Talking to others

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telstarbox

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There's a blog (londontalkingblog.com) where a bloke tries to strike up converation with strangers on the Tube, with some success. Do you ever chat to other passengers? How do you feel if others talk to you? Has anyone made a new friend/found romance from such a chance encounter?
 
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davelew99

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I have occasionally talked to people, but more often than not i come over all british and just as i'm about to get up the courage to say something, the other person gets off!

I usually try and interject if someone is looking flustered/stressed. I attempt to distract them from whatever is causing the problem (usually travel stress!)
 

WestCoast

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Yep, some strangers will talk to you outside the South East (:p), often with no encouragement needed! Or maybe I just look friendly...

I tend to see the same few people getting on at my station in the morning, so I have spoken to them about lateness quite a bit...:lol:
 
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trentside

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I don't normally initiate conversations with strangers when travelling, but if people want to talk then I've no problems (normally).

I take a different attitude when people look confused or worried about travelling, then I try and reassure people and help as best I can - did plenty of this when a service I was on was terminated short the other day!
 

newbie babs

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I do talk to strangers, why be bored on a train journey.

One of my good friends I met by sitting next to him on the transpennine Express 2 years ago.
I was going to Manchester for a prom dress with my daughter, booked first class and there was a seat next to him and one on its own so I sat next to him got my train book out and then for the next hour we chatted, he gave me his business card and we have been friends ever since.
He had a lot to do with British Rail and now has his own company and has a lot to do with a heritage railway.

We would never have met otherwise.
 

Mojo

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I used to commute on the once-daily CrossCountry service from Filton Abbey Wood to Bristol Temple Meads. There was a group of us who got on at Filton or Patchway and always boarded at the front of the train and we would talk to each other every day, exchange cards at Christmas/Birthdays and on my last day I was given a leaving card and we shared cakes on the train.

Sometimes my family and I bump into one of them at the Supermarket and say hello as well.

I don't often travel on this train any more, but when I do (I used it this morning to get back to Birmingham) I have a chat with the same old people and we often send emails to each other as well.
 

trainophile

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Coincidence, this thread. I was just thinking today, as I travelled on a Merseyrail train, that the five people I could see from my seat were ALL staring at their little mobile phones, and not a word was being spoken in the whole carriage. Ironic that mobile phones have killed the art of conversation!

Mind you, on a couple of occasions I have regretted responding to a conversational overture, as I've had to spend the rest of the journey listening to someone who loves the sound of his (usually a bloke I'm afraid to say) voice far too much.

Nowadays I try not to make eye contact as I don't often feel like idle chitchat, or wish to hear someone's tedious life story.
 

Minilad

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Coincidence, this thread. I was just thinking today, as I travelled on a Merseyrail train, that the five people I could see from my seat were ALL staring at their little mobile phones, and not a word was being spoken in the whole carriage. Ironic that mobile phones have killed the art of conversation!

Mind you, on a couple of occasions I have regretted responding to a conversational overture, as I've had to spend the rest of the journey listening to someone who loves the sound of his (usually a bloke I'm afraid to say) voice far too much.

Nowadays I try not to make eye contact as I don't often feel like idle chitchat, or wish to hear someone's tedious life story.
I think this is the problem sometimes. If you do start up a conversation you might soon wish you hadn't and in a packed train your escape route is very limited !!
 

trentside

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I think this is the problem sometimes. If you do start up a conversation you might soon wish you hadn't and in a packed train your escape route is very limited !!
If they're holding a can of Strongbow (or similar) avoid making eye contact or they might start talking. I once had a bloke ask me every 2 minutes to remind him to get off at Hykeham... when we were leaving Nottingham on an all stations working.

In between, he told me about fights he had been in, the various jobs he had been fired from, his family problems... etc... etc...
 

michael769

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The problem for me being in Central Scotland, is that starting a conversation with any male usually risks being asked which team I support, and then goes downhill from there.

I don't much like football - and that's without using it as an excuse to hate 50% of my fellow human beings.
 

Eagle

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I'm pretty much ASD; I have enough trouble starting a conversation with my closest friends, let alone complete strangers... :|

That said I did once spend the entirety of a Leamington–Manchester journey talking to a really nice guy who it turned out lived one street over from me about everything in the world. I recently shared a table with a holidaying family from China who offered me some weirdly delicious mentholated sweets. And once on a Friday evening 220 at Oxford, having been stood since Coventry, I finally got a seat only to realize I was sitting next to one of my professors (not quite as much of a coincidence as it sounds, as we'd clearly both gotten on at Coventry without spotting each other).
 

RJ

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Coincidence, this thread. I was just thinking today, as I travelled on a Merseyrail train, that the five people I could see from my seat were ALL staring at their little mobile phones, and not a word was being spoken in the whole carriage. Ironic that mobile phones have killed the art of conversation!

Mind you, on a couple of occasions I have regretted responding to a conversational overture, as I've had to spend the rest of the journey listening to someone who loves the sound of his (usually a bloke I'm afraid to say) voice far too much.

Nowadays I try not to make eye contact as I don't often feel like idle chitchat, or wish to hear someone's tedious life story.
Agreed, I really don't like it when people start talking. Don't mind answering questions, but some people really do bore me. Had to pretend I was interested when a couple insisted on keeping a conversation going with me on a train from Nottingham to Boston. I was on my laptop/phone but they didn't feel two ways about disturbing me repeatedly. One bloke on a bus decided to relay to me his career history since 1974, when he was a security guard on 50p an hour. This was at 3am in the morning, before he got to 1975 I told him "move from me." I had another one at a similar time, where I sat at the back of the bus and some youth started with "why did you choose to sit within 4 seats of me? I see that as a challenge." I gave him one look and told him "shut your noise up you fool" then just looked out of the window.

Many people will be too polite to tell you to shut up, but there are many more subtle ways that unforuntately, some people just don't pick up on. If I'm giving one word responses, exhaling heavily whenever you say something, smiling politely and/or playing on my phone whilst you're telling me your life story, it means that I don't have the slightest bit of interest in talking to you :roll:
 

stut

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It does make a difference when you commute on a route with a relatively limited service - you get to know others of the regulars, often chat, and even go for drinks on the odd occasion.

I also find myself chatting when helping people out, or if there's something in common. This week, chatting to a guy who'd got on the wrong train at Peterboghorror and to a cyclis who was wondering which sides the doors open at various stops.
 

Robinson

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I've sometimes ended up in conversations with people on trains for various reasons - I haven't yet made lasting friendships that I wouldn't have otherwise had though. I'm another one of those who gets it tough talking to people I know very well never mind total strangers, having aspergers and all that...
 

ReverendFozz

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I am more shy today then I was between 15-20, back then I would talk to anybody and for the whole journey sometimes, especially when on the ECML Kings Cross, I would go stir crazy sometimes.

I tend to not talk to as many people today, bit back in the day it seemed like everyone was my friend, once known, never forgotten and all that...

The OP asked about romance, I found a bit about 11-12 years ago when TPE was under the Arriva Northern banner, had a little romance with one of there trolley dollys, only lasted about 2 weeks, I rarely saw her so called it off.
 

SteamPower

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I get the impression some people would rather stand that have to sit next to somebody else, never mind talking to them...
 

wensley

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I will normally have a bit of a chat if I'm set next to someone or near someone on a quiet service, like last week I was travelling up to Middlesborough on an early morning TPE service. I was in the coach with one other chap and we had a good laugh!!

A few of the local regulars on certain trains know me and always exchange a few words, a couple of old railwaymen also stop and have a chat now and then.

One rare chat on the tube took me by surprise as a lass and her boyfriend struck up a conversation: turned out they were from out of London :D
 

Deerfold

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Went to Manchester for a day out several years ago and a few minutes before arriving at Victoria a girl by the door asked if I knew which side the train would stop. I said I thought so and was right. We were still chatting as we left the station and ended up wandering around together for about 3 hours!

If you get the 2318 Leeds - Skipton train on a Friday or Saturday you'll have to be trying not to be part of a conversation (or even sat on when the train starts up when it's full to bursting with a large number of inebriated people).

I commuted for 3 years from Taplow to Ealing Broadway (and changed to the tube). With a peak frequency of 2 tph many people caught the same one and there were about 5 or 6 I got to know well enough to chat to and know roughly what they did.

When I commuted from Hitchin, a much busier station, to Finsbury Park or Kings XI didn't get to know anyone that well though I occasionally saw one of my wife's work colleagues.

I commuted for 7 years from Sowerby Bridge to Bradford to get to school (and sometimes Bradford - Frizinghall) - knew a fair few people on those trains most of whom were at school (but not all mine).

Was asked if I was an undercover policeman by some people snorting coke on the 0136 out of KGX. They were talking about continuing their night in a club once they reached Hitchin. The things drugs do to you (If you can find a club in Hitchin to let you in after 0230 I'll be impressed)!
 

Yew

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I generally add in information if I know it, (like when I was on the EMT HST that was lent to EC, I explained that they had borrowed a train whilst theirs was being done up)

sometimes I have dissuaded a potential fare dodger that he wont get away with it, criminal records and £1000 fines usually get it, and the exclamations about it usually get the guards attention anyway
 

Strat-tastic

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I don't normally strike up conversations, but once on a train to my then home town of Norwich, I got talking to a lovely young lass who was also going there. We just seemed to click and get on so I enjoyed the journey somewhat :D When we got off at Norwich, walking along the platform she said, "Maybe we'll see each other sometime?". Me thinking, oh she means bump into each other round Norwich somewhere, I agreed and headed off for home....

D'oh! I always wonder now if she meant some romance to develop. Talk about not picking up on signals. Oh well....
 

GodAtum

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Living in London I never chat to anyone, even when the services are completely screwed. I suppose it would be useful to ask or tell other people about what is happening but no-one else seems to.
 
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Never in London. There's probably a railway bye-law preventing it.

In my experience, a sizeable minority of commuters have seemingly failed to maintain their personal hygiene to anything like an acceptable standard. Talking to them would only encourage them to think everything was OK.

:cry:
 

welshpax

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What about the situation where you wished you had spoken to someone but did not have the bottle.

Quite often, I catch the 05:40 Cardiff to Manchester on a Friday and at Abergavenny there is a woman that gets on each time I travel and always sits in the airline seat opposite, we have exchanged glances and smiles a few times but I have had the courage to strike up a conversation.
 
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What about the situation where you wished you had spoken to someone but did not have the bottle.

Quite often, I catch the 05:40 Cardiff to Manchester on a Friday and at Abergavenny there is a woman that gets on each time I travel and always sits in the airline seat opposite, we have exchanged glances and smiles a few times but I have had the courage to strike up a conversation.
Speak up when you've read things wrong and you will get a moment of embarrassment.

Failing to speak up though will ALWAYS lead to a lifelong regret and thoughts of "what could have been".

Just try something bland like "I see you quite a bit, do you work in Manchester..?". She'll let you know either way, and I dont mean about where she wroks!!
 

Oswyntail

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Never in London. There's probably a railway bye-law preventing it.

In my experience, a sizeable minority of commuters have seemingly failed to maintain their personal hygiene to anything like an acceptable standard. Talking to them would only encourage them to think everything was OK.

:cry:
Unless you started the conversation with "Do you realise you stink? I can recommend a good soap" ;)
 
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