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Forget FOMO, It's JOMO aka The Seattle Freeze

We have all heard of FOMO or the Fear Of Missing Out. But have you heard of JOMO, the Joy Of Missing Out? People in the Pacific Northwest say, "There’s a party I’m not going to, and I’m glad I’m not going to it.”

According to a recent survey by Seattle-based Pemco Insurance, residents of Washington State and Oregon don't try to make friends there. A substantial 49 percent said they don’t even want to interact with people they don’t know. This seems to give credence to the phenomenon known as the Seattle Freeze: Northwesterners’ reputation for making it hard to form new friendships.

According to the Seattle Times article on the subject:

“It’s real, and people move away because of it. I was reluctant to admit it, but too many people have said, ‘We don’t like it here, we’re moving away’ to deny,” says Art Converse, a counselor for veterans. The Freeze comes up all the time, he said.

It’s possible the Freeze exists in part due to the region’s weather, which can somewhat train people to “become hermits in the winter,” Converse mused.

But there may be more to it than rain. The phenomenon could also be tied to the Scandinavian origins of what was once the region’s largest share of immigrants.

That was my conclusion before reading the end of the article. There are lot of Scandinavian surnames, street, and road names in the region.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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Two different contexts at work here. I've been JOMOing most of my life. But it's more about avoiding the "in" thing. I never owned a Leisure Suit and there's yet to be a single iOS device in my life..As for people, up here you were either born in Maine or are "From Away." That was once an important distinction with varying degrees of consequences. Not so much anymore. The Seattle Freeze is destined for the same. A funny vernacular that will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
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It might also be the sudden influx of outsiders, causing the "natives" to feel uncomfortable with all the new folks around. They bring new ideas, want things from where they came from, and want to tell you all about it. Growing up in the Northwest we'd have the occasional Californian move into our neighborhood, and all we would hear from them was how disappointing it was that the Northwest was not more like California. Maybe it's not us; it's you. 
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