Seattle block parties: if you host it, they will come

In the world of blogging, you’re supposed to have a catchy (and sometimes misleading) title to get people to click and read. You are supposed to write posts that have numbered lists and bullet points for easy reading. Slick gifs and graphics also help.  Well, I don’t really have any of that today; what I have is much better.

block parties are pect for s'mores and getting to know your neighborsWhat I have today is a huge smile on my face to share: I had the best time at my fall block party last Sunday afternoon. And the simple reason why is because it felt less like spending time with neighbors but more like hanging out  with friends.

A year and a half ago, I declared war on the Seattle Freeze by setting out to be intentional to get to know my neighbors with dinner & lunch invites, coffee klatches, and trying my hand at tailgate and block parties. This weekend was my second fall block party and this time I took a cue from my childhood friend Sue and her West Seattle National Night Out block party, and I expanded my invitation to two blocks this year: one up the street and one down the street from my house.

What. A. Blast. We had 40+ neighbors and kiddos in our back yard just hanging out, talking about life, getting connected and having fun.  They were all so generous bringing food and drinks. A squirt gun fight broke out with the kids in the middle of their badminton match. You can’t beat that. And several adults (including moi) decided s’mores shouldn’t be just for kids. And then a couple of neighbors started talking about hosting a Halloween costume party for the adults. No, it wasn’t me (but of course you know I’m all in for that).  Inviting is contagious.

The event was designed to end at 6:00p; my last guest left at 7:30p. I was delighted, because that told me people were having a great time with one another and not watching the clock. In the past 18 months many of us have gotten to know each other better. As a result, we really enjoy spending time together.

So, nothing earth shattering today and certainly no bulleted list. I’m simply feeling very blessed. I went to bed Sunday night thinking that I’d ‘set out to thaw the Freeze’, to make sure no one in my neck of Seattle felt isolated or disconnected. Yet, in reality I’m the one who has gained so much.  It’s a great thing to bring people together, to truly know them and feel known by them.

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post because you’ve just moved here and you’re ‘feelin’ the Freeze’, or if you’ve woken up today finding your life in a new season and you’re feeling disconnected, I just want to encourage you that it can change. It can be different.  And that difference could be right out your front door. It will take time; all friendships do. But that time could start today, and it could make a world of difference to your tomorrow.

Or maybe you’re a resident Seattleite and you’re wondering what you might do to bring a little light to your corner of the Sound.  I highly encourage you to step out and take a risk. Think about the simple act of walking out your front door and connecting with a new neighbor. It might trigger a domino effect of deeper connection.

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