Single in Seattle: Okcupid Boy (or, The Seattle Freeze Revisited)

Recently I had a date with a perfectly cute boy I met through Okcupid. He’s a UW student, CSE major, bound for law school. Sounds like a great match. But why did I have to meet him online?

There is a certain sense of embarrassment associated with using a dating website. I definitely feel it–I already mentioned my shame at using Jdate. It makes you feel like something is wrong with you. I mean, I’m your typical 21-year-old in most ways. So why is it so hard for me to meet people?

But I’m not alone. Searching Okcupid for members within 10 miles of 98112 I get 9378 results. Maybe this is evidence that it’s a problem not just with dating but with all aspects of life. Two years into life in Seattle and I still have only met a handful of people, compared to the tons of people I met attending my first college in St. Louis. So how did I meet those people? Through my dorm, parties, classes, random places around the city.

Now as a UW student, I feel isolated and lost. Where are all those random meetings? Nowhere to be found. Only twice have random people approached me in all the times I’ve sat alone at Remedy and Liberty. One was gay and one was drunk–neither exactly dating prospects.

Is this the famous Seattle freeze? Does it really exist? It feels like it to me. Have you encountered it? How do you deal with it? How did you meet your friends, online or otherwise?

14 Comments so far

  1. Erin (lunge) on June 25th, 2008 @ 10:07 am

    Honestly, I think there’s some truth to the whole "when you stop looking for it, it’ll come to you". It’s very true when it comes to dating.

    As for meeting people, I think you have to be proactive about it too. You can’t just expect everyone to come up to you. You have to go up to people and introduce yourself. As well, I don’t think it’s all that hard to meet people around here. Just get involved. Find something that you like to do, and do it. Join a group or something. It’s really easy to meet people that way.

  2. donte on June 25th, 2008 @ 10:29 am

    Glad to see my comments were taken to heart and that I wasn’t just written off as some Internet asshole.

    As for your problem, I second Erin. Why are you so worried about this? I’ve never had a problem meeting people here, and find plenty with compatible interests simply because I go out and follow my interests ALL THE TIME. I’m rarely out looking to meet anyone (friends or otherwise), but it happens just naturally over time. I’ve never found being single that hard, but for me the key is being OK with being alone. Dating is just a bonus.

    The whole student thing should really be working in your favor. You’re really in a petri dish of hormonally-addled youth – work it! So get out there, look cute, enjoy life, and the dating will come. Then you can post about how awesome dating in Seattle is.

  3. tonyb on June 25th, 2008 @ 10:29 am

    I agree with Erin on her latter point. I think joining some sort of group is probably the best idea. I say that because it’s the only way you’ll probably get any sort of decent response. Randomly meeting people around this city, even if you are proactive, isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

  4. remjones on June 25th, 2008 @ 10:48 am

    I grew up in Wenatchee where we all knew everyone. I moved over here and went to the UW and really had a hard time branching out. I made quite a few new friends, most of them casual aquaintances though. By my 4th year most of my regular hang out buddies were the same people I’d grown up with and gone to school with…some of them since kindergarten.

    I met my now husband through the spring street online dating (me the onion, he the stranger). I had signed up with a friend of mine just to see what it was like and ended up meeting some really fun and interesting people! I think the whole stigma around it is totally overrated.

    Good luck!

  5. jessejb on June 25th, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

    Im suprised to be hearing this from a female in Seattle considering there are WAY more single men here as opposed to single women. And yes, the Freeze exists, you just have to find a way around it. Try to make friends with transplants, for one. Took me 2 years since returning here after being away in college to figure that out. And I grew up here. =( If you drag your butt out of your apartment and keep a positive attitude, especially in the dark winter months, extroverted people will be drawn to you for the same reason youre looking for them.

  6. yayunicorns on June 25th, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

    there is something weird about seattle. i can’t quite pinpoint it, but compared to every city i’ve lived in the guys here just don’t seem to get it. my boyfriend and i repeatedly have to tell our guy friends, that the girl who just asked you a stupid question might want a drink from you. she might actually want to talk to you. otherwise she wouldn’t have asked the stupid question in a loud bar, when she has her friends to talk to.

    as for going online, i had great experiences in detroit (actually i didn’t get a boyfriend but i did gain a best friend). but here, all i got were total weirdos. jdate was the worst of them all, because let’s face it. seattle is simply a white, once protestant now i’m not so sure anymore, city.

    is it because there are too many tech nerds who like to hide in their dungeons so they have no social skills? probably. is it because there are too many artists here who are too into themselves that they don’t realize a girl is looking at them? probably.

    i was once told all i had to do is tell a guy that i wanted to kiss him and bam, it would happen. i’m just not that kind of girl, and luckily i have a great boyfriend for a year now so i don’t have to search around seattle anymore. but i feel for ya girl. it’s not easy out there. and for some reason, especially here.

    good luck and god speed. you’ll need it.

  7. wesa on June 25th, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

    I’ve met many friends and past boyfriends through other people. I met my husband while drunk at a goth club, of all places. I met Mike online playing Counterstrike while we lived in two states and now he’s like my little brother. Mostly, you need to be the one to follow up with others, introduce yourself, maintain networks, and don’t force things.

  8. josh on June 25th, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

    wait — people meet each other without the help of the internet?

  9. yayunicorns on June 26th, 2008 @ 10:55 am

    i meant to also add that i think it gets slightly easier when you have a job (depending on the job). you’re in a confined space with people, and hopefully you’ll make friends with these people. it’s how i found my last 2 boyfriends.

    but as a student you must have study sessions? or go to the gym? those could be good places to meet guys.

    the best advice i think i could give is be approachable. this means lose the ipod and the cell phone. sit in a coffee shop and read a book or the stranger or something. if you sit long enough i bet someone will approach you or at least say hi. the ipod and phone have become this thing that isolates you, thus people won’t go near you. trust me on this one. i’ve never wanted to talk to someone who’s texting away on their stupid phone. but if i saw that they were reading something i’ve never read i’d go up to them and ask about it.

  10. katelyn on June 26th, 2008 @ 11:10 am

    Doing social things is a good way to meet people — volunteer or something. Usually, if I see someone sitting alone in a public place, I leave them be! And I think, "how nice that they are getting some alone time," grab my drink and enjoy my own slice of peace & quiet. But if I know everyone in the room is there to hang out and do something we’re all interested in, then I’ll be much more social and strike up conversations. I’m assuming boys do the same thing.

  11. John Eddy (jaydeflix) on June 26th, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

    I wonder if I’m the only person in the world who didn’t recognize okcupid as Ok Cupid for few minutes… I tried to figure out if it was some cthulu related dating site or something….

  12. gargamello on July 3rd, 2008 @ 7:54 am

    Ok here’s the problem. I’m going to put it in caps so it’s very clear:


    You have to participate in activities with other people in which you share a common interest. This means clubs, meetups, organizations that bring people together, whether that be a running group, yoga group, Obama/McCain group, cooking group, writing group, yelp group, sailing or Vespa group, urban knitting, whatever. You have to go out and meet up with these people and display a sense of excitement and energy and talk to them. Some of them won’t like you and will ignore you – so what. The ones that will are worth it.

    That is how you make friends and meet people. I am a nerd named gargamello and I can do it, so if you’re a 21 year old bookishly hot chick, you sure as hell can.

  13. gargamello on July 3rd, 2008 @ 7:59 am

    Oh and all of you saying "it’s so much harder here in Seattle" that’s bullshit. Come on. You’re saying Seattle is harder to socialize bc the people are smarter? Stop making excuses and try harder. Seattle is a cool city with a lot of fascinating people. Try making friends in bumfuk Iowa where people just sit around watching corn grow all day. Much harder.

  14. John Eddy (jaydeflix) on July 3rd, 2008 @ 8:39 am


    Funny enough, I met most of my girlfriends just sitting around doing nothing and, in fact, I wasn’t trying to make anything happen with them… it just happened.

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