Thawing the Seattle Freeze: The power of the neighborhood directory

A good friend and neighbor and I were laughing recently about the extent that we didn’t know each other for the longest time.  In fact, she told me that when they saw the “stork sign” in our front yard (placed there by some friends when we had our son), they wondered if we had just adopted a baby because they had never seen me pregnant.  We live next door to each other.  I know, right?

Stork

As I noodled on that this week I thought, “Well of course she thought that.  For years, and certainly during my pregnancy, I went to work in the morning (in the dark) and came home from work (in the dark), spent most of my weekend free time at church,  out and about or catching up on errands, and then collapsed on the couch.  No wonder we never saw each other. No wonder she had no idea I was pregnant.” 

Certainly one of the things that may contribute to our Seattle Freeze is that as the winter comes on and the days get shorter, the garage doors go up, the garage doors go down and often that’s the extent that we know that there are people inhabiting the houses surrounding us.  My friend and I had to admit that we all probably develop Seattle Freeze habits whether we intend to or not.  Few people intend to not know their neighbors.  So, maybe my part in thawing the Freeze is simply just about being more intentional. 

It’s just my turn to do some inviting.  Everyone won’t want to or have time to connect, and that’s ok.   Many folks are busy and it just may not be the right timing for them to ‘get social’.  That’s completely understandable.  Like I mentioned last week, a lot of people are more introverted and don’t have as high of a social barometer as I do.  But I do continue to have conversations with people who are struggling to find connection in Seattle, so I’m all in.

So all this noodling gave me a thought.  There are several women in my neighborhood that I have either met at a Bunko night years ago, or talked to briefly while waiting in the pickup-cue at school, or worked with on one PTSA project, or we used to see each other a lot but for one reason or another (or my lack of intention) I just simply haven’t talked to them much this past year.  And I thought, “I’d sure like to catch up with them.“

So, I got out my neighborhood directory and started power dialing. I called or emailed about eight of these gals that I’d really like to re-connect with and invited them over for a quick, casual lunch tomorrow.  Right now, 5 can make it.  I’m totally stoked.  I’m really looking forward to having more than a passing conversation with each of these gals and getting caught up with what’s been going on in their lives.

So here’s a thought:  Do you have neighbors that you’ve only talked to in passing and would like to get to know better?  Are there some folks that you just haven’t talked to in a while?

Grab your directory if you have one, or flag someone this weekend while they’re out doing some yard work.  An opportunity for connection may just be a phone call or an invitation away.

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4 Responses to Thawing the Seattle Freeze: The power of the neighborhood directory

  1. Anonymous says:

    I decided to join the club and invite some neighbors over for dinner. We had three couples over and it went pretty well. I realized that we don’t always have a lot in common with our neighbors which makes it interesting but still worthwhile. I was a little worried when two of the couples chose to eat separately. One couple sat at the kitchen counter and the other sat at the patio table. Hmmm. I sat at the table while my husband talked to the couple who sat at the counter. It is a good thing there were two of us. Eventually, everyone ended up in the same room. The conversation was a little stuff at first but one of gal was really funny and she got everyone laughing. Whew!

  2. Ceytha B says:

    So, curious…if no one knows each other…how did a “neighborhood directory” come about?

    • BHenchman says:

      Published by the HOA. Lists names and shows map of neighborhood. Gets updated every couple of years by someone who volunteers to serve as HOA secretary. And, of course, the obvious: you can ‘know’ someone’s name without actually ‘knowing’ them.

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