I grew up here. For a while after college, I lived in other states, but I've been here most of my life. One of the things I appreciated a lot more after living away was the friendliness of this place.
I've had lots of good experiences from striking up random conversations with people on the El, waiting with other cyclists for a light to change, while on my bike at a south side grade crossing waiting for a train to pass, etc. I've never considered Chicago a "keep-to-yourself" culture. (That's New England, as I can tell you from experience.) When I've moved to a new Chicago neighborhood where I knew no one, it's never taken long to start meeting people there. In some places, I've had neighbors come and introduce themselves on moving day. It does vary quite a bit by neighborhood.
It sounds like your experience here has been very different than mine. If you've remained an extreme introvert into adulthood, it's more challenging to change that pattern. I was shy as a kid. Finding ways to connect with other people opened the door to many possibilities that would not have found me otherwise.
Thanks for posting. Here's to a year of positive experiences in 2010.
The more bike culture takes hold, the more stuck and and stupid they become. I'll say 1/4 of the people who ride in Chicago are friendly, confident and not too full of themselves. The others, well they suck.
Could be...just look at the photos people have chosen for their Chainlink ID... My informal survey shows that less than 1/4 of the people who post on these Chainlink discussions appear to have chosen a real photo of themselves. The rest have some cute or incomprehensible logo which reveals nothing. What's up with that? I don't consider hiding from the rest of us very friendly......1/4 of the people who ride in Chicago are friendly...
Clark, that is an interesting point. I had used a picture, then felt an odd pressure to change it to the "cute." Look for me to change it back to a real picture. Why hide indeed.