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How do you react if a stranger talks to you, especially at uni? watch

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    (Original post by Jake22)
    There is also the factor that in England, in general, the higher the social class of the environment in, the less friendly it is.

    Go to a posh area and nobody knows their neighbours or chats to people in the street that they recognise from their area but in a more average area, people tend to get talking more easily.

    I often wish that this country was more like the US in respect of people being more socially outgoing and whatnot. In some places here, people would think you were a wierdo if you went up to them in a pub and said "Hi, I'm Jake22"; or whatever. British people seem to only be able to socialise with strangers if they are put into a framework where they feel expected to do so e.g. in the context of university - societies and in their halls of residence.
    Well if you use your TSR username, I'm not surprised... :mmm:
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    ....we really are uptight...
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    (Original post by Tyrone Slothrop)
    Well I cant say I have particularly extensive experience, but when I was in Oxford for my Uni interviews in December (being an international applicant), and also spending about 10 days in London I did notice a few things that might be relevant.
    Firstly, I can very well recognize the brusque, unfriendly attitude you mention, encountering it numerous times when I was there. In shops for instance, people virtually ignore you, and shop assistants will often fob you of if you try and engage in any kind of small talk or banter. However, I also realized that people with this attitude are not necessarily trying to be rude, or even indicating that they don't want to talk to you, but merely giving a reaction to a social encounter that they aren't particularly familiar with. If you give people a little time to warm to you, and get over an initial mistrust, they can actually be very friendly underneath. I remember trying to strike up a conversation outside my college at the start of interviews with a girl who had evidently just arrived, and getting little more than a contemptuous grunt in return. By the end of the 4 days of interviews however, we were actually fairly good friends, and she turned out to be quite lovely.
    Conversely I also had completely opposite experiences, of people who were literally the friendliest I've ever met, such as randomly hugging me on the street having never spoken to me before, so not all English people are the same.

    Secondly, I found it helps if you approach groups of people rather than individuals. I remember very well that people were much more friendly and welcoming if I approached a group of them rather than tried to talk to them individually, which seemed to make people go on the defensive somewhat
    There is a system of social etiquette for conversation, particularly between different sectors of society that I haven't really managed to work out yet ( but you can tell quite quickly if you make a social faux pas, as a sudden awkward silence seems to descend upon the conversation, and believe me, I made some terrible ones) and if your a foreigner people don't quite know how to talk to you, or where to place you in the scheme of English society. Talking to people in groups takes the pressure of any individual to make sure they are saying the right thing, and being around their friends etc can make them far more relaxed than being on their own.

    Thirdly, the English (or so I found) stereotype people quite quickly, so if your from the United States, don't act like the stereotypical brash Yank, or you will get quickly pigeonholed as such (I am a kiwi but I don't really act like the typical Kiwi bloke.)
    Hope this makes some sense

    I consider myself quite an extroverted person. But I completely appreciate, culturally, that the US and the UK are worlds apart. It's odd, even for someone like me, who likes to meet new people and start conversations with strangers, I feel intensely uncomfortable when people start to speak to me out of the blue in a scenario when I'm not expecting it. I think the British are bred with an inherent and crippling social anxiety. If I had to analyse or comment on it by only my personal experience, I'd guess that, maybe here, people are comfortable in talking or interacting when the situation calls for it, or when there is actually something worth saying, or when the conversation begins on their own terms. I can't handle small talk. Give me something worth discussing and we're away, but when there is nothing to say, I can't bring myself to talk for the sake of it. I find it tedious and very aggravating.

    I think also we respect privacy a lot in this country. Just because I am sitting next to you on the bus, does not mean we are now 'bus buddies'. It does not mean that all of a sudden we are way more interesting to one another. I want to sit there, with my ipod, enjoying the scenery. If you are reading a book I like, I'm not going to go 'HEY I LOVE THAT BOOK TOO!' Because if you wanted a chat, chances are you wouldn't be reading, but chatting. I find it disrespectful. There is this attitude I'm sensing that those who WANT to talk, see people who don't as being insular and unfriendly. But see it from our side. Just because we have something in common doesn't mean you have to bring it up at the first opportunity. It suggests to me poor social composure, and more importantly: a lack of consideration for my feelings. Surely that is just as unfriendly! Only it's disguised by a mask of forthrightness.

    I think we can be fickle, sure. I like a chat with someone I don't know when I feel it is socially appropriate, when I feel I would not be bothering them, and they would not be bothering me. I think the US operates on the belief that nice people talk, and nasty people don't.

    Sometimes, it's ok to not want to talk. If I adore football, but you don't want to play football with me, does that make you unfriendly? No. Just means you don't like football.

    Talking is the same.
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    (Original post by bluesky42)
    Well if you use your TSR username, I'm not surprised... :mmm:
    Well, I get wierder looks when I say "Hi, I'm yournamehere"
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    (Original post by Neomaster121)
    What on Earth makes a man say "you look lovely"?
    The desire for sex.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Do you mind when strangers start conversations with you, or talk to you? What about if another student does it at university, and even if they are the same gender as you and you are straight?

    I'm finding it awkward because I don't know what the boundaries are in the UK. I'm American and back home it's pretty normal for everyone to just talk to each other, even in a shop the strangers or even the workers will be really friendly and start talking about life. At college (university) in the US, students will also randomly talk to you, even if it is a guy starting a convo with another guy... It's a pretty different atmosphere to the UK.

    Over here I've found most people to be pretty unfriendly. Even with people on your own course they aren't that friendly or welcoming.. I've still got my American way of doing things, so just naturally even when outside I do sometimes make friendly comments but reactions were most of the time negative, they wouldn't say anything rude back, but you can tell by their facial expression and body language that it was an uncomfortable surprise to them.

    So I don't really know the boundaries in this country as to what is considered normal. Back home most people are pretty friendly and it's REALLY easy to make friends actually, and I don't get dirty looks for saying hello or any other comments to strangers. :rolleyes:
    people here are just not nosey like Americans are, we can actually keep thing private and not let the whole world know about it with our big mouths
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    (Original post by curtis871)
    sounds to me like you were unlucky either in the people you met or the parties you went to. Were not all as bad as the impression you seem to have got.
    I should hope not
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    (Original post by Cicerao)
    Type of conversation people are not typically receptive to:
    *gentleman 1 is reading a book about English, gentleman 2 approaches and speaks incredibly loudly from 2ft away*
    Gentleman 2: "HEY, ARE YOU GOING TO THE GAME TONIGHT? IT'S SO KOOKY HERE. WOW, BACK IN OREGON WE HAVE THIS TEAM THAT I REALLY LIKE. YOU ENGLISH PEOPLE ARE SO QUAINT. WHY DO YOU GET IN A LINE FOR THE BUS? IN MERCA WE JUST GET ON IT."
    Gentleman 1: "..."
    Painfully true.

    OP, don't be an obnoxious American. Use your inside voice, please.
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    I've had quite a few occassions where ive hade quite nice conversations with people in art galleries and other types of exhibits and shopping (normally asking for opinions in changing rooms). As long as you dont act like a crazy homeless person and start shouting at random people then im sure people would respond and be civil. But you'd hardly get on a bus and expect to be bffl with the bus drivers and have a bus party afterwards, maybe people expect too much?
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    (Original post by GodspeedGehenna)
    Painfully true.
    I'm sure there are some Americans who speak at moderate volume...somewhere...unfortunate ly that example sentence was created from various real conversations I've experienced. :rofl:
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    (Original post by Cicerao)
    I'm sure there are some Americans who speak at moderate volume...somewhere..
    I've never met one.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Do you mind when strangers start conversations with you, or talk to you? What about if another student does it at university, and even if they are the same gender as you and you are straight?

    I'm finding it awkward because I don't know what the boundaries are in the UK. I'm American and back home it's pretty normal for everyone to just talk to each other, even in a shop the strangers or even the workers will be really friendly and start talking about life. At college (university) in the US, students will also randomly talk to you, even if it is a guy starting a convo with another guy... It's a pretty different atmosphere to the UK.

    Over here I've found most people to be pretty unfriendly. Even with people on your own course they aren't that friendly or welcoming.. I've still got my American way of doing things, so just naturally even when outside I do sometimes make friendly comments but reactions were most of the time negative, they wouldn't say anything rude back, but you can tell by their facial expression and body language that it was an uncomfortable surprise to them.

    So I don't really know the boundaries in this country as to what is considered normal. Back home most people are pretty friendly and it's REALLY easy to make friends actually, and I don't get dirty looks for saying hello or any other comments to strangers. :rolleyes:
    small talk are ok, nothing personal please
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    I completely agree with you there.

    I often feel a bit lonely / unsociable / find it harder to communicate with people from the UK in comparison to my original country because of this.
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    My theory is that because American's come from the Wild West where they had to band together to fight off the Read Indians then the had to be friendly to strangers. Because it is so spread out.

    Whereas the British who live so closely packed appreciate their privacy more because it is harder to get. And if they spent their time talking to everyone they met it would take all day.
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    Those sum it up pretty well, OP.
    • Welcome Squad
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    Welcome Squad
    (Original post by strawberry)
    I should hope not
    well i met a very friendly drunk brummie on a train on sunday night and a few sober friendly strangers on the other train and at a train station. I also met some less friendly drunks so you get all kinds around. Hope you enjoy your next trip here and find the people more welcoming.

    edit
    I'm curious what did you disagree about? There's not really much point neg repping then saying nothing i thought the point of a forum was discussion and the point of a discussion is to share views.
 
 
 
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