is london getting friendlier?
People chatting on the 505 bus? Surely not. Unless there's been a thaw in the world's frostiest city. Emma Cook tests the water; capital encounters
Sunday 14 April 1996
It's widely assumed that any stranger in the capital naive enough to attempt conversation with the natives can expect no more than a suspicious stare and a couple of grunted syllables. As one seasoned traveller explains, "I recently went to Pakistan. The people are so poor, and yet they go out of there way to be generous and friendly. I got back here and everybody seemed so cold and unapproachable." But developments aboard the 505 indicate there may be a change in temperament. Dominic Wells, editor of Time Out, believes London has become a far more friendly city in recent years. "In the Eighties, everyone looked out for number one," he says. "Now we're edging out of the recession and people seem more relaxed and optimistic."
To find out if this Nineties altruism exists at street level, I ventured out alone and willing to mingle. I asked strangers for help and ingratiated them in conversation. As a reserved London traveller, I came away reassured not only by other people's sociability but - more shockingly - my own.
On the whole Capital dwellers are receptive but, like everybody else, they don't enjoy being forced into a false situation - especially in crowds. Yet if you're relaxed and natural, there's every chance you'll meet new people. This doesn't surprise Wells, "It's really an extension of what's been going on already - the whole centre is getting much more user-friendly. The pace of life is more mellow. Overall there's a sense of civic pride again."
Life & Style blogs
Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
YouTube star Loey Lane hits back at hateful comments about ‘fat girls in bikinis’ and how plus-size women promote obesity
Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year, says study
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
iPhone 7: Force Touch phones are being prepared for launch, say reports
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...
£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...