SINGAPORE: A Reddit user wondered out loud what many others may have been thinking, whether it’s “normal” or “appropriate” to talk to strangers in Singapore.
“Whenever I’m walking whether it be towards the MRT or a bus or even in my condo, I always try and say hello or at least strike up a bit of small talk with ppl I find interesting, it’s just my way of trying to be ‘polite’.
I think some may have found this a little weird and dashed off or constantly checked their phone or whatnot. I think out of all the people I’ve struck convos with while walking, one was actually receptive and asked qns back. I’m also trying to be more extroverted in the process,” wrote u/ThatAloofKid on r/askSingapore on Tuesday (June 20).
One commenter replied that talking to strangers is completely the norm in Singapore.
“Definitely normal to not talk to strangers. I think there’s a very high chance most people will assume you’re trying to sell them something if you randomly start conversing with them on the street,” another chimed in.
Others popped in to say that there are people who’ll talk to you in Singapore even if they don’t know you, such as insurance agents and people who want to evangelize others.
“Yes it’s definitely weird in Singapore unlike other countries. If someone randomly started talking to me I’ll probably feel weirded out and walk away. A greeting is fine though,” one commented.
Another suggested that if the post author wants to talk to strangers, he or she can try other nationals. “Filipinos and Indonesians are also friendly and love talking to strangers. So try talking to them in Singapore if you need some friendly stranger chit chat. Also Americans too of course. Singaporeans are way more standoffish.”
One offered this piece of advice: “If you want to be more extroverted, good for you. But probably start with people you meet on a daily basis first, ie neighbours, colleagues. Strangers likely wont be receptive. Theres a culture of just minding your own business here esp in public.”
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