Avoiding small talk with strangers

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jastel

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Each situation is different of course but I have met some great people on planes, trains and buses.
A good way to find things out about the place you are going to sometimes. I usually end up telling them more about Oz but...
Not been that many that I didn't want to talk to.
 

boomy

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I had some good conversations onboard with experienced FFs and I learned a lot of useful information over the years.
Since I bought NC headphones I barely talk to pax anymore, not that I need to after I joined AFF :)
 

amaroo

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Use to own/wear NC headphones but don't bother these days. I like to sleep, read or chat depending on the situation and seat buddy.
 

Mattg

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Depending on my seat neighbour, I usually don't mind a bit of a chat. I've met some very interesting people on planes. One that comes to mind was an Austrian couple on an EK flight. As it happened I was visiting their home city the following week and they invited me to stay with them. The next week I had a great few days with them in Vienna and am still in contact!

One encounter with a serial talker which comes to mind thankfully didn't happen on a plane, rather in a youth hostel. As soon as I walked into the room this old man started talking at me and after an hour or so it didn't seem like he was planning on stopping anytime soon so I made an excuse to leave and didn't return for quite a while. Eventually I had to go back to the room for something and he was still there, and still up for a chat. He didn't seem to understand social cues and even followed me when I used the bathroom - he would stand behind the door and continue talking into it. What's worse were some of the things he was saying, none of which deserve to be repeated, but let's just say he was quite racist towards Asian people. Finally I got a reprieve from his racist rants when two Chinese students joined us in the room for the night...
 

TomVexille

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I've had some really good chats with people on flights. There's even a few that I still talk to a couple years later. That said, sometimes you just want some peace and the NC headphones are brilliant for that.
 

Denali

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I barely speak to my own husband while flying other than to ask him if he wants half my meal but an interesting conversation I did have once was with a conductor of a symphony. Nice gentleman and interesting. Another time a FA was obsessed in knowing why two aussies was flying to Ohio and she even stopped serving other passengers to talk to us.

Otherwise don't make eye contact is my motto. Works for children as well.
 

Princess Fiona

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I don't avoid small talk with strangers. On short haul I won't usually instigate the conversation but if my seat buddy wants to chat I'm quite happy to do so as long as I don't have work to do. I have met many wonderful seat buddies this way.
On long haul I will usually have a bit of a chat whilst having my pre-departure glass of bubbly. Put on the headphones and zone out once the seat belt sign is off.
 

blackcat20

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I seem to have a habit of making friends with people in check-in lines and at airport gates. I've also met some quite interesting people on long haul flights. I also tell people that if they don't want to chat, feel free to tell me to shush....
 

rioter

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If you are male, grow out your hair throw on a pair of doc martins and make sure all your clothing is black. Works wonders for me.
 
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Strangest I had was a few years ago from HKG-SYD when my seat neighbour's opening comments were to advise me he was an insomniac ADD-afflicted conspiracy theorist. Interesting for a while, unbearable for the long haul without NC headphones and an uninterrupted flow of red wine
 

Happy Dude

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Small talk with cab drivers is best avoided. Many are professional in that they keep to their driving only. Radio on low volume helps and I frequently keep eyes on my mobile to limit chat.

Small talk not a problem these days in my experience. I literally cannot remember the last time I got in a cab that wasn't driven by an Indian who had a mobile phone ear piece in and chatted/mumbled to someone the whole trip. Professional is not a word that I'd use.
 

Happy Dude

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I never rule out a chat with seat buddies, long or short haul. I'm not a fan of headphones as I value my hearing too much (I think there'll soon be a whole generation of old people who've lost their mid-high frequency hearing), so a chat is a fine way to pass time. Plus, a stranger is just a friend you haven't met, apparently.

On my very first OS flight (BNE-SIN-KIX), fresh out of university and on the way to teach English in Japan, I met a girl already doing just what I was about to embark upon. She was a wealth of information, she showed me around Osaka, and we kept in contact for ages. Lovely young lady, very obliging. Strike rate has been far less spectacular since that flight sadly, but as I say, I never rule out a chat....
 

TomVexille

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I never rule out a chat with seat buddies, long or short haul. I'm not a fan of headphones as I value my hearing too much (I think there'll soon be a whole generation of old people who've lost their mid-high frequency hearing), so a chat is a fine way to pass time. Plus, a stranger is just a friend you haven't met, apparently.

On my very first OS flight (BNE-SIN-KIX), fresh out of university and on the way to teach English in Japan, I met a girl already doing just what I was about to embark upon. She was a wealth of information, she showed me around Osaka, and we kept in contact for ages. Lovely young lady, very obliging. Strike rate has been far less spectacular since that flight sadly, but as I say, I never rule out a chat....

I actually think that NC headphones are better for my long term hearing when I'm flying as whatever I'm listening to doesn't have to be at an insane volume for me to be able to hear over the drone of the engines. That said, I don't tend to listen to things at a volume where any passerby can hear my music.
 
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harvyk

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Small talk not a problem these days in my experience. I literally cannot remember the last time I got in a cab that wasn't driven by an Indian who had a mobile phone ear piece in and chatted/mumbled to someone the whole trip. Professional is not a word that I'd use.

I do kinda wish that taxi drivers would be banned (by their company) from having conversations on mobiles whilst driving.

I don't mind too much if the conversation they have is civil, but most of the time it isn't, and you're then stuck next to a taxi driver virtually yelling down the phone at whomever is sitting on the other end. If I did that whilst there was a paying customer sitting in my office, I'd be shown the door quick smart.

Don't get me wrong, there are certainly those in the industry whom do a good job, it's just more a case of half of them are letting down the other half.
 

Denali

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I actually think that NC headphones are better for my long term hearing when I'm flying as whatever I'm listening to doesn't have to be at an insane volume for me to be able to hear over the drone of the engines. That said, I don't tend to listen to things at a volume where any passerby can hear my music.

I have a secret. Often, when Im sitting there with my headphones on. Im not listening to anything. I have the noise cancelling activated but no music. I do the same in my office, it zones out the aircon noise and people leave me alone.
 

rioter

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I have a secret. Often, when Im sitting there with my headphones on. Im not listening to anything. I have the noise cancelling activated but no music. I do the same in my office, it zones out the aircon noise and people leave me alone.

With an added bonus of people assuming you can't hear them. Hear some strange conversations this way.
 

drron

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I am with PF on this.I usually wont start a chat but happy to do so.Unusual on a plane as I am usually sitting in a pair of seats with mrsdrron.What is this middle seat you are talking about?:p
Over the years I have had some very interesting conversations including a fellow heading up the company supplying CX seats,an Australian engineer who had patents on such diverse things as a half knee prosthesis and rocket engines as well as being a director of Lloyds.
One of the most interesting chats I had was with an elderly gentleman I met when I first moved to the Coast.one of my favourite movies when at Uni was 55 Days in Peking.This fellow had actually been there at the time of the Boxer Rebellion as an 8 year old.his father was the engineer in charge of building the railway from Peking to the coast.He later allowed me to see the teapot the last Empress of China had given to his father.
We have usually no idea of the interesting stories that are all around us.
 

snabbu

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Now we can have devices on gate to gate the only time my earphones are off is to speak to the FA's.
 

boomy

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Now we can have devices on gate to gate the only time my earphones are off is to speak to the FA's.

Some people don't even bother doing that which I think is rude. Even if I'm listening to my favourite song or watching a good movie, I always take off my headphones when the FA is talking to me, it's basic manners IMO.
 
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