Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Vancouver Freeze"

... and no, I'm not talking about this deep freeze cold spell we've been having for the past few days. ;)

I just read on a Seattle forum about "Seattle Freeze".

Here's the article behind it all:

The Seattle Times: Pacific Northwest Magazine : Our Social Disease

In essense, how they've described Seattle is exactly how many have described Vancouver.

Those of you actually familiar with Vancouver, who have spent time here, what do you think? Is there a "Vancouver Freeze"? If so, why do you think that is? Do you think it's always been that way?


Anonymous said...

thank you for your comment on my blog.

yes we did have some rain last week and we'll take all we can get. We don't get nearly enough. That's why we have such bad fires around this area.

I see you don't have a email linked back to you blog or I would have thanked you by email.

If you want to reply

God Bless and try to stay warm

Blogger said...

It's quite an interesting article.

Having moved to Vancouver 8 months ago, I do get that vibe where people respond "Yeah, we should TOTALLY catch up and (insert social activity here)!!" but have no intention of actually following through and are just saying so to be polite.

In general, there does seem to be a superficial social "inner sanctum" that newcomers are not welcome to. (Or at least they need to prove themselves REALLY worthy before being accepted.)

I guess it's just a different culture.

Colene said...

I was once at a blogger meetup with a bunch of strangers and chatted with a few people. I told one person I'd keep in touch by adding him to my IM list. He thought I wasn't going to really contact him because I didn't write down his email address..like I was all talk but didn't really intend to follow through. Of course I did and we've been friends for a few years now.

I can't say I'm all that surprised by that reaction. It is hard to break through that barrier and truly make friends with people. Having grown up here, I still find it hard to meet and make friends. I'm one of those unfortunate people that has friends move away plus I actually don't have any friends from childhood, etc.

I do try to make a special effort to get to know people I click with, especially if it's at a place like a party and you may never see them again. I just never want to appear like a weirdo!

Anonymous said...

I don't think Vancouver is different from anywhere else: if you make the effort, you will have friends. The easiest way to make friends is to do something regularly: attend a class, joining a hiking group, whatever. By seeing people regularly, the normal barriers that are always there will gradually break down. Friendships rarely just happen.
- ian in hamburg

Robyn said...

Old Geezer - thanks for visiting! :) I do wish more rain for SoCal. It's pouring here in Vancouver. At least the bitter cold is gone.

VJM - I do think it's a different culture. I think it's also just a different mix of social demographics as well. Vancouver's one big social experiment of transients, all here for different reasons, with different expectations.

Colene - I can completely relate. I never know what to think... because I was born and raised here, and yet, I've always felt alienated by everyone I grew up with. And I've never had hoards of friends, but I'm pretty much friendly with everyone.

There are maybe 2-3 people I keep in touch with from my childhood, and they're people I see about every 6 months, if that. All my good friends are people I've met later on in life, and most of them are all from elsewhere, whether it be elsewhere in Canada, the USA, or elsewhere in the world.

When Facebook came around and I joined in 2006, I could see that the majority of the people I went to high school were in fact still hanging around with one another, still living in Richmond, married to one another, dating one another - a social circle that never evolved beyond high school cliques. It's a generalization, sure, but it astounded me how many people are still in those cliques... and have never moved beyond!

People from elsewhere say "I've never met anyone FROM Vancouver", and I think part of the reason is that the people FROM Vancouver are perhaps just like my old high school classmates - they're just hanging out with other people who are from Vancouver. They're still only socializing with their friends from childhood.

But I must say, I've noticed a similar pattern occurring by transplants. People from Ontario living in Vancouver are often forming their best relationships with others who have moved here from Ontario. People from Edmonton in Vancouver are hanging out with other Edmonton transplants... people from the UK form strong relationships with other British Expats, etc. We all form these cliques and it then becomes hard to infiltrate them because we become the outsider.

I wonder if another part of the issue is the transient nature of Vancouver, that if you invited everyone new that you met into your social circle, you'd be in the thousands by now. That combined with the more reserved nature of Vancouver and Canadians in general and perhaps that paints part of the picture.I don't know. :)

Perhaps it's also the nature of the city being outdoor oriented and people are hobby/interest oriented... as Ian, you're suggesting. I found that I broke into social circles much easier when I had a common interest. When I used to do photography for Discorder, I grew my social circle incredibly around other live music lovers. My sister's actively engaged in the local surf scene, and attends UBC Surf Club meets & parties - she's meeting new people all the time.

So perhaps that's all there is. In Vancouver, don't expect people to come looking for you - you have to make the effort, but once you do, you'll start meeting people.

Colene said...

Great thoughts Robyn. I found the same thing when I was on FB looking at old high school classmates. Is it mean to say that part of me was glad that I wasn't part of it? ;) I hated all the cliques.

I find that even if you join a class doesn't guarantee that you'll make friendships even if you have a shared interest. I don't want to seem like a snob, but the people that I develop real friendships with are the ones where I feel a 'click'. Those are just a little harder to find.

Robyn said...

Colene, that's so true. Discovering a source of like-minded individuals is half the battle. Chemistry does play a big role. When it exists, you click, and friendship naturally evolves, regardless...

ForHappyHealth said...

I totally think there is a "Freeze" in Vancouver... I moved into a suburb around Vancouver from Portland and it felt like a different world. When I first moved to Portland, all of the neighbours greeted us, we were invited to community events and barbeques, everybody wore their heart on their sleeve. This was also my experience when I visited Tucson AZ, when people would talk to you they talked how they would think to themselves, including their more personal issues and their real emotions. You could talk to a cashier, and instead of the cashier giving you some shallow line about the weather and then ignoring you, they will talk about what they're doing in college right now and how their life is, throwing in jokes and questions to keep the conversation going...

In Vancouver I feel like everybody is closed off, cold, and distrustful. Maybe there's a side of south-western BC that I'm not seeing (the warm, friendly, accepting one?) But I've lived here for 5 years now and while I have met some great people, they are equally as disconnected from community as I am here!