Tube chat (or #tube_chat according to Twitter) isn’t a thing that comes naturally to Londoners, so we can only assume that the person who came up with the idea is from outside the capital. The suggestion that we should talk to people whilst on your daily commute is a new initiative (although it carries the Underground symbol it’s not actually an official Transport for London campaign) and has caused a bit of a fuss on social media this week thanks to the release of new badges that let fellow travellers know you’re up for a chat if they are also inclined.
Needless to say, the initiative has met with some derision by the general public who haven’t taken kindly to the suggestion they should be chatting a bit more. Don’t these meddling folk know the best thing about public transport is that you’re NOT expected to talk to anyone?? So if you’re very much in this camp and would rather stay in your own little world and continue to ignore the attentions of some well-meaning and some not-so-well-meaning people, here are a few things you can do…
Get Lost in a Book
For some people, their daily commute is the only change they get to catch up on their reading, whether it’s a paperback, eBook or audiobook. This time is precious, and if you want to further discourage someone from starting up a conversation, may we suggest being less than subtle about your reading material. We don’t mean read something a bit more controversial (although you can if you want to), but more increase the size of your tome. Someone not getting the message if you’re staring at your eReader? Get out a massive hardback book, preferably one that will cover your entire face so there’s no danger of making eye contact. You can stock up on your impressive collection using The Book People voucher codes, especially if you want to get a discounted price.
Stick on Those Headphones
There was bit of a ‘discussion’ on social media recently when an article was published about how to start a conversation with a woman when she’s wearing headphones, and people were quite rightly angry about this, because as anyone should know, wearing headphones is a sure sign that you don’t want to start a conversation. As mentioned before, audiobooks are a good option (you can get discounted titles with Audible discount vouchers), and of course your there’s your favourite music, but commuting is also a great opportunity to catch up on your podcasts. And if you’re listening to a funny one and start laughing out loud on the train, people might start to edge away from you anyway, therefore doubling your chances of avoiding unwanted chat.
Always Carry a Huge Bag
Admittedly, there’s nothing more annoying that someone taking up all the space on a seat with their bag (though not as anyone as someone who sits in the aisle seat and therefore block the window one), but if you’re finding you have a particular problem with a fellow passenger, hiding behind said huge bag might do the trick. But this approach could also create another problem – make your bag too big and it could create a talking point in its own right and could in fact be your downfall. Worth bearing in mind, but if you do want to upgrade your bag of choice, then New Look promo codes are a good source.
And as a Last Resort…
Be the person on the carriage that nobody wants to talk to under any circumstances. Whether that involves merely laughing uproariously at a funny podcast, or undertaking more extreme measures such wearing increasingly eccentric work clothes as the week goes on, then you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to avoid annoying that tube chat at all costs
Of course, you might actually be up for a bit of tube chat, and if this is the case, feel free to pick up your Tube Chat badge and key an eye out for fellow conversationalists. Just be prepared for plenty of Londoners to turn their backs to you or stroll very quickly in the other direction…
By Anna Scott, 30th September 2016