Shyness is Nice BUT…

See that rock over there? The one to the left of your peripheral vision? Yes, that’s the one. That’s been the home of this SF resident for the past 6 odd years. If you look a little closer, you’ll be surprised to see the vibrant community beneath that rock. We’re all different shapes, sizes, and colors but there is a great common denominator amongst us; we are not native to San Francisco. And perhaps because of that, or in spite of that fact, we have congregated there, drawn to one another because there seems to be this invisible barrier that prevents us from connecting with the true locals. Is it that y’all are shy? Are you just really into your clicks?

Whether you hail from southern Cal or Boston or even New York, you must know what I’m talking about. How long were you living in this beautiful city before you transitioned from “acquaintance” to “friend” status with your social network? I had all but forgotten this pet peeve about San Francisco until attending a recent Giants baseball game. The scene may be different from your experience but essentially three degrees of separation existed between all the attendees. And while I’m no social butterfly, I made a concentrated effort to reach out to everyone in the hopes of making an impression worthy of a phone or email exchange. I left empty handed.

Maybe it is really me but I’m sure there are others who know what I’m talking about. Fess up natives–what gives?

9 Comments so far

  1. Mark (unregistered) on September 30th, 2006 @ 8:17 pm

    Perhaps the reason you haven’t met many San Francisco natives is that there aren’t very many of them. I know only one and I married her.

  2. cd (unregistered) on September 30th, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

    I think it’s a transient city by nature. And the part that people move TO isn’t necessarily the part where the natives are FROM – if that makes any sense. I went to school with a few true-blue, born and bred natives and I always marveled and wondered at what it would be like to really grow up in San Francisco.

    It’s a very tribal city – and the natives must be another tribe. Or they moved their tribe somewhere with more land and less densely packed people. I think the old-school San Franciscans are either clinging to the hill tops (Nob, Pac Heights, Telegraph) or gone to that great foggy avenue in the sky . . . .

  3. anna (unregistered) on October 1st, 2006 @ 1:21 pm

    I’m kind of confused- do you mean, you want to meet people that have grown up in SF exclusively, or just people who’ve lived here longer than you?

    I was talking with some folks who just moved here and they felt that it was super easy to meet people- though the burden of setting up the friend date is usually on the side of the new folks- but the flaking factor is hard to get used to.

  4. Aaron (unregistered) on October 1st, 2006 @ 8:32 pm

    The denser the city, the harder it is to meet people. Isnt that always the case? But yeah, I sense people are exclusive and cliquey in this town. And I don’t think its the natives. Im from LA not originally, but I learned that the “shallowness” stereotype is not because of LA. Its perpetuated by the people who come to LA from different places. They come and be shallow, cause they figure thats how LA is and they have to come up to speed. Same with SF Bay Area. The cliquey, flakey, holier than thou, “Im artsier and I have better taste than you” attitude is perpetuated by none other than the implanted transients aformentioned by CD^.. And we implants may not even be aware that we are in fact perpetuating it too.

    But persons are inherently good it seems, and I think if you keep reaching out like youre doing, things will come around eventually.

    anyways, flame suit on :)

  5. David (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 9:52 am

    I think of sports events as having unfriendly crowds in general, and not as events geared towards locals. The main reason we build stadiums is to bring money into the city. If you want to meet folks, try smaller groups that meet around a specific interest.

    I understand the city stereotype though. I feel like i met people more quickly when I first moved here. I wondered why people didn’t ever start conversations on the Muni. Now there are so many people I want to / have to be doing stuff with, and so little time to make connections with new people. I feel like the muni ride is my time to relax by myself ;)

  6. Gurpal Dosanjh (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

    You all bring up great points–perspectives that I had not considered. And to answer your question Anna, i’m interested in meeting people. period. It just seems I have to go through more hoops up here. But its so worth it when that connection is made!

  7. juliana (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

    I moved into SF 10 months ago and I’ve really felt welcomed. I’m sure part of it is my neighborhood – we’re very tribal and we take care of our own – but I’ve found it easy to talk to most people in the City.

    SF is a cakewalk compared to Minneapolis – I think the biggest hoop I’ve had to jump through here is getting over the flakiness.

  8. anna (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 4:05 pm

    Paris was impossible. I don’t think we’re as closed as all that. I’d say get away from the sports events and go to readings, or find a restaurant/bar/cafe to hang out in and get to know people there. Something in something you’re already interested in. Flakiness was tough for me and I’m a Californian! Haha. I have to say that when I meet someone and we hang out for coordinate something together for the first time, there is a little bit that goes off in my head saying “Flake” or “Not a Flake.”

  9. huh? (unregistered) on October 2nd, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

    what makes lil gurpal think she is worthy of anyone’s time?

    I wouldn’t judge the city’s natives on whether they want to trade digits with ya…

    people who were born here no doubt already have long time friends they have no time to hang out with…

    much less do they need to add on a bunch of transient newcomers to their already teeming social agendas…

    it’s likely and proven that for those passing through, often their only purpose here is to selfishly further their corporate careers or raise real estate prices… or both.

    In the end, leaving nothing but chain restaurants & watered down culture for us to deal with when they are gone…

    so don’t take it hard… just do what you do & the worthy lights will find ye in the dark…

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