Author Topic: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others  (Read 7468 times)

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Girlie

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2013, 05:09:12 PM »
- In the South, the cities have had a similar culture to New England so far, with everyone going about their business and not being interested in small talk; whereas the country and suburbs have been closer to the Midwest, with the shunning of small talk seeming worse than engaging in it.

A very good Southerner would tell you that the reason for this is that the cities are filled with Yanks.  ;)

Where I'm from (a burb of Atlanta), small talk is not just how you spend your time - it's how you make your connections with people.
"Your last name is Smith? Are you any kin to John Smith?" is a very, very, very common way for a "small talk" conversation to turn.


JoieGirl7

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2013, 05:13:48 PM »
For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals.
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination.
We learned to talk.
And we learned to listen.
Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together.
To build the impossible.
Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking.
And it's greatest failures by NOT talking.
It doesn't have to be like this!
Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future.
With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.
All we need to do
is make sure
we keep talking.

-Stephen W. Hawking



jaxsue

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2013, 05:57:41 PM »
The only place I've been in the UK was N. Ireland. What was interesting was that several people approached me, asking if I was American or Canadian (I am both), and asking questions about my home.

Wild, sweeping generalisation by me here; but the Irish ("all shapes and makes") tend to be more outgoing than the English.

There's a big connection between Northern Ireland, and North America -- there has long been much emigration from the former to the latter, by folk seeking, in various ways, a better quality of life. The "religious divide" which seems to impact on almost everything in Northern Ireland, applies in this also: Protestants have tended to emigrate to Canada, Catholics to the USA.

That's kind of what I noticed (the Irish seemed more outgoing than the English people I met there). I loved it...I was ready to move to a small Irish cottage right then (okay, I know very few Irish live in cottages).  :)

My Irish Prot ancestors immigrated to Canada. Interesting history.

Eeep!

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2013, 05:58:42 PM »
It sounds like part of what's going on is that this man isn't just thinking "I would like to talk to someone, so I will try to strike up a conversation with the other person waiting for a train" but "people should talk to each other more, I will try to strike up a conversation and hope to be setting a good example." So he isn't just prioritizing his own desire for chat over the other people's perceived disinterest: he's evangelizing, hoping that if they once have the delight of small talk with a stranger while waiting for the Northern Line, they'll keep doing it.

I would be more sympathetic to someone who said "I've noticed something funny. I like talking to people when I'm waiting for the train, instead of just staring into space. English people are willing to talk, but for some reason I always have to start the conversations" and seemed genuinely not to realize that maybe that's because the other people would rather think about their plans for the day, or read the newspaper, not just because they were shy.

This is kind of what I was thinking too.  The man seems to have noticed a resistance to his way of acting and - rather than modifying his behavior - has decided he is the ambassador of joyful conversation.  It is this attitude that is rude, I think.  If he never had the realization that his way wasn't common and just happily tried to strike up conversations with everyone (my father does that - drives me bonkers!) then I would say he isn't rude, just possibly clueless.  Buy this particular person seems to have noticed some sort of pattern and made a conscious decision to butt up against what he himself has even perceived cultural norm.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

esposita

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2013, 06:30:30 PM »
- In the South, the cities have had a similar culture to New England so far, with everyone going about their business and not being interested in small talk; whereas the country and suburbs have been closer to the Midwest, with the shunning of small talk seeming worse than engaging in it.

A very good Southerner would tell you that the reason for this is that the cities are filled with Yanks.  ;)

Where I'm from (a burb of Atlanta), small talk is not just how you spend your time - it's how you make your connections with people.
"Your last name is Smith? Are you any kin to John Smith?" is a very, very, very common way for a "small talk" conversation to turn.

This has been my experience in the South as well. People down here seem to talk about anything and everything!!

White Lotus

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2013, 08:39:06 PM »
Oh, Menley!  I get this when abroad, too.  Some lost soul will spot me as somebody LIKE HIM/HER, and feeling lonely and isolated will plop right down and start in -- and I have more than one potential compatriot source to worry about!)  It feels desperate and grabby to me and makes me very uncomfortable.
How does one discourage the lonely and socially desperate when one is neither, and really, really, does not want to make a new buddy, go to the museum, take the bus tour, have a Bubble Tea, meet for dinner, go for karaoke, whatever?  "I'm on a business trip so I have almost no time to myself.  In fact, I have to get back now.  Have a wonderful trip, though," is my usual response, said while disengaging.  I am quite fine on my own in strange places and am not a particularly social person, but I can't help but feel very sorry for these people and never feel I have extricated myself quite gracefully enough!

veronaz

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2013, 08:49:56 PM »
The guy is just talkative/chatty.  So he feels people should talk more.  I donít see that as imposing his values on everyone Ė they can always ignore him.

And all Americans are not ďlike thatĒ Ė many wonít give you the time of day.

Iím not fond of generalizations about any group of people.

auntmeegs

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #52 on: August 19, 2013, 09:06:52 PM »
For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals.
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination.
We learned to talk.
And we learned to listen.
Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together.
To build the impossible.
Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking.
And it's greatest failures by NOT talking.
It doesn't have to be like this!
Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future.
With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.
All we need to do
is make sure
we keep talking.

-Stephen W. Hawking


I love this!  And i think its so true.  I guess I am surprised that so many people felt that the talker is the rude one.  I have always automatically thought the non talker needs to be a little less rude and more friendly. 

AnnaJ

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #53 on: August 19, 2013, 10:58:44 PM »
Oh, Menley!  I get this when abroad, too.  Some lost soul will spot me as somebody LIKE HIM/HER, and feeling lonely and isolated will plop right down and start in -- and I have more than one potential compatriot source to worry about!)  It feels desperate and grabby to me and makes me very uncomfortable.
How does one discourage the lonely and socially desperate when one is neither, and really, really, does not want to make a new buddy, go to the museum, take the bus tour, have a Bubble Tea, meet for dinner, go for karaoke, whatever?  "I'm on a business trip so I have almost no time to myself.  In fact, I have to get back now.  Have a wonderful trip, though," is my usual response, said while disengaging.  I am quite fine on my own in strange places and am not a particularly social person, but I can't help but feel very sorry for these people and never feel I have extricated myself quite gracefully enough!

Desperate?  Grabby?  Feel sorry for these people?  If you read the comments on this thread you'll note several people enjoy chatting in random situations, and I don't think that I or any others here think of ourselves as lonely or isolated.  Many people are social - you certainly have the right to discourage it, but wish you wouldn't make statements that insult people who do not behave as you do.

guihong

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #54 on: August 19, 2013, 11:55:17 PM »
Just to go way back to the beginning of the thread, I read the "Pub Etiquette Guide" and noticed that waiting at the bar in a British pub is about the only place where it is acceptable, even good manners, to become the Gentle Brontosaurus  ;D.  I mean, not glaring, tapping money, waving at the staff, etc., but standing pleasantly but expectantly and making eye contact.

Back to the topic: My dad was a world traveler after he retired.   His favorite activity in any country was to sit on a park bench and wait for someone to talk to.  In Asia, it was easy-everyone wanted to practice English.  He would have loved to do this in the Soviet Union, but tourists and "regular people" were highly segregated back then.  Australians were very outgoing; Europeans moreso in the South than the North; Scottish and Irish more outgoing than the English.  Holy Sweeping Generalizations, Batman, but he noticed some broad patterns.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 12:02:33 AM by guihong »



Psychopoesie

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #55 on: August 20, 2013, 02:57:54 AM »
For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals.
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination.
We learned to talk.
And we learned to listen.
Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together.
To build the impossible.
Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking.
And it's greatest failures by NOT talking.

It doesn't have to be like this!
Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future.
With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.
All we need to do
is make sure
we keep talking.

-Stephen W. Hawking


I love this!  And i think its so true.  I guess I am surprised that so many people felt that the talker is the rude one.  I have always automatically thought the non talker needs to be a little less rude and more friendly.

Nice quote - talking certainly helps in lots of situatons. However, a preference for not making small talk with strangers in public is unlikely to mean the end of civilisation as we know it.  :)

Not sure how being reserved, quiet, a bit daydreamy or simply preferring to mind one's business in public is unfriendly or rude. I may not like to make small talk with strangers but I will make an effort for someone who's a visitor to my city or who needs some sort of help (finding their way, for example). I'll also respond politely if spoken to.

Conversely, I don't see someone initiating small talk as rude provided they're sensitive to verbal and non verbal cues that indicate the other person doesn't want to engage. However, it does seem rude to keep trying to engage someone who'd rather not. Particularly if that person is a captive audience (sitting next to the talker on public transport).

When I travel to other countries, I do try to find out some basics about local customs. So I can be as polite a guest as possible while I'm there. For example, tipping isn't really a thing where I come from but I know it's a big deal elsewhere. I'd never skip a tip because "we don't do that at home". Sure. I may make some mistakes through ignorance. However, knowing *for sure* something isn't cool in the country you're visiting and doing it anyway does seem arrogant and rude to me.

Btw I'm an Aussie who doesn't fit the outgoing stereotype. :)

auntmeegs

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #56 on: August 20, 2013, 09:28:07 AM »
For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals.
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination.
We learned to talk.
And we learned to listen.
Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together.
To build the impossible.
Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking.
And it's greatest failures by NOT talking.

It doesn't have to be like this!
Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future.
With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded.
All we need to do
is make sure
we keep talking.

-Stephen W. Hawking


I love this!  And i think its so true.  I guess I am surprised that so many people felt that the talker is the rude one.  I have always automatically thought the non talker needs to be a little less rude and more friendly.

Nice quote - talking certainly helps in lots of situatons. However, a preference for not making small talk with strangers in public is unlikely to mean the end of civilisation as we know it.  :)

Not sure how being reserved, quiet, a bit daydreamy or simply preferring to mind one's business in public is unfriendly or rude. I may not like to make small talk with strangers but I will make an effort for someone who's a visitor to my city or who needs some sort of help (finding their way, for example). I'll also respond politely if spoken to.

Conversely, I don't see someone initiating small talk as rude provided they're sensitive to verbal and non verbal cues that indicate the other person doesn't want to engage. However, it does seem rude to keep trying to engage someone who'd rather not. Particularly if that person is a captive audience (sitting next to the talker on public transport).

When I travel to other countries, I do try to find out some basics about local customs. So I can be as polite a guest as possible while I'm there. For example, tipping isn't really a thing where I come from but I know it's a big deal elsewhere. I'd never skip a tip because "we don't do that at home". Sure. I may make some mistakes through ignorance. However, knowing *for sure* something isn't cool in the country you're visiting and doing it anyway does seem arrogant and rude to me.

Btw I'm an Aussie who doesn't fit the outgoing stereotype. :)

Well, Iím not saying that those people are rude, what I mean is that from the perspective of an outgoing person who likes to chat, my mind would default to thinking that the solitary, non-chatty people are the ones who have the issue. 

Yvaine

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #57 on: August 20, 2013, 09:45:17 AM »
Well, Iím not saying that those people are rude, what I mean is that from the perspective of an outgoing person who likes to chat, my mind would default to thinking that the solitary, non-chatty people are the ones who have the issue.

Why does anyone need to be thought of as having an "issue"? If both the chatties and the nonchatties are polite about it, then we just have a world with different personalities in it, and life would be dull if we were all the same.

auntmeegs

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #58 on: August 20, 2013, 10:01:48 AM »
Well, Iím not saying that those people are rude, what I mean is that from the perspective of an outgoing person who likes to chat, my mind would default to thinking that the solitary, non-chatty people are the ones who have the issue.

Why does anyone need to be thought of as having an "issue"? If both the chatties and the nonchatties are polite about it, then we just have a world with different personalities in it, and life would be dull if we were all the same.

On a regular basis I wouldn't think of it like that.  But the question was asked and I answered it from my perspective. 

menley

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Re: Talking to Strangers: Imposing your values onto others
« Reply #59 on: August 20, 2013, 05:08:01 PM »
Oh, Menley!  I get this when abroad, too.  Some lost soul will spot me as somebody LIKE HIM/HER, and feeling lonely and isolated will plop right down and start in -- and I have more than one potential compatriot source to worry about!)  It feels desperate and grabby to me and makes me very uncomfortable.
How does one discourage the lonely and socially desperate when one is neither, and really, really, does not want to make a new buddy, go to the museum, take the bus tour, have a Bubble Tea, meet for dinner, go for karaoke, whatever?  "I'm on a business trip so I have almost no time to myself.  In fact, I have to get back now.  Have a wonderful trip, though," is my usual response, said while disengaging.  I am quite fine on my own in strange places and am not a particularly social person, but I can't help but feel very sorry for these people and never feel I have extricated myself quite gracefully enough!

Desperate?  Grabby?  Feel sorry for these people?  If you read the comments on this thread you'll note several people enjoy chatting in random situations, and I don't think that I or any others here think of ourselves as lonely or isolated.  Many people are social - you certainly have the right to discourage it, but wish you wouldn't make statements that insult people who do not behave as you do.


AnnaJ, I think you've misunderstood. White Lotus was responding to my earlier post where I had specifically mentioned people who don't take the hint that you wish to be left alone (through headphones, reading a book, abrupt answers, etc). I think the "desperate" and "grabby" statements are specific to those people who won't take a hint (or a direct comment) that we wish to be left alone. Is that right?