Author Topic: Asking for directions  (Read 2984 times)

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Venus193

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Asking for directions
« on: April 07, 2013, 11:03:52 PM »
This morning I needed to get somewhere in an unfamiliar neighborhood.  When I got out of the subway none of the nearby buildings had numbers on them, which is frustrating.  Rather than walk around unnecessarily I decided to ask directions, but it seemed that everyone I saw was wearing headphones and was mostly tuned out.  It then occurred to me to wonder whether it would have been rude to ask any of these people.

In the ten seconds after that I saw two women walking together and talking, so I asked them.

Would it have been rude to ask someone who would have had to remove his headphones to hear my question?

Surianne

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 11:19:40 PM »
I wear headphones pretty much all the time while walking around town or on public transit, and I am more than happy to give out directions if I know the area and can be helpful.  For me, it's not to keep people from bothering me, but to amuse myself with music and block out traffic sounds.

I think the secret is to catch a "friendly" person with headphones.  I usually smile at people and make eye contact, so I think tourists (or other people unfamilliar with the area) know I'm the one to ask.  If you can find someone like that, go for it. 

When I am zoned out, sometimes a person will sort of wave their arm at me, so that I notice and can take out my headphones.  I think if a person didn't want to help you, they'd ignore it and keep moving.  So maybe try to wave at them, but be sure not to get in their way if they're in a hurry or otherwise unable/unwilling to give you directions.

In general, I definitely don't see a problem with asking someone who has headphones on.  If they seem to be giving you "keep away" signals (walking faster, refusing to make eye contact) though, it's better to ask someone else.

reflection5

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 11:28:39 PM »
No, I don't think it's rude.  I've smiled and kind of waved to get their attention, then said "Thanks a lot."

Mental Magpie

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 11:57:10 PM »
I wear headphones pretty much all the time while walking around town or on public transit, and I am more than happy to give out directions if I know the area and can be helpful.  For me, it's not to keep people from bothering me, but to amuse myself with music and block out traffic sounds.

I think the secret is to catch a "friendly" person with headphones.  I usually smile at people and make eye contact, so I think tourists (or other people unfamilliar with the area) know I'm the one to ask.  If you can find someone like that, go for it. 

When I am zoned out, sometimes a person will sort of wave their arm at me, so that I notice and can take out my headphones.  I think if a person didn't want to help you, they'd ignore it and keep moving.  So maybe try to wave at them, but be sure not to get in their way if they're in a hurry or otherwise unable/unwilling to give you directions.

In general, I definitely don't see a problem with asking someone who has headphones on.  If they seem to be giving you "keep away" signals (walking faster, refusing to make eye contact) though, it's better to ask someone else.

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Luci

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2013, 12:12:09 AM »
We were on the Staten Island train and asked a young lady for help twice, each time she took off her headphones. I apologized effusively and she assured us no problem - she was just keeping herself company.  Earlier in the day, we just stood around being confused trying to read a map. A couple came up and just offered help.

When we in our own territory, we were talking to each other and kind of in a rush when we saw a couple of guys looking lost. Of course we stopped!

If someone were so involved in listening or reading, I wouldn't be offended if ignored. I just don't push.

How do you feel when someone asks you for directions?

Usually OK, right?

Just be respectful and polite - it usually works out.

Venus193

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2013, 07:04:38 AM »
I never have a problem with being asked for directions and if I don't know the answer I always say so and apologise.   However, I don't wear headphones when walking down the street, nor do I have a bluetooth device or wired equivalent for my cell phone.

SiotehCat

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 07:25:59 AM »
I wear headphones anytime I am in public. Mostly so that I don't have to interact with other people.

I would not have appreciated someone trying to talk to me when I have my headphones on. Even if its just to ask directions.

perpetua

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 07:41:42 AM »
I wear headphones anytime I am in public. Mostly so that I don't have to interact with other people.

I would not have appreciated someone trying to talk to me when I have my headphones on. Even if its just to ask directions.

Me too.

Most annoying is when the person starts talking to me while I've still got my earphones in as if they're not there; I then have to point at the earphones to make them stop, then stop what I'm listening to, take them out and ask the person to repeat themselves. Most times they look surprised or offended that I didn't hear them the first time. Well of course I didn't - I had headphones in.

I find it incredibly annoying.

SleepyKitty

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 08:48:54 AM »
I wear headphones partially to amuse myself and partially so that people leave me alone and don't try and strike up a conversation. However, there's a big difference between someone asking politely for directions and someone trying to tell me all about how Cthulhu and the Elder Gods will rise again. I don't at all mind taking out my headphones and giving directions and answering a quick question.

Luci

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2013, 10:30:37 AM »
I wear headphones partially to amuse myself and partially so that people leave me alone and don't try and strike up a conversation. However, there's a big difference between someone asking politely for directions and someone trying to tell me all about how Cthulhu and the Elder Gods will rise again. I don't at all mind taking out my headphones and giving directions and answering a quick question.

Thank you! That is what I thought the headphones/earbud use was all about. Now I feel better.

I would never bother anyone reading a book or using headphones on the train or waiting room; only people up and moving around. That is what I based my comment on. On the train we were getting ready to disembark, for example.

BeagleMommy

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2013, 10:34:14 AM »
I don't think it would be rude.  Most people will gladly remove their headphones/earbuds to answer a question or give directions.

csmithy

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2013, 12:37:33 AM »
I think about this sometimes because I often listen to headphones on the subway, and though I keep one ear "open" just for my personal comfort level, I still can't really hear you if you talk to me.  So I get people asking for directions or something who just start talking without checking to see if I can hear them - that kind of throws me a bit. 

I don't particularly -like- to be stopped while walking, but I have been a tourist and am still a newcomer in my current city, so I understand the need for people to be able to ask each other for help.  I don't think it's rude - I can just as easily say, "I can't help you, sorry" (with or without headphones) and keep moving. 

kareng57

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2013, 12:44:54 AM »
No, I wouldn't ask anyone wearing headphones - I'd assume that they're doing that so they will not be disturbed.

Thipu1

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2013, 09:16:47 AM »
No, I wouldn't ask anyone wearing headphones - I'd assume that they're doing that so they will not be disturbed.

One way to avoid the whole situation is to go into a shop and ask someone working there.  S/he will almost certainly be able to provide accurate directions. 

Calistoga

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Re: Asking for directions
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2013, 09:47:36 AM »
Count me with the "Headphones mean leave me be" crowd. I don't wear them often, but when I do, it's because I don't want to talk or be disturbed. I think since they're devices that are specifically designed to block out sound, it's fair to assume that the person wearing them isn't actively looking for conversation and probably doesn't expect to be part of one.