Are Vancouverites Snobby And Not Open To Meeting New People?
Sep 3rd, 2012
As a newcomer, do you find it difficult to meet local people in Vancouver?
You will find some answers in this video produced by Free Talk TV!
Video by Free Talk
. Interview by Alison Riley.
Vancouver is famous for many things, the Canucks, the Olympics, its beaches, but Vancouver is also starting to become infamous for something else, for being clicky and snobby, is this true?
Let's start the Free Talk.
I'm Alison Riley, and welcome to Free Talk
. We're here today outside the union where a bunch of new friends are meeting at a Be My Amigo event.
Founder Jorge Amigo says he found it very difficult to meet people when he first moved to Vancouver. Now, are Vancouverites particularly snobby or is it just simply newcomer growing pains. One of the first things I noticed about living in Vancouver is that it's relatively difficult to strike up random conversations with people on the streets or in buses or in places where people feel relativity unsafe to talk to strangers.
I felt that there's a certain wall of anonymity that people don't want to breach. There was an article called "Do Vancouver Men Suck?
", written by Katherine Ashenburg in Vancouver Magazine. It basically explained that the dating scene here was terrible because men were childish and they didn't know how to court women, and they didn't know how to go on a date.
And when I read it I felt that although some of her points were valid, I felt that dating is a dance of two. And she kind of misrepresented the female side, which I felt I needed to respond to, and what I responded was that I felt that it is very difficult to meet women in the city, because they're not that open to talking to strangers.
So yeah, the response was kind of overwhelming. I got about 900 emails and Facebook messages of people saying hey, we agree this city is very complicated for dating. So we want to do something about it. So, I decided that on February 14th, for Valentine's Day, I wanted to create a dinner for strangers with the idea that when you talk to people and when you meet strangers, you're not necessarily hitting on them.
It's just simply about having a conversation, getting to know people.
I'd really want to create the sense that when people are talking to each other, and when you're building community, and when you're reaching out and talking to people around you. It doesn't have to always be about dating. I feel that if people feel that that's the intention when someone talks to you on the street, then there's an obvious wall of protection.
Whereas, if you foster the idea that talking to strangers is simply about getting to know people and talking to each other, then I feel we have a better community and a better attraction with everyone.
Now, do you feel that this is uniquely a Vancouver thing? Do you think it's specifically Vancouver that's got this particular clickyness?
That's a very complicated question. I think there is a lot of variables and factors that affect the sociability the city. You know, cities that have hyper-sensitive immigrants or cities that have many days of rain, or cities that don't have public squares, or cultures that are socialized to being more polite as opposed to cultures where everyone's on the beach talking to each other.
I think that there's so many variables that yes, there are things that are particular to Vancouver. But I think it's a combination of factors that causes this city to be particularly clicky, that something is different from this place. People go to New York and feel that they can talk to people on the streets. People go to other big cities in the U.S. or Canada, Montreal for example, and there's a sense of joviality and a sense of people getting together and being very convivial in Montreal. I've experienced that when I was there and somehow there's a contrast from Vancouver. I don't know exactly why, I can't pinpoint it, but yeah, I do think there's something particular about Vancouver.
Now I'm no detective, but I'm pretty sure you're not from here originally. No, I'm from the UK originally. I moved out here about 13 years ago. Now, did you find it hard to meet people when you moved here? Yes, yeah I think Vancouver I found was very, it was a great city, it's beautiful, but to actually meet people it's a very closed community, closed groups of friends.
Whereas experience in the UK is very different. You can walk in your local pub and then walk out with twelve friends on the same night. So it's very much more of an open-door policy. This is a very young city, it transitions a lot. There's at lot of people come and go. A lot of people move around a lot as well to find their neighborhoods.
Since I moved, actually funny enough, we used to live in Kits. We used to run a restaurant in Kits. And then we moved to the main street area and I found people on this side are way more open to chatting and actually creating friendships.
People who were born here and have spent their whole lives here, you establish a lot of bonds when you're in elementary school, middle school, your hockey club or your whatever it is that you did when you were a kid and going through high school.
So by the time you, you know, are an adult and start socializing with the broader city, you already have your core group of friends that you can rely on.
Well you mentioned that, you said there's people from around Canada too that have come to meet with you guys as well. Exactly, so people from, a lot of people from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, everywhere.
I am from Winnipeg actually. Oh, there you go. Yeah. Winnipeg.
So, James how how many Be My Amigo events have you been to?
This is my second. And where are you from originally? I'm from here. Vancouver. Oh, you're actually from Vancouver?
Do you find it that Vancouver is particularly clicky or snobby or hard to break through?
I've heard that from a number of people that have moved here and I understand it because I lived in Montreal for a few years and when I came back I experienced that a bit myself. That was ten years ago. I now have a really great group of friends. Are we inclusive of other people? We try to be. But yeah, Vancouver as a culture I would say tends to stick with your own. I've noticed a lot of people don't necessarily trust peoples motives if you just strike up a conversation.
But I would also say Vancouver is getting friendlier. You know, in my experience I find it easier to just chat with somebody on a bus or in a cafe now than I did even ten years ago, so.
What do you think of these Be My Amigo events?
I think it's a really smart idea. You know, a lot of the time it's very clear that a get-together has a kind of subtext of a romantic liaisons and that's actually I think what is one of the impediments to people just reaching out and talking. The fact that this is set up so clearly to be not a romantic encounter but just to sort of share, like what you're up to and what you like about Vancouver.
I think it's a smart idea.
Just general personal connections with no pressure.
Yeah and I've met some really interesting people here. Now, what can people do if they want to be a part of Be My Amigo? How can they find you guys, is it only, is it on Twitter? Yeah, it's real easy, there's a facebook page. It's basically it's you just look for bemyamigo
on facebook. It's one word, my amigo. On twitter I use a hashtag called, well I don't have a hashtag, but I use the hashtag #BeMyAmigo so if you use that hashtag then you can find all kinds of tweets related to the event.
You can also follow me personally on Twitter and then I will tweet about it. My handle is #amigojor or just type in Jorge Amigo and you'll find me, it's real easy. There's also an eventbrite page for the events as well. So if you go to eventbrite and search for be my amigo, again, one word. Then you'll have listing of all the past, present, and future events. The only rule here though, is that there's no creepers allowed.
So, how do you weed out the Creepers Jorge?
They weed themselves out.
You hear that creepers? You need not apply. As always, we want to know what you think. Are Vancouverites particularly snobby, and not open to meeting new people? Tweet us at free talk TV or find us on Facebook.
I am Allison Riley and thanks for watching Free Talk.