Author Topic: It's not rude, but not done either  (Read 10467 times)

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Isilleke

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It's not rude, but not done either
« on: June 13, 2013, 05:38:07 AM »
How do you handle something that technically isn't rude, but it does go against the social norm?

For example: today I was sitting on a mostly empty bus (about 5 passengers) when someone came in and sat right next to me. This was not a small bus, but actually the biggest one our public transport has (seats about 60 people). While I admit she has every right to sit there (and she could, I always put my belongings on my lap anyway), I did feel put out by it.

Is it rude to change your seat in case this happens?

I would also like to hear other instances that may not have been rude, but did leave a "why would you do that"?

MariaE

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2013, 05:54:54 AM »
That one happens to me on a fairly regular basis too. My guess is that they expect the bus to fill up and I look "safe", so they'd rather choose for themselves who to sit next to. I don't know... it's a guess anyway. I never know what to do either. I want to move, but feel it would be rude... though why I'm not quite sure.

A similar example is when swimming laps in the pool and somebody gets into "my" lane rather than picking a free one. In that situation I do just move. It seems less rude somehow - probably because it's A) less obvious. B) I don't have to inconvenience the other person by asking if I can get out like I would on the bus.
 
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Brisvegasgal

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2013, 06:25:58 AM »
I don't think you would've been rude if you moved.  I have to move away from people who are wearing too much perfume but I never explain why I'm moving because I think that would be rude.


TootsNYC

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2013, 10:07:57 AM »
I think you absolutely can move.

And if she notices and gets offended, then this is one of the ways that the universe is teaching her what the social norm *is*.

And etiquette does indeed encompass those social norms, and "it's just not done" issues. It isn't all about extreme rudeness.

WillyNilly

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2013, 10:17:06 AM »
I think it would be fine to move - I would have (and actually have) in similar situations.

But I also think it was rude of her to sit next to you. Not nasty, not inappropriate but rude for the exact explanation you gave, it goes against social norms. Etiquette isn't about actual rules of what you can and cannot do, its about the rules of what you should and should not do.

Marguette

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2013, 10:17:27 AM »
I remember reading many years ago about a psychology professor who assigned their students to violate social norms in a non-rude way. They had to do precisely what you described (sit beside a stranger on a bus when there were many other seats empty), and then report on what happened and how they felt.

Ms_Cellany

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2013, 10:19:10 AM »
I remember reading many years ago about a psychology professor who assigned their students to violate social norms in a non-rude way. They had to do precisely what you described (sit beside a stranger on a bus when there were many other seats empty), and then report on what happened and how they felt.

I read a similar thing (or maybe it was the same one), where a student got on an occupied elevator and stood with his back to the door, facing the others.
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Pen^2

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2013, 10:48:00 AM »
This happens to me a lot on the train. The entire carriage would be empty except for me (leaving for work before 6am will do that for you), and someone would get on, see all 59 empty seats, and choose the only one next to me.

It's not rude, just rather unusual. They've paid for a ticket and have every right to sit in any empty seat they like. It's not the particular seat I would choose in the same circumstance, but doing something differently from how I would do it doesn't make it rude.

Getting up and moving to another seat, likewise, isn't rude. You have every right to do so, and it doesn't infringe on their personal space, disrupt them, etc. anymore than it would if you were to get up from your seat to alight from the vehicle at your stop.

Of course, if you were to get up and glare silently at your neighbour, that would be rude. And the neighbour would be rude if they sat next to you and then invaded your personal space with their elbows. But sitting in your own seat as you would on any other day, next to another person, is not rude, even if you had other seats to choose from.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2013, 10:53:53 AM »
I'm not sure I'd be completely polite.  I'd be more like, 'Dude, seriously?  You had the choice of 50 other seats and you had to sit right next to me?'  And then I'd get up and move.

Although it probably wouldn't happen to me.  I always sit in the aisle seat.  If the bus is getting crowded, I will happily swing my legs into the aisle so you can get to the window seat but I'm not sitting there.  I'm mildly claustrophobic and sitting in the aisle seat helps with that.  Plus, I'm a large woman.  Most people don't want to sit next to me.
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Ontario

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2013, 10:59:29 AM »
I'm not sure I'd be completely polite.  I'd be more like, 'Dude, seriously?  You had the choice of 50 other seats and you had to sit right next to me?'  And then I'd get up and move.


I would totally say this.  A person who does this is creepy, IMO.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2013, 11:01:30 AM »
Glad I'm not alone on this one.   :)

And I'm really only posting because this makes 10,000 posts!  Does that make me a super-super hero?   ;D
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PastryGoddess

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2013, 11:27:38 AM »
Glad I'm not alone on this one.   :)

And I'm really only posting because this makes 10,000 posts!  Does that make me a super-super hero?   ;D

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MommyPenguin

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2013, 11:34:26 AM »
I'm not sure I'd be completely polite.  I'd be more like, 'Dude, seriously?  You had the choice of 50 other seats and you had to sit right next to me?'  And then I'd get up and move.

Although it probably wouldn't happen to me.  I always sit in the aisle seat.  If the bus is getting crowded, I will happily swing my legs into the aisle so you can get to the window seat but I'm not sitting there.  I'm mildly claustrophobic and sitting in the aisle seat helps with that.  Plus, I'm a large woman.  Most people don't want to sit next to me.

So, I'm curious.  Suppose that you *did* get up and move to another seat... and they followed you and sat down next to you again.  Is there a point in which it does become rude, and not just a violation of social norms?  Let's assume for the sake of argument that they aren't looking at you, don't smell, aren't doing anything else that would creep you out or anything... they just keep sitting next to you.

Giraffe, Esq

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2013, 11:36:52 AM »
I know in other public transportation threads people have been adamant that one should never put one's bags on the next seat, that one hasn't paid for that seat, that bags haven't paid for the seat, etc.

But, frankly, this situation is precisely why I put my bag on the seat next to me when there is a relatively empty bus/train car.  Some people don't get that it is against social norms (in the US, at least) to sit next to another person when there are plenty of empty seats.  Whether they're simply oblivious or whether they're creepy people doesn't really matter.

When the bus/train car is starting to fill up, sure, I can see wanting to choose your seat partner.  But when it's still really empty, nope, sorry, you don't get to get into my space.  (Yes, I understand that my personal bubble, by necessity, has to be smaller on crowded public transportation than I would prefer.  But to me, the operative term there is crowded.  Simply the fact that it is public transportation does not mean I must let you crowd me when there is no cause for it.)

MeowMixer

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Re: It's not rude, but not done either
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2013, 11:38:58 AM »
I sit rarely, but when I do since it's always busy invariably I'm sitting next to someone else for all or at some point of my journey, but if I were in an empty train car? I would get up and move. That's just creepy. And I never sit on the inside seat, last thing I want is to be boxed in by a creeper...