Navigating the "Seattle Freeze"

Making mom friends is like going back to dating days (and I don't know about you guys, but I was AWFUL at dating). You meet someone cool, and hope that you click and that it can lead somewhere. Somehow in Seattle, though, it’s harder. We’re known as a city that’s hard to meet people - the notorious “Seattle Freeze”. I don’t think it’s that we’re mean, so much we’re a city populated by people who just don’t know what to say and because of that are reserved and like to stay in our lane. It’s like we lost the ability to small talk and break the ice. We smile politely, maybe comment on the weather, and that’s pretty much all we got. On the playground, or in that drop-in playtime? We’re flummoxed at what to say. It’s no wonder that we’re a city desperate to make friends! We shouldn’t be this mystified, after all, we’re functional human beings with functional relationships and have even managed to procreate. And yet you go to the playground by yourself, do your own thing while supervising your offspring, and then head out on your own. If you’re lucky, you join a PEPS group or a Parent Baby Group and hit it off with some of the other moms. If you’re REALLY lucky, you end up one of those success stories where you’re still meeting two years later. But if you’re unlucky, you’re placed with women that aren’t nearby, who go back to work while you stay home or vice versa, or you simply don’t really click with. And it feels like you blew your one shot. This is how I found Stroller Strides in the first place, because it was my daily opportunity for interaction with other people who would actually talk to me. But I can also say over the years, I’ve learned some tips that can help you navigate that Seattle Freeze:

  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Sometimes I think the problem is that we’re all just standing there waiting for the perfect opportunity for an opening, or for the other person to say something. Be the other person that says something!

  • Perfect your small talk. Are you like me, in that you get stuck for words? Practice. “How old is your little one” “Do you like this park?” “Have you tried xxx class”

  • Exchange info, and actually invite them to something. Friend each other on FB, and set up a date. (I know a great class!)

  • And if they’re a butthead, just remember that they’re in every city, and move on and be thankful that you don’t have to hang out with them.

I know Seattle can be a tough city to find your place, but I promise that there is a place for you!