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Those of us who have moved to the Puget Sound region from elsewhere have likely experienced the Seattle Freeze – the phenomenon where locals are friendly yet difficult to befriend. They may motion for you to proceed at a four-way stop or give you directions to a landmark, but any deeper engagement is shunned as unnatural and just too forward.

Former Seattle Times staff writer Julia Sommerfeld termed it as follows:

You’ve just experienced the infamous Seattle Freeze. It’s the flip side of Seattle Nice. Welcome to Seattle … Now please go away.

The Freeze can happen at work. It can happen at school. It probably even happens in your neighborhood. It is a challenge for newcomers to the city, adjusting to a very local way of interacting with strangers.

We’d like to dig a little deeper into the Freeze and see what we can do to chip some of that frost away. Our belief is that people have a lot of good, humorous, touching stories about the Seattle Freeze. Since so many of us are transplants from another area and new people are coming every day, we want to do our part to make this region a little warmer throughout these cold winter months.

We believe that by sharing our stories, we can learn more about the phenomenon.

Have you experienced the Freeze? If you can answer any of the following questions, we encourage you to share your story below:

  • Have you noticed the Seattle Freeze in the dating scene?
  • What about the non-dating scene – like when you’re trying to find a friend who’ll watch football with you?
  • What about student life – does the Seattle Freeze pervade the campus environment?
  • Does the Seattle Freeze differ from Fremont to First Hill? Madrona to Maple Leaf? Have you met your neighbors?
  • What about for older professionals and retirees? Have you been able to make friends in Seattle?

*Please note: some submissions may be used in upcoming features on the Seattle Times website and print edition. We also plan to contact a few people for video interviews about the Freeze.

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