The 6 Types of People You Meet in D.C.
If you live in D.C., you already know we have a reputation. If you've come across a typical ‘D.C. type' or overheard a ‘standard D.C. conversation,' you already know where I'm going with this.
Here in Washington, we're known for our museums, monuments, and being a center of political power. But would you had guessed, we're known for our people?
If you've spent any time in this city, you've most likely come across one of these people. The beloved hipster can be found grazing on Nutella toast at Compass Coffee or A Baked Joint. You'll find the D.C. native pointing tourists in the direction of the Smithsonian, and the consultant buying a round of drinks at the Hamilton. This isn't just a title people it's a lifestyle. more than just a standard, it’s a lifestyle.
Here are all the people you'll meet in D.C.
“And what do you do?”
Savvy, young, and full of hope ‘The Networker' loves meeting new people. With a tailored suit and a beer in hand, they frequent local happy hours at places like Front Page, The Hamilton, Barcelona, Bar 201, and Kelly’s Irish Times. Whether it’s inquiring about new potential business opportunities or pushing their own agenda, networkers are extremely diligent. Keeping up with social apps like Twitter and popular sites like Meetup.com and Eventbrite are how these professionals keep their finger on the pulse of corporate happenings and free events in the area.
“Do I need to take the yellow line?”
Perpetually new in town, it will take the newbie years before they realize they live here. Whether it’s working an internship or an entry-level position, “The Newbie” is still learning the kinks of the city. You'll find them populating dance clubs like Fur Nightclub on K St or The Park at Fourteenth in NW, with a cran vodka in one hand and a new friend from work in the other.
Like the first day of school in a new place, being the “Newbie” can be intimidating in a city of go-getters who don’t necessarily have the time for the warmest welcome. Luckily the city makes it easy for everybody to find a home, you can head to BusBoys and Poets on 14th &V for spoken word and open mics or the complete opposite with The Prospect, a sports bar on U St for all your Washington sports needs. Go Caps!
The Post Graduate
“No, No, No…it’s Georgetown, NOT George Washington”
Unlike a typical college student, you rarely see “The Post Graduate” wearing sweats or a logo-emblazoned school sweatshirt. Dressed in professional attire, “The Post Graduate” comes to class with coffee and a notebook ready to discuss international Trade Agreements from last week’s homework. Trust and believe there is a big difference between Georgetown and George Washington University and their respective programs. In their free time, “The Post Graduate” focuses on networking with alumni and did I mention group projects?
The Top Secret +Poly Government Contractor
“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
“The Government Contractor” has said the above quote way too many times. D.C. is filled with these people working at very important 3-letter organizations. Most government workers spend their days going to meetings and telling people how much they can’t say. Be prepared to hear a lot of acronyms and opinions on the current administration during a conversation with a “govie”. Ready to discuss the debate? You can head to Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Tune Inn in SE or Off the Record in NW to talk all that is politics.
The D.C. Native
“I'm actually from here.”
Not a fan of tourists or outliers of the DMV area, locals try their best to avoid any Smithsonian or highly populated area. Weekends for many locals include visiting Eastern Market, Union Market or hitting up a festival on the Mall. You can spot natives listening to go-go music and talking about punk bands, like the Bad Brains and Minor Threat, from the harDCore era. These Generation X’s reminisce Washington’s pre-young professional government realm and appreciate the roots of the city.
“I only drink Himalayan coffee.”
Grabbing a coffee from Filter or Compass Coffee is an everyday routine for most, but for the Hipster, it’s a lifestyle. Most Hipsters in the DC area, when not sipping or brewing a coffee from their French press, can be found at places like “Cove” or “WeWork” supporting a Non-profit organization. They don’t drive but get around town on Capital Bikeshare or Lyft. You'll find them at any Busboys and Poets or Wonderland Ballroom with a Pabst Blue Ribbon or Miller High Life talking about the legalization of marijuana.
“Are you going to Horner?”
An iPhone in hand and Bluetooth earphones are immediate indicators of a D.C. commuter. The normal 9 to 5 starts around 5 or 6 am for commuters that slug from all parts of Northern Virginia and Maryland. The demographic of sluggers range from Government Officials working at the Pentagon to Millennials working at Non-Government Organizations. Unlike most Washingtonians, this group of people avoids all that is the city for the weekend. Going out? Maybe, but most strap-hangers tend to populate bars like Mad Rose Tavern and Don Tito’s in the Clarendon area.
The Future Politician
“Be sure to VOTE!”
Imagine the job you had working on the Hill was with the next POTUS. Politics in the most influential city brings many young enthusiastic future politicians. Shaking hands and kissing babies foreheads might be awkward for most, but for these new potential stakeholders see it's a life skill fruition. Most future politicians work supporting congress or his/ her senator. Daily responsibilities include attending endless meetings, coffee runs and consistently checking all social media for up-to-date news coverage. These “I know someone you can talk to” or “I can put you in touch with…” are best for getting you in touch with someone in the know.
“What is the value added?”
We all have that friend who needs the confirmation for drinks a week ahead of time. The analyst is that friend. There is no time for spontaneous events and happy hours since working for a highly motivated company calls for tight deadlines. Once you do get a chance to get together be prepared for every group activity to include a lot of vision and planning since work demands that level of quality; PLEASE NOTE: there will be itineraries! They strive to consistently deliver in life, friendship, and career. They are hardworking and extremely smart. To understand these highly motivated millennial influencers just know they love their job and it’s the most important thing in their life right now.
“I have to check my sources”
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Think of the reporter as the networker, native and defense contractor in one with a drop of crazy. Politics can bring mayhem out of anyone but just image covering the political debate while tracking the crisis in the Middle East in a city that is constantly changing. Most reporters can be found around town glued to their phones scouring the inter-webs for the next big story. They generally have a background in journalism and are very knowledgeable on national politics and policy. You can see them at Room 11 or Hank’s Oyster Bar near Capitol Hill skimming Twitter and conversing with a lobbyist on what drink to order next.
If one of these personalities is you, don't fret. While the “D.C. type” might carry a reputation, one thing that cannot be disputed is all these colorful characters make Washington, D.C. what it is– a cultural melting pot.
Illustrations of D.C. personalities created by Sonia Polyzos