The Seattle freeze

The Packers are hosting the New York Giants in Lambeau Field, and I just read this article from the New York Times regarding the friendliness of Wisconsin residents. It got me to thinking about Wisconsin’s reputation of friendliness versus Seattle’s reputation of being standoffish.

It was nearly three years ago that I moved with my family from Madison, WI to Seattle, WA.

When I arrived, much was made of the “Seattle Freeze.” I can’t say I totally understood it. At first I thought it was simply people being unfriendly, guarded, defensive or maybe just shy. But it’s not that at all.

Quite the opposite. I found people in Seattle to be more than willing to help. People are friendly with directions and more than willing to make recommendations. In general, the entire city seems pretty laid back and happy to have me here…

… just not with them. And that’s what I think the Seattle Freeze, if there is one, really is.

A former co-worker described it this way: You can sit and talk with a native Seattle person for an hour. You could be having the best conversation and really getting along. Then at the end, they’ll say something like “well, it’s been great, but I’m going to go meet 30 of my friends, and we’re going to go to this great party. So, see you later.”

And that’s the difference. In Wisconsin, they take the phrase “the more the merrier” quite seriously. The State loves to party. It is what it is. Most everything centers around alcohol, which is a bit of a problem, if you ask me, but culturally, Wisconsinites love a crowd – especially a happy, drinking crowd.

These are just stereotypes and generalizations, so obviously they’re not hard and fast rules. In fact, I’ve made quite a few friends here in a relatively short time, so I’m truly loving my Seattle experience.

But there’s nothing quite like Wisconsin for true inclusion. They will invite you to every party they can, time and again. If you wear your Seahawks jersey to a Packers/Seahawks game at Lambeau Field, and the Seahawks (somehow) win, you will still get multiple invitations to the post game parties.

Hey, it’s Wisconsin. It’s why one of the past state slogans was “You’re among friends.”

– I’m Jon Friesch, and I’d love to have you over for lunch.

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