U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-28-2013, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,429,233 times
Reputation: 1033

Advertisements

Part of the "unfriendliness" of people in large urban areas is simply due to how humans change their behavior in a setting with lots of people with whom they are completely unfamiliar. If you took someone from small town America who was the friendliest person you ever met - says hello to everyone, waives at their neighbors when they drive by, etc. - and put them in mid-town Manhattan or central London, they are going to change the way they interact with other human beings. You can't say hello to everyone you meet on the street in Manhattan because, if you did, you'd never get anywhere - you'd just have to stand still and keep saying hello.

NoVA is a large urban/suburban area. There are lots of people. It is simply impractical to greet everyone you see. And, because of this, people often become accustomed to generally not greeting anyone at all - they may still be very nice people and, given the right setting, could be very friendly, but it just isn't going to happen in settings where there are lots of other people that have no connection to each other. It's part of living in a large metropolitan area - it's not unique to NoVA at all. In fact, in my limited time living here, I would actually say people are generally friendlier here than some of America's other large metro areas.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-28-2013, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
5,086 posts, read 5,361,205 times
Reputation: 12586
If we were to cross paths, I would look you in the eye, smile and say "Hello" back. If you were a neighbor, occasionally I would stop and make small talk with you.

I am most likely sitting on the bus (or metro), relaxing with my nose in a book, newspaper or magazine (or Kindle) or playing around on my phone and don't wish to be disturbed. I am a friendly person but I am a little wary of strangers intentions when they plop down next to me and just start chatting away. I read so many stories in the news about whackadoodles, it's hard not to be. I wouldn't mind if you plopped down and said Hi, Hello or Good Afternoon and I will respond likewise. Anything more than that would make me uncomfortable - especially, if I'm traveling by myself.

Last edited by HokieFan; 02-28-2013 at 01:52 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-28-2013, 01:50 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,777 posts, read 10,684,964 times
Reputation: 2508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
I recently moved to an apartment complex in Fairfax VA. It's been interesting.

Recently retired, I wanted to give Fairfax County Virginia one more try for six months without the limitations of homeownership to tie me down to see if I can like it again with an open mind.

Generally people have three major complaints about Northern VA. (A high cost of living (no longer a concern with me), traffic (I am staying closer to home now that I don't commute) and the terrible unfriendly, cold, and egotistical people. (This is still an issue)

I suggest biking. Its cheap (well if you don't go in for all the fancy accessories). It gives you a good way to get around. And most of all, you meet nice people.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-28-2013, 09:44 PM
 
1,403 posts, read 1,849,370 times
Reputation: 451
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromGA View Post
In India where I come from, and I am guessing in most parts of Asia -- smiling or saying Hi to strangers is unheard of.
You would guess wrong. In much of developed Asia, people are the same as here. Urban areas tend to be snappier while rural areas tend to be chattier. Of course, that's just a rule of thumb. I've had a great deal of luck striking up friendly conversations with people in highly urbanized Singapore. Tokyo was not as chatty, but people were supremely friendly and helpful. Seoul and Taipei were in the middle. Absolutely the friendliest, most smile-prone folks in Asia were the Balinese, totally unlike Javans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
Part of the "unfriendliness" of people in large urban areas is simply due to how humans change their behavior in a setting with lots of people with whom they are completely unfamiliar. If you took someone from small town America who was the friendliest person you ever met - says hello to everyone, waives at their neighbors when they drive by, etc. - and put them in mid-town Manhattan or central London, they are going to change the way they interact with other human beings. You can't say hello to everyone you meet on the street in Manhattan because, if you did, you'd never get anywhere - you'd just have to stand still and keep saying hello.

NoVA is a large urban/suburban area. There are lots of people. It is simply impractical to greet everyone you see. And, because of this, people often become accustomed to generally not greeting anyone at all - they may still be very nice people and, given the right setting, could be very friendly, but it just isn't going to happen in settings where there are lots of other people that have no connection to each other. It's part of living in a large metropolitan area - it's not unique to NoVA at all. In fact, in my limited time living here, I would actually say people are generally friendlier here than some of America's other large metro areas.
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly.

Your first paragraph brought to mind a scene from the film Crocodile Dundee (the part where the protagonist greets every person while walking down a big avenue in NYC).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2013, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,852,182 times
Reputation: 42860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
I don't want hostility but instead a friendly repsonse
Su-u-ure. That's why every thread I've ever seen you start is a bashing thread with an underlying theme of "Gee it's fun to provoke people" Face it, you dig hostility. It's cool, Nova is a diverse place and we have all sorts of people here--we have room for people who love hostility, too.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2013, 06:16 AM
 
281 posts, read 630,114 times
Reputation: 364
I agree no one wants to be bothered by everyone they cross paths with. But you would think that neighbors or people you would cross paths with nearly every day would at least say hello. How about these NOVA Gems:

* People you share an elevator with nearly every day on your way up to the office that won't say a word to you for months.

* The next door neighbor who won't look at you even though you have lived next to her for 10 years.

* The man in the next cubical who acts like you don't exist for years until a reorganization makes him need some information you have, then he acts like your best buddy.

* The clerks at the stores who act like they are doing you a favor by checking out your groceries or answering a question.

Maybe its me, maybe I am coming off wrong, but I think the people in come in contact with here are cold and distant in comparison to the typical people in other towns. That is why I am redoubling my effort to be friendly just as an experiment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
Part of the "unfriendliness" of people in large urban areas is simply due to how humans change their behavior in a setting with lots of people with whom they are completely unfamiliar. If you took someone from small town America who was the friendliest person you ever met - says hello to everyone, waives at their neighbors when they drive by, etc. - and put them in mid-town Manhattan or central London, they are going to change the way they interact with other human beings. You can't say hello to everyone you meet on the street in Manhattan because, if you did, you'd never get anywhere - you'd just have to stand still and keep saying hello.

NoVA is a large urban/suburban area. There are lots of people. It is simply impractical to greet everyone you see. And, because of this, people often become accustomed to generally not greeting anyone at all - they may still be very nice people and, given the right setting, could be very friendly, but it just isn't going to happen in settings where there are lots of other people that have no connection to each other. It's part of living in a large metropolitan area - it's not unique to NoVA at all. In fact, in my limited time living here, I would actually say people are generally friendlier here than some of America's other large metro areas.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2013, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
159 posts, read 227,738 times
Reputation: 90
Interesting thread. You want to take a survey of responses from people you meet.

Things I can control - I occasionally worry about them.
Things I can't control - I am getting better about not worrying about them.

By all means, please be friendly & generous to people you meet for the first time, occasionally, regularly or life-long friends. Because that is about you.

Why are you worrying how other people will react to your friendliness especially strangers? You call them egotistical? I believe it is unreasonable for people to respond how "you" want them to respond. Others posters have stated very legit and plausible factors why they may ignore you. I apologize on behalf of everyone who chooses not to acknowledge your random act of kindness. FWIW, if we ever meet I will respond politely.

Life is short, enjoy your experiment and the rest of your retirement.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2013, 07:05 AM
 
57 posts, read 108,031 times
Reputation: 37
I talk to people all the time...bank clerks, people on the street, neighbors, etc. When we moved onto our street in a NoVa neighborhood, all of our immediate neighbors came and introduced themselves...some with cookies. I find people very friendly here - not everyone is friendly, 100% of the time, but people very friendly overall.

I hope your experiment results in some pleasant experiences for you!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2013, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Centreville, VA
154 posts, read 328,908 times
Reputation: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
I will report back on my progress? (Northern VA friendly retired man in his early 60s with an open mind)
Please do come back and let us know how it goes. I'd be interested even if no one else is.

I had to think about how I would react to such friendliness. I'll be honest: my reaction would probably depend on how my day was going/went. If I'm on my way to or from work - don't bother me. On weekends or days off, etc., I'll be a lot nicer.

It's probably sad but I frequently hesitate to chit-chat with folks because I don't know how long the conversation will end up lasting.

I usually say "Hi" or "Good Morning/Evening" when I walk past someone in our neighborhood. Or maybe just smile and nod my head. Or if they appear to be determined to ignore me or not make eye contact I just do the same.

Being a very busy person (ahhh... I know - who isn't...) I can tell you though why some people are reluctant to acknowledge anyone. Saying Hello or acknowledging another person who is lonely or bored can inadvertently result in a 10-15 minute one-sided conversation which a lot of people don't want to have. I'd be a lot friendlier myself if I knew saying Hello and making a few minutes of small talk would not result in having to rudely extricate myself from the conversation 10-15 minutes later.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-01-2013, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,429,233 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tired Man View Post
Maybe its me, maybe I am coming off wrong, but I think the people in come in contact with here are cold and distant in comparison to the typical people in other towns.
It depends entirely on what "other towns" are your point of comparison. Sure, compared to small town America, yes NoVA and the DC area as a whole is going to seem like a lot less friendly place than where they are from - at least on a superficial level. But, compare this area to other big American cities, or even other big non-American cities. Sure, I'm sure you'll find some greater friendliness in some other big cities, but you'll also find plenty of other cities where people are much less friendly. Personally, moving here from the Philadelhphia suburbs, I have found people to generally be much more friendly and I have also had a much easier time making friends than I did in Philadelphia.

But, my main point is not really whether NoVA is a friendly or unfriendly place, it's that human beings behave differently when living in large, urban settings - it's not necessarily that the people there are rude, nasty, and distant people, it's that, on a superficial level, they tend to stop doing some of the more superficially friendly actions. Think about it - you ride Metro everyday where you are packed like sardines with other people, you drive on clogged freeways in a car by yourself, you stand in a long line at the grocery store, etc. Then, you go home to your high density townhouse, condo, apartment where lots of other people who just had a day like yours live. You just get kind've used to not saying hello or making eye contact with others. Now, given the right setting, I think people come out of their auto-pilot shell-like mode and can become quite friendly again, but it tends not to happen while you're out checking your mail or walking the dog.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Virginia > Northern Virginia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:30 PM.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top