“How Real Is the Seattle Freeze?” A Facebook Live Discussion

By United Way of King County, on June 18, 2019 | In Emerging Leaders 365, News

It might be almost summer, but the Seattle Freeze is on. A recent PEMCO survey that found that only 27% of Pacific Northwest respondents thought it was very important to make new friends. Fans on our Facebook page had mixed reactions, saying Seattle had welcomed them with open arm. Others, however, said it took two years to form a single friendship.

We wanted to get to the bottom of this with people who have experienced resettling in the Emerald City. Emerging Leaders 365 members Annie Ayers and Abel Pacheco (also a Seattle City Councilmember) have been here for two years and nine years, respectively. Emerging Leaders Committee member Melia Albrecht is from the area, but she attended college in California. She found that she had to do some readjusting when she moved back.

We took to Facebook Live to get their perceptions of Seattle, the Freeze, and came to the conclusion that, okay, maybe it’s a little real, but it doesn’t have to be.

Want tips for how to fight it? Here’s are a few favorites from Melia:

When trying to meet new people, do something that’s of value to you. That way, if you don’t meet anyone new, you at least spent your time in a meaningful way. She added, “If you meet someone and have at least one thing in common with them, that’s really helpful.”

She also had a tip for keeping in touch with people that’s so simple, it’s genius: “If I want to make sure I’m keeping in touch with someone, I’ll put an emoji next to their name in my phone. So, when scroll down, if I see an emoji and it’s been a while, I’ll just send them a message.”  

Abel has been in Seattle nine years. He’s all about meeting new people:

If you network just to get business cards, you’ll come up empty-handed on connections. “When I first started going to networking events, I would intentionally try to have one or two meaningful conversations with people…people have a strategy of networking and trying to meet as many people as possible. Rather, I wanted to build a meaningful relationship with a friend.”

That strategy paid off. He even met his current roommate while networking with Emerging Leaders!

He pointed out that folks can have a great conversation but be bad about the follow up. Having the opportunity for repeat exposure to people and experiences can help a lot.

Annie’s perspective was informed by her Midwest experiences:

“You’ll be standing in line and someone will talk to you…You’ll go to a bar in Minnesota and someone will talk to you. Someone will reach out. I think that spoiled me when I first moved here because I had to become that person. I had been used to that happening just naturally…I see the Seattle Freeze as a challenge for me to be more out there.”

She also said “yes” to everything she was invited to, in an effort to meet people with backgrounds different from her own. “I think the beauty of going to a large event and talking to people is getting diverse perspective you wouldn’t normally have in your own circle. That’s something really special about going to networking events or volunteer events: you get to meet people who don’t necessarily come from your walk of life.”

And really, it’s what you make of it: “Whether or not the Freeze exists, we have control over whether it affects our lives individually.”

If this sounds familiar, there’s good news. Emerging Leaders 365 is a great way to meet people that you’ll have at least one thing in common with. Plus, it brings together people of various backgrounds and provides consistent opportunities to follow up! You’ll make an impact on this city, have exclusive access to influential people and unique spaces, and you’ll even help thaw that freeze, both for yourself and others.

Watch the full video below. And let us know how you’ve experienced the Seattle Freeze!


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