Seattle (n)ice, in the Sunday Seattle Times magazine, explores the curious Seattle habit that combines polite public social interaction with a distinct reluctance to engage with others in what is otherwise a typically American, friendly fashion. It’s something that drives newcomers up the wall and which is a constant topic of conversation even among long-time residents.

As it happens, I referred to this in yesterday’s post about Buddy Does Seattle, glancingly. Last night, Viv and I went to a co-worker’s housewarming party and as we were meeting various folks that her co-worker knew and counted as friends, this topic came up yet again. It’s a puzzling thing, but as I said yesterday, the people that stay seem to like it. I know that I treasure the privilege of being able to indulge my antisocial tendencies.

The article makes glancing reference to the use of online resources to plan social events, presenting it as some sort of antidote or solution. It seems to me that that’s an inaccurate positioning – using online social interactions (meetups, blogs, craigslist) to plan offline interactions actually reinforces the tendency toward intermediated, distanced socialization.

Anyway, the article reminded me that it’s probably time to throw up the Mefi signal yet again for an early March wingding. Maybe we can check in with astruc about the whole Seattle (n)ice thing. As previously hinted, I’m thinking the Big Time this time.

2 thoughts on “Reserved

  1. I have definite thoughts on the whole nice thing. I’ll elaborate some if I can make it to Big Time. Meanwhile, can you make the scary people stop smiling at me at the Safeway?

  2. Finally got around to reading the article and my feelings are mixed. The behavior they describe is common everywhere, to a degree. Heck, the Chicago coffeeshop we go to every week is filled with people reading and using computers. Ooooh, how antisocial!

    More to the point, for a variety of factors, at a certain point, post-college, social life is just more difficult to arrange, period.

    On the other hand, what’s wrong with being “reserved?” I sensed some covert introvert-bashing in this article and that’s never a good thing. I say we march in protest, quietly.

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