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Video: The Seattle Freeze is probably melting. Here’s what that means for people moving in

Is the Seattle Freeze melting? That’s one theory you’ve been talking about since we rounded up what Seattle natives and transplants think about the Freeze — one of the most persistent beliefs about our city’s social character.

This thaw theory makes some sense. The Seattle Freeze holds that it’s harder to make new friends here than in other cities. We’ve been arguing about why that might be for years. Is it the weather? The laid-back culture? The city’s Scandinavian roots?

But now that Seattle is the fastest growing city in the country — 1,000 people move here a week — won’t that influx of people looking for friends warm up the chill?

“Seattle used to have a freeze but it has thawed considerably with so many new people coming to town,” wrote Ty Franzer on Facebook.

Reader Will Chen agrees. He’s a transplant, and to him, the Freeze is a numbers game. When there aren’t a lot of transplants in the city, people who move in looking for friends have a tough time breaking in to natives’ circles.

“These natives are perfectly nice and social but they already know who they’re hanging out with this weekend — the same ride-or-die friends they’ve been hanging out with for the past 15 years,” Will wrote. “Compare this to NY or LA where there are so many other transplants looking for new friends, invites to join/form friend groups are much more common.”

This reminds us of our conversation with Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro. He said he had a leg up building his powerful local network here because when he came to work for Microsoft back in the 90s, he was hired alongside a bunch of other just-out-of-college transplants. It was like showing up to campus as a freshman, he said: When everyone’s looking for new friends, everyone’s going to find them. (Is that happening at Amazon, headquartered not on a suburban campus but in the heart of our city? If you work there and have a thought, let us know.)

So if you’re frozen out, what do you do?

“Build the community you want,” wrote Marissa Dawson. “Good vibes draw good vibes.”

That’s the proactive approach, and it gets results. Reader Hazel Grace Dircksen found Seattle to be “FAR more reserved socially” than other cities when she moved here from California. So she got intentional.

“I believe we are responsible for creating our own opportunities and we can’t wait for others to take the initiative,” she wrote, “so I launched my own cooking club and my friends invited their friends and a community was born.”

Don’t want to do a lot of heavy lifting to find friends here? Just wait. The ratio of natives to transplants is shifting in Seattle. There are even signs that natives are leaving in bigger numbers than they have in years.

So get ready, transplants: If the Seattle Freeze really is just a numbers game, the burden of thawing the Freeze will shift from the natives with a chilly reputation to, well, you.

 

By Mónica Guzmán
Mónica is the cofounder and editor of The Evergrey. She's been a Seattle journalist for a decade and adores this city.