On the heels of Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate love by watching this TEDx talk about vulnerability and human connection. Basically, we gotta take risks and put ourselves out there if we want to get something back.
This principle applies to all aspirations—whether it’s deeper relationships, work success, or other personal goals—we need to overcome the negative voices in our heads and just go after it.
This all makes me think about the "Seattle Freeze." A term coined because Seattleites are supposedly superficially nice, but unwilling to make authentic connections. It impacts making friends and dating and is often blamed on seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the tech industry’s nerdy tendencies, and/or the Northwest’s cultural roots.
I’m not sure if the Seattle Freeze exists....(aren't people like that in any major city?) Those who buy into the Seattle Freeze are making the assumption that people are cold and I wonder about the placebo effect. If we approach people a predetermined mindset, are we signing off on our own destiny?
Being lonely is a natural human condition. When I moved to Seattle, I felt lonely. I spent the time I needed feeling sorry for myself and shed a few tears, but then I put together an action list. I outlined what kind of friends I hoped for, what kind of friend I wanted to be, and put together a plan to bridge my expectations to reality. And sure enough, it paid off.
Here’s how I continue to combat the Seattle Freeze:
- Breaking the ice goes a long way. The awkwardness only exists in our heads. I'm usually the first to open up the conversation, and people usually reciprocate. And if not, they aren’t worth the time.
- We have an unconscious bias to surround ourselves with people like us, but that limits opportunities. I talk to everyone, especially those who seem different because those friendships are often the most rewarding.
- I smile when seeing people I recognize and am honest. Even though I'm forgetful, I always get a positive reaction when I say, “I know you, forgive me, but please remind me what your name is."