The Nice Movement

By Londonist Last edited 131 months ago
The Nice Movement

This weekend column is brought to you by the founders of Niceties Tokens, Liz and Pete of Team Nice.

43. Tube guilt

I often experience a huge amount of guilt when I am travelling on my way home from work and someone I know from the office is on the same tube carriage as me. If I know them well I force myself to make contact but if I don't know them that well, then I have the awful reaction of pretending I didn't see them and burying my head in whatever reading matter I have to hand – either that or pretending I am asleep.

It's not anything to do with them – just me, I don't really want to talk – but the guilt has led me to do some exploration.

I got responses from over 50 people, and asked them if they were in that situation what would they do:

A) Pretend they didn't see them

B) Acknowledge them with a 'hi' but return to their reading

C) Say 'hi' and strike up a conversation.

As you can see from the pie chart above, only 2 people said C, 11 people said B and 39 people said A, although plenty of people said that this was depending on their mood.

One of the things I really did notice was (and it has to be said that this was more of an issue with women than men) was the language so many people that chose option A used: 'I know it's awful but…I know I shouldn't but...'

But if the majority of people are like me, then isn't it perfectly possible that the very lovely woman from my office on Wednesday that sat opposite me whilst I pretended to read the free newspaper all the way from one end of the northern line to the other wasn't really meditating? And if so can we both stop feeling guilty about it?

By Liz Akers

Last Updated 04 May 2008