Will Bellevue Set the Standard for Thawing the Seattle Freeze?

Two years ago I Declared War on The Seattle Freeze. After growing tired of hearing that phrase repeatedly, I set out to get proactive about getting to know my neighbors – and what a joy the last two years has been!  Block parties, BBQs, coffee klatches and the simple act of having a neighbor over for dinner have brought a meaningful connection to my neighborhood that previously didn’t exist.  Along this journey I’ve connected with others who share a passion for neighboring, friendship and community.

But I never thought that one of the ‘like-minded people’ I would connect with would be an ENTIRE CITY.

The City of Bellevue Better Together Neighborhoods Conference

Bellevue Neighborhoods

I’ve been invited to share my journey of HAPPY NEIGHBORING at the City of Bellevue’s inaugural Neighborhoods Conference – Better TogetherSaturday, May 21 at Bellevue City Hall. Community advocates, civic specialists and Bellevue residents are coming together for a day focused on inspiring those who live and work in Bellevue to catch a vision of community and seek to be champions of neighborhood involvement. Will you join us?

I’m so excited to share my journey.

If you’ve ever wondered “how do people get to know their neighbors in Bellevue?” (or anywhere in Greater Seattle), I’ll be sharing my story of overcoming my own anxieties and insecurities about getting to know my neighbors that I had never met, even though I had lived next to them for more than 10 years! I found that so many people are just waiting for a catalyst, waiting for someone to extend an invitation! I can’t wait to share about the interesting people I’ve met and the warm conversations and experiences I’ve had in the last two years, simply by being intentional about extending (and accepting) a few invitations.

I’m so excited about what I’ll learn.

The Bellevue Neighborhoods Conference features over 20 workshops ranging in topics such as pro-active neighboring and community building, embracing our diversity and working through language barriers, emergency preparedness, becoming a community leader and more.  I know that in my own neighborhood, I’m getting to know people who have moved here from all over the world. The majority of Bellevue’s recent growth is coming from individuals and families who are foreign-born. More and more, there are language and cultural differences that can create challenges for us to get to know one another. I want to know how to get over these barriers to ensure my neighbors feel welcome when they move into my neck of the woods.

I’m so excited to be your monkey in the cage. Huh?

A few years ago, the world of psychology decided to head in a relatively uncharted direction and began to study what truly makes people HAPPY. (For so long, psychologists had focused primarily on what makes people depressed or destructive.) There’s a pretty well-known study in which researchers put a monkey in a high-stress situation to test his stress hormone levels. They put him in a cage and then amped up loud noises, lights flashing, etc. and then afterward measured his stress hormones and heart rate.  Can you imagine?

Then, they did the EXACT SAME TEST only this time they opened up the cage and put in another monkey.  Same loud noises, same flashing lights and more ensued.  And the result?

When they measured the monkey’s stress hormones again, they were REDUCED BY HALF. Just because the monkey had a buddy in with him.

What the science of positive psychology confirmed with that and other tests is the simple understanding of what previous generations knew so well: We are, in fact, BETTER TOGETHER. The stresses of everyday life can be managed better – and we can be HAPPIER – when we live life interdependent with one another, with meaningful relationships; when we live as a community of good neighbors.

So, what do say – will you join me and your Bellevue neighbors May 21? Together we can encourage one another to continue to be good neighbors, to build great neighborhoods, to be invested citizens and to build the best Bellevue.  We can turn the reputation of The Seattle Freeze on its head and in its place fan the flames of a warm Emerald Glow. Let’s come together to set the standard for neighborliness and community. Let’s live interdependent and connected.


  • For a Bellevue Neighborhoods Better Together Registration packet, contact jellenhorn@bellevuewa.gov or 425.452.5372. Space is limited!
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2 Responses to Will Bellevue Set the Standard for Thawing the Seattle Freeze?

  1. Love this and can’t wait to hear Becky speak at the Bellevue Neighborhoods Conference. The early bird registration deadline is extended to May 13.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Becky, as always an inspiring blog! Thank you for doing what you do.


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