EOTistatron wrote:*Generic "this comic was good/funny/relevant to my interests/life" post*
That and sitting down next to someone who you don't really know well enough to have a conversation with, but still feeling obligated to acknowledge them. That, I imagine, goes back to the ritualistic aspects involved: you need to make sure that they realize that you're not being rude, despite them likely feeling the same way.
Of course, you could
get to know them a little, and then have an actual conversation. Surely it's not more awkward than utterly failing to communicate. Plus, I think people maybe find out about other people that way.
Not that I actually do this, but it seems to make sense, and I think I'll start. Sitting awkwardly near someone, and being uncomfortable because you don't know them, is so easily fixed. I realize that being silently uncomfortable may be part of this culture's protocol, but it's a bad one. People are isolated enough as it is, because occupational specialization draws people into tiny little social niches and doesn't encourage them to mix.
Being too uncomfortable to speak to others is, now that I think about it, mildly insane. It creates extra isolation, and it gives you a chance to fear and fail in every social context. It, perhaps, leaves you dried up inside. It's spiritual desiccant.
So, if members of our culture as a whole doesn't know how to handle speaking to random strangers, then I'm going to start making the tiny changes in my day-to-day life so as to fix it locally. Once I've gotten good at this, a few people might catch on. Social hacking, while improving my own life and the lives of random strangers. Who's with me?
I mean, uh, *spot on*.