Do you speak with people on buses and trains or just plug in the ear buds. If someone gets on a bus, sits next to you and starts speaking to you, would you assume they are odd. However are people getting it wrong. Listened to this last night https://www.npr.org/2018/03/19/594719471/guys-we-have-a-problem-how-american-masculinity-creates-lonely-men and its fascinating and well worth listening to all the way through. But if you skip to about minute 40 it speaks about just this issue. It reckons that nearly a 100% of people would actually be receptive if spoken to by a fellow passenger. Now ain’t that strange.
It depends if the person talking, like someone I met on a bus at Liverpool airport, was missing a shoe wearing a NHS branded jacket and blabbering that anyone who reads the Liverpool Echo is god and how he could kill everyone on the bus with a little blue Argos biro. If it wasn’t for the fact he could barely walk i’d have been quite concerned.
On a more sensible note, the last bus home to my area on a Friday night is a proper good laugh, it’s full of well oiled old gits that all semi-know each other and are cracking jokes and laughing all the way.
I’ve had various good conversations with strangers on trains. One memorable one with a guy who just made landfall from a month long surveying voyage on a dry ship. A bottle of vodka was drunk on their behalf during the trip.
I also ask strangers to put their phones/tablets in silent mode or to use headphones when playing games or watching videos. The reactions this generates makes me think I am totally out of sync with the world around me. (The world is wrong, not me. On this point I refuse to budge).
I don’t take busses unless an absolute last resort. Jogging home 6 miles after a night out is preferable to riding a bus around here.
The only place I try to strike up a conversation myself is when I’m flying long haul by myself. It really helps the journey and you tend to meet interesting people away from the tourist seasons.
I don’t usually initiate conversations, but I am receptive to other people talking to me. I have had some lovely conversations with some folks on trains and buses over the years. If they turn out to be a raving lunatic, I just shut the conversation down.
I talk to anybody, anywhere. I used to hitch hike a lot and my job is in export sales so I’m happy to chat with anybody and have had some fascinating conversations over the years. Recently I had an interesting chat on a plane with a young Rabbi who was on his way to kosher certify some food factories in Europe; unusual because orthodox Jews usually keep themselves to themselves.
On a train or flight I will acknowledge them and you can tell if they might have a chat or not. .
There is a strange law though, where people who you really don’t want to talk to once they get start, are the keenest to start and rarely take a hint of I’ll just read my book for a bit or rest my eyes.
Best and most interesting conversations have generally been on T bar ski tows. I can’t abide queuing and will always jump on the free space or invite any singleton behind to join me. Apart from reducing any queue, it’s surprising what a small and interesting world it is at times when you chat to people.