diego, Seattle is the single unfriendliest place I've ever experienced. What's worse is the entire town is wimpy, which was beautifully characterized in Pemco's "Four-Way Stop, You Go, No You Go, No You Go Guy" commercial. And highly passive-aggressive. It's purdy when the sun shines though!
This is bad why?
Unfriendly Seattleites are most likely not Seattle natives, am I right? The entire West is made up of people who moved there from somewhere else - like I did in the 1970s as a 1st grader. Portland too - it's probably my favorite city, but I only knew one person there who was born and raised in the state - in fact, he was a 4th generation Oregonian, of which there are not many. On the other hand, every block of Philadelphia is populated by 4th and 5th generation Phillies - as is, probably, Charleston. it took longer to get West than to the South, obviously.

I'm not sure there's a point here, but to the people who have just moved to Seattle and find others not friendly? The people being mean to you aren't from there, either - but they wish the door had closed behind them so you couldn't come in, too. And that's how you feel about the ones that came after you, right? It's very stressful, no wonder everyone's grumpy.
@15 - my experience is that it is exactly the people who were born and raised here that are unfriendly. If I run into a friendly person, I immediately ask where they're from because I know they're not natives. I've never been wrong yet.

BTW, for those who don't think Seattle is unfriendly, look up "Seattle freeze" or "Seattle ice" in Or read this article:…
Keep. Seattle. UGLY.

Charleston, SC - America's Most Deeply Closeted City TM!

... get it? I'm so clever!
Expect Mayor McGinn's style to take-off nationwide. Business grunge.
@6 It astonishes me how people forget that the weather here strongly influences activities and dress. For a good 8 months out of the year, downtown Seattle can be expected to be cold, wet & windy. Those are difficult conditions for fancy stylin'. There are certainly people who ignore the weather, and we see them in the summer wearing black jeans, biker boots & hoodies. For the rest of us, there's only so much style you can get with a gore-tex jacket on top of 3 layers.

And Charleston is a beautiful city, with many friendly people. It also has an "other side of the tracks" that is straight out of Reconstruction. I guess Travel + Leisure didn't count that part.
@15 - not sure if someone else did, but i never said anyone was "mean" to me. Just unfriendly and antisocial. And they were all locals who'd been here a long time. I agree with @16 - the friendly people were the other people who also recently moved here and were looking to socialize. The locals were not too friendly.

But like I said - they were all nice people once we got to know them. Just not initially friendly.

I'm not particularly grumpy - just agreeing with the T&L magazine article that said Seattle was relatively "unfriendly".

If we're going to armchair sociologize then I'm going to say it's all the cold, aloof Scandanavian blood that lingers in the locals... ;)
Seattle is full of fat shlubby stupid white trash losers who will change out of their grey sweatpants and into some black sweatpants when they feel like "getting dressed up".
I'll take my fleece and Gore-Tex over their Jimmy Choos (with excruciating pain) any day.
@16, please don't think we "born-heres" aren't immensely grateful for newcomers changing things, though most of us would never say so, for reasons of Catch-22.
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but-- when it comes to friendliness, Seattle ain't got it. People don't look you in the eye when walking by you. No one says hello. People are habitually flakey when it comes to inviting them to events.

The south has Seattle beat in all those things.
The husband and I have discussed this, and we don't make eye contact when we're out because it seems like nine times out of ten, the person who wants to talk to you wants one of three things: your money, to give you the Jesus, or to just act out the crazy on you. As I don't want the Jesus, your crazy, or to part with my money, I avoid eye contact.

Oh, right, I'm also a woman, which means I'm always going to go through life on the defensive with strangers.
@Naive White Libtarded Seattle Progressive

He's Baaaaaaack! :) I guess all these posts will be filled with cut and paste racism by the end of the day.
seattle, is kind of a more for real city. people here are not so phony and fake. people here are more trustworthy. we don't just smile at you for no reason, and pretend like if i'm your friend or something.

just keeping it real...
Yeah, yeah Seattle freeze, blah-blah-blah. You know why people in Seattle won't make eye contact with you? It's because we're all already busy walking around focusing on our iPods and Android phones. In short, we've got better things to do during our constitutionals (e.g. listening to music, checking our email, texting our actual friends, thinking about what we're going to do with them later in the day, etc., etc.) than to make you feel all warm-and-fuzzy because we noticed your miserable, pathetic attempt to get our attention.

See, this is really what it's all about: it's not about you wanting to be friendly, or expanding your social circle - there are all sorts of ways you could do that with almost no effort whatsoever in this town - and which people do all the freaking time. It's all about your pathological need for validation. When you smile at some stranger on the street, are you REALLY thinking to yourself, "that person looks interesting, I think I'd like to get to know them. Perhaps if I smile, they might smile back, and we could strike up an impromptu conversation, and it will lead to a beautiful friendship"? No. You're most likely thinking, "gawd this town SUX! Nobody looks at me! Hey! You! Strange person I'm walking past: look at me. Look at me! GODDAMMIT, FUCKING LOOK AT ME!!!"

So just be honest with yourself: it's not about us, is it? It's really all about you.

You see, we can smell that latent, passive-aggressive hostility oozing out of you like so much flop-sweat. And it's not attractive. And it doesn't make us want to make eye contact with you. Or be your BFF. Or even stop for a second in our already overly scheduled day to hold-ums widdle hand and make-ums neurotic owies all better.
Yeah, 28 kinda nails it.

I love living here, but one thing I can not fucking stand is how people just LOVE to go on and on about the "Seattle freeze" and how "everyone's so passive aggressive here". All people are doing is parroting each other. It doesn't exist; it's just fodder for useless entries in fluff-filled magazines and blogs.

On the other hand, yeah, it's true, Seattle is kinda frumpy. Some of the blame can be placed on the climate, but not all.

Thank you, COMTE. That was well-put.
I think that the weather argument is bullshit. Seattle winters are nowhere near as terrible, wet or windy as the ones the big 'stylish' East Coast, Northeast Asian and Western European cities suffer through.

Seattle has a generally different aesthetic, a much more casual professional scene, and lots and lots of steep hills. Try walking up Cherry in Prada slacks without getting a sweaty crotch, or down QA in Choo boots without injuring yourself. It's idiotic, and I pity the few who care enough to try...

This is a reason I love Seattle -- it's not a glamorous, uppity metropole. It's a pretty city filled with smart, nice people and lots of good food.
I love you, COMTE.
If I had a twatter, I would Re-tweet 28.

Belgium has very similar weather, and Belgians do not look like Seattlites.

People here take pride in being frumpy. Think about how much shit you'll get for carrying an umbrella. Seattlites don't scorn umbrellas because they're tough; they scorn umbrellas because they don't care if their bedraggled hair and unwashed faces get rained on.

At my rolled-out-of-bed worst, I still look better than 90 percent of people in this city. But I can't really complain about that.

Whatever. ALL the people I see complaining about how hard it is to make friends in Seattle are exactly the people you're describing: too self-absorbed and terrified of social interactions to make friends.
comte, ftw

just throw it out there and stuff

You also just (unintentionally) let slip the other reason why it can be hard to make friends here: cliquishness. Those few Seattlites who have a social circle are not interested in letting anyone else in. Where I come from, people like that are generally considered shitty and snobby. And it's the outsiders who have a problem? Bitch, please.
These are all pretty standard responses to something like this. I feel strongly about Seattle and defend it often, but one thing I find extraordinarily frustrating is the complete lack of respect people here have for fashion. Not only are people full of contempt and misunderstanding about the industry, there's no chance for any kind of community to grow because of the attitude towards it. There are tons of things that go into this, but I think the emphasis on intellectualism is a huge one. I would also throw in lack of support from local media, and a lack of leadership in the community. Blaming it on things like the weathis total bullshit. The fashion industry is complicated and far from perfect, and I personally wish there was more emphasis on looking at the industry from an intelligent, complex way here...examples of this kind of community can be seen in Portland and San Francisco. We have a good base here and definitely not a lack of talent or creativity (I.e. Casual Industries, Actual Pain, Nordstrom, Filson, the Ballard community) but it's never quite come together. We need to move away from viewing Seattle fashion as either frumpy holly-hobby outdoor gear/khakis or bedazzled Panache/Belltown "chic" (cap hill gays I'm looking at you, gays always have an influence in things like this because they think they are fashionable, even if they are not. Broadway is a sick sight with meager offerings of stripper heels and Red Light polyester).
riz is high fivin comte.
@31 - people wearing those clothes don't walk.
@28 and @29 - you both (and @35) pretty much prove the point. i'm not sure what anyone said that got you all so fussy. see? unfriendly.
@31 "I think that the weather argument is bullshit. Seattle winters are nowhere near as terrible, wet or windy as the ones the big 'stylish' East Coast, Northeast Asian and Western European cities suffer through."

Yeah, I'm from lower New England. Yeah, we get cold, but out there you know what you do? Toss on your heavy coat, gloves, and get in your car. Barring some crap like picking apples or going to a high school football game, or fishing, you know what people do in the winter? The same thing they do in Arizona in the summer with their air conditioning: duck from car to car, and heated place to place. People aren't out and about as much as they are here, and the bad weather in those areas also lasts a couple months IF that. There would be multiple winters where I wouldn't even have to bust out a scarf let alone gloves, even when shoveling snow.

In Seattle, I end up wearing multiple layers when I'm out all the time from like late October to what, March? The combination of wet, windy, and dank chill air gets into you--it's more like cold London weather where the heat seeps out of you for weeks on end, versus hard blasts of cold that last a half week. I'd have days on end at times in Novembers or Decembers in Connecticut (on the coast no less) where I could go out in jeans and a sweat shirt or sweater, and that would be it. I haven't done that nearly as often here.
People here are very stylish, we are just too self-aware to follow the embarrassing youth pastor style of the South, new conservative style of New York, or boring style of LA. Seattle and Portland have more self-aware style than anywhere else in the US.

Then again, I live on Capitol Hill. People in the suburbs (Magnolia,West Seattle, Bellevue, etc) all dress like they buy all their clothes at Costco or Macy's.
Anyone who thinks Seattle has style, even on Capitol Hill, needs to look around. Every time I go to play, museum, opera, symphony, nice restaurant--anything "intellectual"--the number of pairs of jeans and t-shirts outnumbers the number of suits, slacks, and skirts. It's not a matter of "self-aware style" or being practical about weather, it's about respect for going where people perform and make their living. I'm from SF and we were always taught that dressing to go out was the way it's done. Our weather may not be as extreme, but if it's raining, put a layer over it and take it off when you get there!

@41: Exactly.

@28, @29, and others: Keep ranting about your iPods and secret friends. That makes you sound really cool.
Utter and complete bullshit @37. I don't know of a single social group I've ever been involved with, be it in arts, politics, work, volunteerism, sports - you name it - that has EVER exhibited the sort of exclusionary atmosphere you describe. In point of fact, it's been my experience that any group with which I've chosen to associate - and many of them have been ones where I literally walked through the door not knowing a single person already there - that the atmosphere has always been welcoming and gracious. Rather than being closed-off, the attitude has been, rather, one of, "well, if you made the effort to actually show up and actively participate, why WOULDN'T we let you in?"

It's that latter part, though that often makes the difference. People in this town have little tolerance for those who simply wish to "hang out", for want of a better term; if you're going to attempt to join a social group, there is a frankly not unreasonable expectation that you will contribute to the group in some fashion. If you're just there to soak up the atmosphere, or brag to someone else about your being "in the group", but aren't willing to do anything in the way of supporting it, then you can be shown the door in pretty short order.

If that's what people where you come from generally consider "shitty and snobby", then maybe there's a very good reason why YOU aren't being welcomed with open arms.
Ugliest women in the world. Seriously, Seattle has the UGLIEST WOMEN IN THE WORLD. I'm not talking bad dressers, or rude, I'm talking good-old-fashioned ugly. Bad skin, bad bodies,  bad hair and faces that look like a horses' arses.

Then they dress badly and are rude as an afterthought to just being plain unattractive.

So let this be a warning to all males moving here: find an attractive woman BEFORE you arrive or else you'll be  in misery.
@10 Please tell your mother that I, for one, own and use my iron. I even iron my handkerchiefs, but then I also lay out my outfits a week in advance, have been known to change three times in a day, and have been called the Sparkle Pony of the Apocalypse, so perhaps I am not the norm? I have to say though, I don't find Seattle to be particularly frumpy. Portland, (much as I love it) on the other hand, is full of people who will go out to a fancy club on a Saturday night wearing exactly what they wore to paint their garage that Saturday afternoon. A friend of mine once described PDX as "Seattle's tag a long tomboy little sister that had yet to learn to dress herself" and yet they have a THRIVING fashion scene. Go figure.
And I also love the Comte, for the record.
@37 "Those few Seattlites who have a social circle are not interested in letting anyone else in. Where I come from, people like that are generally considered shitty and snobby. And it's the outsiders who have a problem? Bitch, please. "

Funny, I've had the exact opposite experience. Yes, I have the unfair advantage in some ways of marrying a 3rd generation native, but I've also made friends that aren't tied to her social group just fine by just being outgoing. A lot of this is people projecting their own expectations, based on culture. People here aren't like people in Savannah, any more than people in Savannah are like people in Sydney. Nor should they be.

The important rule of making friends is: a) be nice b) be engaging and outgoing c) shower and clean yourself, and d) don't be an asshole. The rest takes care of itself.
The Seattle Freeze is best described as "we've got better things to do." I'd love to do lunch with you, when I get a chance!

Also, cliquishness is part of it. They have "better things to do" with their established friends. It takes more time here to find friends than elsewhere.

I don't understand the defensiveness. I like that it takes time to make friendships. I know one thing, once you become a friend, it's a strong friendship. Not the usual superficial kind.

What is not debatable is that Seattleites pay little attention to fashion. Evidence: go out to Sunday brunch anywhere in this city. You will see very few people dressed in their "Sunday Best." Unless you count corduroy slacks and fleece vest as Sunday Best.

My friends are hardly "secret", in fact, you've probably seen many of them perform at those places you like to get all dressed up to go to.

And seriously, if you were to tell any of them that dressing up was your way of "showing respect" for their profession and livelihood, they'd laugh in your face, because they (and I when I was actively performing) were alway under the (apparently mistaken, according to you) impression that's what your buying the ticket in the first place was supposed to denote.

I think the thing that really seems to get in the craw of the so-called "style conscious" in this town is simply the fact that nobody is in the least bit impressed by their $500 shoes, $800 skirts, and $1,000 jackets. And that of course creates quite a conundrum: if nobody else is going to be impressed by what they wear, how can they continue to rationalize spending all that money?

Actually, you bring up a good point: at least part of the reason why you rarely see people "in their Sunday best" here is simply because, for an overwhelming majority of people, Sunday is just another day, as our extremely low church attendance would suggest.
COMTE ftw @50.

Oh, we can be VERY friendly, if you're willing to make an honest effort in return. What irks us is this attitude that comes from complete strangers that we automatically owe them our eternal, undying friendship just because they happen to come within close physical proximity to us for three or four seconds.
@50: I guess you and your friends represent all performers everywhere!

And who said style-conscious needs to equal big bucks? Folks could be wearing $500 jeans for all I know, but they're still jeans.
@34 I hate umbrellas because no one knows how to walk with a goddamn umbrella in this city. I live around the U District and all the new arrival students all carry umbrellas and constantly smack you in the face/block your path with the damn things. It takes three people holding umbrellas to successfully block a street corner and two to block a sidewalk anyplace that isnt downtown.

When you live in a city with so much expected rain and so many areas where the sidewalks are rather thin, carrying an umbrella just seems rude. Get a big ugly raincoat with a giant hood and forgo looking stylish on the street so you dont seem like a douche to other pedestrians.

Maybe that is why Seattle seems so frumpy - I often see stylish people inside but then we all put on our giant raincoats/North Face jackets and head into the weather 9 months out of the year.

Well, not this year .. stupid sun.
I have never experienced the Seattle( or Portland for that matter) Freeze, but I believe it exists. My boyfriend relocated to PDX over a year ago and has had a hell of a time building a social network there, and it's not for lack of trying. When ever I go to visit, we make a point of going to his favorite clubs so he can shake Extrovert Girlfriend at people as an ice breaker. It's hard for single people, especially single guys, to make head way in bars and clubs which seem to be particularly cliquish environments in the Northwest.
@53 - jesus you're defensive. nobody ever asked for your eternal, undying friendship - just a little initial friendliness. And also, I said:
people here are really nice once you get to know them (mostly) but are VERY reserved initially

And I stand by this. This is compared to the three other cities I've lived in. I'm talking about my neighbors here. People that in every other city (especially Austin) would come around and say hi and just be neighborly. In Seattle it took a LOT longer. And you've done a good job explaining why. I think we're actually in violent agreement.
COMTE wins this thread.

On the whole, I'd say that my friends are 50% people who were born and raised here or lived here for a long time, and 50% people who are relatively new to the area. The thing they all have in common is that they're active, interesting people who don't expect to be someone's new BFF within five minutes of meeting them.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Seattle Freeze is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You come here expecting that people will be cold and unfriendly, so you start acting cold and unfriendly as an anticipatory defense mechanism. An open mind toward the local culture will do wonders.

Yes, just as you represent all audiences everywhere.

And anyone silly enough to pay $500 for a pair of denim pants (which, according to a quick search would seem to be considered the "bargain basement" of the designer jeans market, apparently) isn't going to be shy about the fact. That's why fashion-jeans makers put all those garish logos and designs on the back pockets; because again, what's the point of spending all that money on designer jeans if nobody KNOWS they're designer jeans? After all, you can't impress people if they can't see the logo.
@9, 24, 25, 28, and anyone else who talked about eye contact.

I get bored with this stuff about Seattle being cold because we don't make eye contact or talk to strangers. Where I come from, you aren't supposed to make eye contact and talk to strangers. Jesus, didn't anyone who criticizes Seattle for this ever have a mother who taught them about stranger danger? Before I came here, avoiding eye contact on the street was called self-preservation. Now because I do the same thing in Seattle, I'm aloof and unfriendly. So why does Seattle get this rep for doing the same thing? It's a cliche. Reinforcement of the assumption. Hell, all these surveys are built on cliches and don't mean anything.

PS, Charles wants more fashionable people. Has anyone seen how he dresses?
LOL @ people who spend all day commenting on blog fretting about sociability of a city at large that they never experience or interact with
I don't make eye contact with people on the streets because so many of them are drunk, drug-addicted, violently insane, religious panhandling losers.
@57, "actually in violent agreement" is perfect!

I'm not saying this is universal, and goodness knows Austin is about the only city in TX that one could describe as "civilized", but MY experience living in other cities, particularly in the mid-west, is that this so-called friendliness is just an excuse for people to try to get into your business; the "nosy neighbor syndrome", if you will. Here, people may appear on the surface to be somewhat more standoffish for the simple reason that nobody CARES about your business, and would take it kindly if you stayed out of theirs as well. Once you figure that part out, we're pretty easy to get to know otherwise.
"Style" is, by definition, a waste of time, money and effort.
There's a difference between "style" and "high fashion." You don't have to wear Prada or $500 shoes, but you can make an effort to wear something besides fleece and hiking boots when you go to the symphony.

@42 Thanks for the validation. We are outdoorsy people here, and will battle the elements as needed. No, it doesn't get as cold & nasty here as in Moscow, but that "moderate" level is just at the right spot where you can still go outside without being killed for it. Sure, it'll be cold & wet, but you can deal with it if you are properly prepared.

Years ago, I spent an ungodly amount of money on a fancy suede jacket. I love it, and it is very stylish, but also can only be worn about 20 days a year. The weather must be below 50, and no chance of rain. How often does that happen? (average year) Why would I want to ruin nice clothing by wearing it in inclement weather? What good are Pradas if you have to slip rubbers over them? (sorry, couldn't resist that one)
Spot on. Good coffee. Arguably top notch intelligence (but some of the dumbest smart people on any planet ever) and pretty much ugly and unfriendly across the board. There's some style in Seattle though there's also alot of Outbacks, fleece and crocs.

Work on those things if it bothers you. Deny it if you're trying to be funny.

Again I ask, what are you there for? To listen to the music, or to impress your fellow patrons with your aesthetic sensibilities? The problem for the style-conscious in Seattle is simply that it's all just wasted effort and conspicuous consumption so far as the people around them are concerned, and the more they "dress to impress" the less impressed everyone else is by them, because in the end, they all paid more-or-less the same price for the ticket, and that's really all that counts.

And when you see the musicians coming out the stage door, what do you think they're all wearing? The only reason they've got tuxes on is because of some anachronistic tradition. If they were given a choice between wearing versus not wearing the monkey suits, my guess is a significant number of them would opt for the fleece and hiking boots on stage.

And this from a guy who owns TWO tuxedos, and a dinner jacket...

Oh, bullshit, Comte.

I am very welcoming of and accepting of others even though I'm not very extroverted. Also, being an introvert, I have very finely tuned observational skills. While you're enjoying your friends who wouldn't piss on a stranger if he were on fire, I'm actually watching how people in this city behave. The cliques will not look at anyone who isn't introduced into the group by someone part of the group. The cliques especially will not acknowledge anyone who's alone and doesn't have a specific "in" such as working in their specific profession.

Have you ever bothered looking around while hanging out with your friends at a bar? I'm guessing not, because then you'd see how many people there are alone. You'd see how many of them aren't speaking to anyone and are engrossed in their iPhones, which you laughably assume they're into because they want to be. They don't. They want human interaction, but they're so scared of each other and so rejected by extroverts like you, they use their smartphones as a defense mechanism. The truly sad thing is that they're surrounded by other lonely losers, but they're so terrified of each other, they won't break out of their shells.

And if you think this is sour grapes, think again. I've also been watching your little cliques, and you know what I've noticed? You assholes don't even seem to like each other.
ITT: butthurt Seattleites sourcing their disdain for friendliness in broadbrushed negative presumptions of what motivates friendliness. How utterly injured.


There you have it. Seattlites aren't friendly because being outgoing belies deep seated flaw. Glad we got that figured out. Yes Seattle is unfriendly and it's because fuck you.

lol hey that's great.

Making eye contact with a stranger is a signifier of phoniness? Socializing must be deep and meaningful or it has no value? Simple extroverted attitudes are worthless. Suspicious even? Wow. How scared and needy. The panicked gold-brickers of human relationships.

Let's be honest. The Seattle chill does in deed exist and it's just a firewall to safeguard the most socially awkward, easily manipulated people on the planet. The people in this thread chalking it up to their own boldness for disregarding the great unwashed are not serious. They're just coping.

Nice try, aspies.
Style has nothing to do with money. Style is predicated upon attitude. You don't need money to look great, you need intelligence, wit, a bit of flirtatiousness and daring.

Yes, and that's why I have friends here, which have been hard won. I still get the stink eye if I show up somewhere where a clique has taken hold. I have better things to do than agonize over why a group of assholes decided I wasn't good enough to speak to, but Seattle has a huge amount of introverts and shy people. Being treated like that is crushing to them. It can take them days or weeks to recover from even one out-of-hand rejection like that. It's no wonder there are so many dejected, lonely people here. It's no wonder that I run into so many people who have given up on finding friends and just spend their weekends at home.

You see. Unlike assholes like Comte, I actually feel compassion for people like that because I know what it feels like to be treated that way. Which is also why I don't treat people badly and why I have a lot of friends.
@70 where did all this clique talk come from? Is it really all that odd that a group of folks, out for an evening of socializing together as a group of friends who already know eachother, would be somewhat put-off by a completely random stranger who wanted to join the group?

Generally, one befriends people on an individual basis, as opposed to selecting which group or clique seems to be the best fit for you. Maybe you're confused, because that's just not how friendship works, in Seattle or anywhere.

You deny sour grapes, but I can't help but think that's what you sound like, rallying against various cliques who denied you entry.

Networking is how people make friends. And unless you are preternaturally charming without giving off the slightest hint of creepiness, approaching and attempting to socialize with an obviously cohesive group of folks is probably not the best way to do it.

I'd suggest making yourself more interesting by acquiring hobbies or activities that put you in social situations with like-minded individuals, and you might find some folks with qualities you look for and value in a friendship, as opposed to randomly selecting a good-looking stranger as worthy of your friendship.
@47.. i'm calling her tomorrow and telling her.. she'll prolly hav to meet you her next trip. btw.. her last trip here was for my wedding.. and she was right.200 folks sittin up in a church with nary an ironed object in sight.
Also, Keshmeshi, did you ever consider that these myriad slights by strangers were even, at least partially, a mental construct? That maybe the "stink eye" you perceived was, in fact, a fleeting, shy glance of physical appreciation?

Or even that you were being assessed, noticed, or acknowledged at all? Did you check to make sure a hard-to-read sign wasn't behind you, or an unseen and unbeknownst-to-you exboyfriend?

Your world may indeed revolve around you, but to everyone else, you are just another one of many many strangers.
@72- Waste of money, TIME AND EFFORT.

I wear clothing because it's cold, I want pockets, and/or I'd be arrested if I walked around naked.
Seattle, you aren't that friendly. I'm not sure if it's your Scandinavian-by-way-of-the-northern-Midwest roots or what, but it's not that big a deal, really. Having grown up there and moved away, it took me some time to realize, and move past, how naturally stand-offish I'd become.
I was born and raised here, but I've spent a fair amount of time living elsewhere, enough to disagree with Comte.

The very first thing you notice when you get off the plane and onto the sidewalk in most other American cities is how attractive and nicely dressed everyone else seems to be. It doesn't matter what time of the year or what station in life they occupy; they are all wearing stylish clothes, good haircuts, and pleasant expressions.

When you return to Seattle you notice the frump immediately. Whether it's hipsters or businessmen, the clothes are out of date, ill-fitting, unironed and ugly. Find me a decent-looking suit or a quality pair of shoes on a man downtown -- it's impossible. He's probably wearing wrinkled, smelly below-the-knee shorts and sneakers that look like they've waded through pools of excrement.

The people mostly look like old potatoes too, but I won't go into that.

And, yes, Seattleites are cold and unfriendly. Hell, I'm cold and unfriendly. The classic Seattle leisure environment is a coffeeshop with twenty people sitting alone with earphones in staring at laptops. Or a bar where wet, smelly grunge rejects are howling and punching each other on the arm.

The only thing Seattleites ever converse about is "things I hate".

It's the Norwegian in us, honestly. Even if you're not Norwegian, you grew up in a Norwegian-inflected city.We believe that smiling is affected and artificial, and that nothing could be worse than affected or artificial (which of course makes our non-smiling affected and artificial). We believe that being pleasant is suspicious and wasteful; we believe that people who want to talk to us in public are threats. We believe that making eye contact is an act of aggression.

We believe that wearing stylish clothes is putting on airs. The tall poppy is going to get his head cut off; better to wear the shapeless pilled fleece and the wrinkled pleated pants and the muddy hiking boots that everyone else wears. Pull that greasy cap down tighter.

I struggle with this every day, but I'm not going to deny it exists. I wear coats and ties ESPECIALLY when I don't have to; I'm wearing both right now. I take my shirts to the cleaners because you can't get a decent press with a home iron unless you're willing to spend 45 minutes on a shirt. I rotate my shoes. I'm not the most gorgeous fellow who ever lived but I put in the effort. Looking good is a way of signalling to your fellow man that you don't fear or hate them, you want to please them. I wouldn't be alone in San Francisco or Boston but I am here.
@31 I don't think the weather argument is bullshit. Maintaining style here in Chicago during the winter is incredibly difficult. It's usually a choice between looking good and freezing your ass off. But since we have pretty nice springs, summers, and autumns, it makes the 5 months of winter worth it. Maybe Seattle is actually full of stylish people who've don't bother with the battle - I know that by February I'll be in three layers of sweats and running errands in hoodies.

P.S. You don't have to be wearing Prada or Manolos to be stylish. You just have to put some effort into your appearance.

Thanks for assuming that I'm a complete moron who doesn't understand how to network or seek shared activities.

The most recent time I was snubbed was at a *networking* event around a *common interest*, dumbass. And, no, I didn't fucking imagine it, thank you very much.

One woman looked at me, visibly recoiled, and then pretended I didn't exist for the rest of the night. (Almost) all the women I tried to speak to, humored me by not completely and automatically rejecting me, but obviously wanted nothing to do with me and gave me barely more than monosyllabic responses to my comments, questions, and friendliness. One woman in the clique (the only friendly one among them) had a very pleasant, interesting conversation with me. She liked me. I liked her. She wasn't one of jerkoffs I'm talking about. The only other woman there who would give me the time of day was also a newcomer, just as snubbed and ignored as I was.

Since I'm not a glutton for punishment, I won't be returning to that group's events, but it is proof positive that I'm not fucking imagining it. As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of people who claim to have no fucking clue that this shit goes down in the Seattle social scene:
People who are too self-absorbed to notice what's going on around them.
People who perpetuate it by exclaiming that they're completely justified in not acknowledging anyone deemed not good enough.

I argue that Comte straddles both categories.

And, as to your last paragraph?

I'd suggest making yourself more interesting by acquiring hobbies or activities that put you in social situations with like-minded individuals, and you might find some folks with qualities you look for and value in a friendship, as opposed to randomly selecting a good-looking stranger as worthy of your friendship.

Fuck you.
@79- "I rotate my shoes."

You wear your shoes sideways?…

Yes, and I frequently observe people in those settings as well, whether I'm alone or with a group of friends; observation of human personalities, mannerisms and foibles being one of the primary skills you develop as an actor, so it's sort of an ingrained habit.

But, where you see an ocean of broken, lonely introverts desperately seeking human contact, yet being patently incapable of initiating it in a public setting; where you "observe" hordes of neurotics hunched over their little glowing devices wishing to themselves, "I'm just gonna sit here with my iPhone and HOPE somebody comes up to talk to poor, poor, pitiful me!", I on the other hand, see mostly people who've just come in for a quiet beer or coffee, or whatever, looking for a few moment's respite from the toil and fracas of their daily existence.

It's like people who read books on airplanes: they don't do it because they WANT the chatty passenger sitting next to them to make casual conversation for the entirety of a four-hour flight, they're communicating VERY CLEARLY "leave me alone". I in fact do this all the time in bars, not because I'm unfriendly, or because I'm intimidated or anything of the sort, but simply because I just want to sit there with my drink and my burger IN PEACE. I realize that may come as a shock to you, but not everyone who goes to a bar does so with the expressed purpose of hooking up, getting phone numbers, or becoming somebody's next-newest best friend.

And seriously, why in the world would you pick a bar, of all places, to make an initial foray into an already established, and previously unencountered social group? It's no wonder you get the cold shoulder, because in most people's experience, the sort that does what you're describing are considered "horn dogs" more-or-less, on-the-make, out-for-booty, whatever, and most people, and particularly people who AREN'T there for that purpose, naturally take offense when someone in their group gets hit on, or some strange, probably already inebriated person starts acting like they're your long-lost buddy from high school. It's called being a rude asshole, and while you can accuse me of being one all you like, keep in mind it's just me looking at you through the smaller end of the telescope

And I DO in fact know what being an introvert is all about: I was one myself through most of my youth, tending to eschew social interactions in favor of more solitary pleasures: reading, drawing, hiking, etc. But you know what? I broke out of my shell all on my own, without anyone else's assistance, and (although I guess you'd have to ask my friends) I've come out the other side in pretty good shape, all things considered. It's not a question of feeling or not feeling compassion for introverts like yourself, it's feeling a little disappointment that you haven't made more of an effort to get comfortable in your own skin, and not require someone else's approval or validation to come to the realization that you're in fact a person worth befriending.

If you've got friends already; true, good, honest, loyal friends who treat you with respect and dignity and affection, why would you have such a compulsive need to accumulate more, simply for the sake of doing so? It's like the people who have to outdo each other by collecting "friends" on FB: when it comes to friendship, quantity =/= quality.

So, while I expect you'll continue to project your own inadequacies, neuroses and inhibitions (as your post at 73 pretty strongly indicates) and blame everyone else for your own inability to overcome them, just keep in mind when you look around that bar at all those people not paying any attention to YOU, that it's not because they're incapable of it, they simply don't have any burning desire to do so, and are ignoring you as a clear signal that they'd just like to be left alone, in peace, and not have you try desperately to impose your "company" on them in the meantime. If they want it, I'm sure they'll let you know, because, they actually CAN.

Yes, yes, thank you for reminding me that you think anyone who's not an extrovert can just eat a bag of dicks. And thank you for extrapolating YOUR disdain for others onto me. I think I've made it pretty clear that I feel for *other* people in that position, because I'm no longer in that position myself, and I know how hard it is to break out of it, something that's virtually impossible in this city filled with assholes like you.

Still, you're wrong. And you're a dick. And I'm glad you're not remotely in my social circle.
Along the lines of Seattle polite but not friendly, I have found as a native east coaster living here that I have become much smarter at evaluating people: In the east coast, people are very upfront with who they are, what they want from you and what their agenda is, while in Seattle, people tend to let you know what they are thinking, how they are feeling about you and what they want in an oblique and indirect manner, so you really have to read people between the lines to know where they are coming from.

As far as the clique thing around here, I believe it to be true as far as being hard to break. You not only have to be introduced by somebody in the clique, but if you don't share their compelling interests, e.g., video games, fantasy games, and IT geekery, you can be very easily be frozen out on the edge without getting their friendship. As a another anti-social introvert, it's not a big deal to be.

and @21, you described Lynnwood.
@81 HA! Judging by that screed, I'd say that either (a) you're just not very nice, and people can tell that about you, or (b) you are fucking creepy and the ladies do NOT like you, or (c) you are unintentionally giving people the stinky eye and need to focus on the position of your eyebrows and try smiling when you look at people.

Either way, condolences to all.

And I would like to politely decline the fucking.

Also, since I'm often ignored by dicks like you at bars and other social settings, I've often initiated conversation with the people you're blithely ignoring. Most are exceedingly grateful for it. But keep closing yourself off to anyone not good enough for you. Keep pretending that people who are going to a *social* place full of people just really, really, really love surfing the Internet or texting their non-existent friends. It's too bad that you're closing yourself from contact with anyone who doesn't fit into such a tightly controlled group, but that's your cross to bear.

I'm a woman, you fucking idiot. A friendly woman who's a wee bit introverted but has no problem smiling at people.

Too bad. You don't know what you're missing. Fortunately I don't fuck slack-jawed morons.
If you've got friends already; true, good, honest, loyal friends who treat you with respect and dignity and affection, why would you have such a compulsive need to accumulate more, simply for the sake of doing so?

And this says it all really. The only people who claim to not "need" any more friends are ALWAYS self-absorbed assholes. I know you're middle aged, Comte. What's going to happen to you once your current friends start dying off?

Nobody's saying you imagined what you claim to have experienced (although given your propensity for projection, not to mention the rather hyperbolic level of hostility you exhibit when recalling the encounter, it's certainly not outside the realm of probability), but you do seem patently incapable of considering any OTHER possibility than that THEY are the ones with the problem, and not you.

In all seriousness, you might want to have a chat with someone about that - a little counseling with a professional could do you a world of good, even if it's just to get an objective opinion on your situation.
Ah, Keshmeshi! The saint and saviour of the social pariah.
I'm so glad we have you so Comte and I can continue to be our self-righteous, dickish selves without having to feign interest in those like yourself, who keep occupied by wondering why no one else has yet discovered how wonderful they are.

Also, I'm sorry if I was pedantic, but surely that urge to do so wouldn't have been so overwhelming if you hadn't acted like such a raging idiot...

I agree with Comte - what is this myopia about the acquisition of new friends all about? Not satisfied with those you've got? Don't have good luck meeting people? Humm, the phrase "common denominator" comes to mind...
Uhm, @88, what does your being a woman have to do with being perceived as "creepy" by other women?

Last time I checked, this is *still* the slog, blog of the gayest newspaper in Seattle.
...does my jaw look "slack" in this picture??
As a Texas transplant, I have to agree with the criticism that it's harder to make friends in the Northwest. People are very polite but aloof, until you get to know them. It's like the entire region is full of introverts, vs the South which is full of extroverts. That works for me, because I am also introverted, so I love it here. But, I do miss friends dropping by my house unannounced to hang out on the lawn and drink beer.
I miss instantly being friends with my friends' friends.
I miss people coming over for dinner or a party when I invite them.
In Texas, if I said to someone, "Hey, we should get together sometime," I would get the response, "Sure! How about tomorrow?" whereas here I get, "Yeah, we should! I'll call you.....". I miss that about Texans.
In Texas, if I met someone heavily involved in an activity like, say, sailing, and I said, "I'd like to try sailing," they would say, "Why don't you come out on the boat this weekend?". Instead, in Seattle, if I said to a kayaker, "I'd like to try kayaking," they would say, "I think REI has classes...". I miss that about Texans.
But despite all that, the Northwest is 14 times as awesome as Texas is.


You obviously assumed that I was trying to hit on them; in which case you assumed that I'm a man. And don't try to cover your ass by now implying that I'm a lesbian. I mean really. You're embarrassing yourself.

At what point have I ever claimed that anyone is obligated to be some random person's friend? The social scene in this city is so broken, you and Comte and myriad other people think you don't even have to be decent and friendly to others. But, don't worry. You're not missing out on anything on any connections with a potential friend or lover by dismissing anyone not in your clique. Keep telling yourself that.


I'm done with you. Everything you've said just in that post proves that I'm right on the money about you. Too good to speak to anyone else. Too good to acknowledge anyone else. And so incredibly defensive when anyone calls you on it. Even when someone makes a vague statement about how hard it is to meet people here, you get SO defensive. It's hard to guess why that is.

Thanks for implying that I'm mentally ill. Very klassy, and a great way to demonstrate what a shitty person you are.

Really, so having friends is like collecting baseball cards or Beanie Babies: "gotta have the entire set"? Seriously, you have a very maladaptive perspective on what it actually means to be someone's friend or to have them befriend you in return. This compulsive need of yours to be friends with - apparently - everyone is probably the single biggest mistake you're making, and between suggesting that someone who doesn't have an army of "friends" is self-absorbed and your increasingly irrational antagonism on this thread, you've really put the thumbtack in your psychological map right on the spot labeled "Crazytown".

As for my age, well, most of my friends are younger than myself, so the odds of me growing old and lonely (projecting again, aren't we?) are relatively small, although longevity does run in my family, so I suppose it's always possible I could outlive most of them regardless. Still, I expect there'll be plenty of opportunities to make some new ones in the old folks home or wherever I end up by the time I hit my 90's.

And I hate to break the news to you, but in the end everyone dies alone, even if you're surrounded by family, friends and well-wishers when you go, because, guess what? Unless you're all in a car wreck together, or participating in a mass-suicide, they don't go with you at the same time.

(Try to) Have a nice life anyway...
@ 65: I must disagree. 66 puts it well.
@69: I don't see why some one can't make the effort to dress nicely when attending an event. It's a sign that you respect the performers and those around you, and that you understand the difference between public and private spaces. Now, having a degree in costume design, does make me a wee bit more sensitive to the semiotics of apparel, and it's not like I lie awake nights nursing my wounded sartorial sensibilities, but I ask you, would you condone some one coming to the opera in their bathrobe? No? Because a bathrobe is appropriate for one's home and not the opera? Then why do you object that some one might find it equally inappropriate for a patron of the symphony to show up in what one would normally wear on a day hike? Again, this is all just my Sparkle Pony opinion. I realize that to many my standards might seem extreme.
There's no "implying" at all Kesh, you're showing all the signs, it's just that everyone but you can see them.

Remember, no crazy person believes THEY'RE the crazy one; they think they're the ONLY SANE one and that everyone else is crazy.

Get help. Get it soon. You'll be glad you did.

Awesome thread.
One thing that hasn't been brought up is that the social autism of Seattleites used to be MUCH MUCH WORSE.

I think a big factor is provincialism. Seattle used to be EXTREMELY provincial, with almost no outside imports or influences, except in small closely-guarded communities that were explicitly excluded from the mainstream -- like the Japanese.

No one, not even the shyest Japanese, could possibly be as shy as the white image of the "inscrutable" Japanese in this town. (The Japanese, as dumb white people like me are just learning now, were in fact quite sociable inside the confines of their circle, confines which were not established by them).

Seattle was an immigrant city, but a particular kind -- the end of the Norway-Minnesota-Montana trail. this makes for a very different kind of a town than a modern-day American-migrant city, which is part of the postwar phenomenon of people moving all over the damn place every couple of years -- cities that people like us decry as "rootless" but which are probably more accurately described as "fluid" and "open".

The great cities of the South and West, for instance; in a place like Phoenix or Dallas or San Diego, you HAVE to make an effort to be outgoing and make new friends, because everybody in the whole city is a recent arrival. Seattle is more like that than it used to be, but it's still pretty staid.

If you want that kind of openness, you find it in places like the Microsoft campus, where everybody's from somewhere else and just got here (but of course they have their own special kinds of autism over there). But Microsofties, in general, are much friendlier and open to meeting new people than Seattleites, particularly Seattleites who were (or whose families were) here before the 70s, when things were really closed down.

Another kind of migrant city is a place like Boston, which among the natives is a HUNDRED TIMES more insular than Seattle, where you can live there for five, ten, fifteen years and never speak a sociable word with a native, or see the insides of their homes. But for migrants, it doesn't matter, because Boston is also a major migratory watering spot, what with Harvard and MIT and so on. So you have a sort of class overlay, with several hundred thousand modern migrants living side-by-side with the insular townies. You won't get to know the latter, and thus will never be a "native", but there are so many of the former that you can find a rich social life. New York works the same way.

Seattle doesn't, because it doesn't get as many of this kind of migrant. But, oh my god, you should have seen this city in the 70s.

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