We asked readers to weigh in on the Seattle Freeze. Is it real or not? How do you overcome it?

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“People are nice in Seattle.”

Drivers wave you across the street. Bus riders respectfully get off the phone. People offer you some change when you see you’re short for the parking meter.

Many Seattleites, especially transplants to the Emerald City, don’t think the niceness extends beyond that.

“Everyone talks about their cool outdoor hobbies but nobody actually includes you,” Cathy Reilly wrote in. She moved to Seattle from New York City in 2010.

Yikes. What is that about?

One of the first references to a “Seattle Nice/Ice Phenomenon” was in 2005. A Seattle Times columnist wrote “Seattle is like that popular girl in high school. The one who gets your vote for homecoming queen because she always smiles and says hello. But she doesn’t know your name and doesn’t care to. She doesn’t want to be your friend. She’s just being nice.”

We asked readers to weigh in on the Seattle Freeze. Is it real or not? How do you overcome it?

“Yes, it’s real,” Heather Sutton wrote in. She moved from San Diego in 2016. “People here keep to themselves, unless you’re part of their pack.”

Loners. People doing things by themselves: holidays, reading in a hotel bar, travel. Seattleites like to go it alone, and you’ll see it in coffee shops, in parks, on hiking trails.

Lane Meyer, who moved from Oakland, California in 2014, finds the solitude refreshing.

“There’s something to be said about keeping to yourself without people thinking you’re weird. It’s something I value about Seattle.”

Nevertheless, as mainly social creatures, we humans seek friends in a new city. The Seattle Freeze can be a hurdle for people seeking pals to go out with.

“It’s especially obvious to me because I moved from a Southern state where opening up to strangers is commonplace,” Kate McElroy wrote. She moved to Seattle from Kentucky in 2016.

“In Seattle, it’s harder to get to know people. Often, I feel like I make good connections that just don’t develop into an actual friendship,” McElroy wrote.

Some tips on avoiding the Seattle Freeze? Persistence. Drew Merchant moved to Seattle in 1999 from San Diego, and suggested not expecting people to be instantly warm.

“People thaw eventually and the ones that do will typically be friends for a long time,” Merchant wrote.

Many readers wrote in that common ground with others, whether it was being parents or rec league aficionados, was key to overcoming the Seattle Freeze. Ex-New Yorker Reilly joined a volunteer group and made friends that way.

“From my experience, you just need to force yourself out more and try to meet people through work, the gym or other clubs,” Chase Meyer said after moving to Seattle from Denver. “Once you do that, you can build up your friend network and the Freeze dissolves.”

As you continue your quest to thaw the Freeze (or if you just need something to do with the new friends you’re making), get out and explore your city! Check out the Seattle Newcomers Guide for info on neighborhoods, food, public transportation, housing and more.