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Old 09-07-2006, 03:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Sitting next to people on the bus

I don't like doing it. Simple as that. But what gets me is the way that people react if you don't take a seat that they offer, or if you get out of a seat when they sit next to you. Why do they ALWAYS get angry, or start laughing? I even had one woman say that I should have some sense beaten into me when I got out of a seat next to a guy that sat down. Mind you, she wasn't with the guy, she was sitting three rows away! But she spent the rest of her time on the trip loudly proclaiming to everyone (including myself obviously, though I never even responded to her) how I should be taken out somewhere and beaten up because of my reaction.

It was reactions like this that was one of the reasons I quit a volunteer position. I also quit going to a job because I was terrified of the kids on the bus starting with me.

Anybody else ever run into this problem?
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Yeah, I used to get quite paranoid when i had to get the bus to school and I have to get 2 there and then 2 back.

I used to think that everyone was staring at me when I got on the bus and when I was getting off which I hated.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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That's a ridiculous reaction from that woman. I've never come across anything like that. Usually when I get on a bus everyone seems to be going out of their way to avoid sitting next to people. For example if someone comes onto the bus and has to sit next to someone because there are no completely empty seats, they'll usually move as soon as one becomes available. Everyone does it. I've never seen anyone look offended or say anything about it. I'm sorry you come across people like that.
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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She's talking about someone sitting next to her, and then her getting up and sitting somewhere else.

I don't mean any offence, but I can see how that would come across as a bit rude.

But yeah, there was no need for that woman to have been saying what she was saying.
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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The womans reaction is just one of many examples of people being totally unaware of social anxiety and too ignorant to explore the possibilities of why the person got up and moved seats. Annoys me so much!
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Sitting next to people on the bus

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Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
Why do they ALWAYS get angry, or start laughing?
Because it is rude. I know that if I sat down next to you and you moved I would be offended. What do I smell? Are my clothes not hip enough for you? Is my race offensive to you? It must be my shyness and ugliness showing. I understand about wanting to sit alone but offending people is not the way to do it. If someone sits next to you just suck it up and deal with it.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I don't mind when people sit next to me, but I don't like it and find it very weird if there's loads of other spare seats.

Also, I'm terrified of kids on the bus starting on me too.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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hmmm......

I can see where people are coming from with the whole staring thing. I am conscious of it but i don't let it bother me. Im learning gradually to not care what people think. So the way I see it, who cares if people are staring at me. I do feel like getting up and headbutting him if its a guy at times but generally i feel ok.

Its the not caring what people think bit which we all need to try and achieve. Its bloody hard but it is achievable. Just practice on certain situations. A bus is a great place to think "right ok there looking but im not gonna let them intimidate me". See how ell you do. Youl get the hang of it in the end
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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When I take the bus I won't sit next to anyone since

A: I prefer two seats because of legroom issues.

B: I've come to some kind of ridiculous conclusion that people view me with the same mixture of fear and contempt normally reserved for high-profile sex offenders.

C: If there are several empty seats, I think people will wonder why I sat next to them and not someone else.

However, I sometimes get offended when the seat next to me remains empty, even though I objectively know that it's probably out of consideration for my 36" legs and because I place a bag on the seat next to me a la Agnes Skinner.

So this can be pretty much boiled down entirely to SA. And the opinions of people who loudly rant about others on public transport are hardly worthy of consideration.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I have tested myself to deliberately sit next to someone even if there are loads of free seats. Its amazing how people react! But its all part of my way of conquering my fears.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:23 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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This woman sounds like a complete nut, I wouldn't take her as an example of what could happen on a bus, she's a rare (head) case.
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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I have to agree with Kimberly69 here.

I too am uncomfortable when people sit next to me in any kind of public space. But if someone sits next to you and you get up and move, that is rude behaviour in society's eyes. There's no way around that I'm afraid. Now I'm not making excuses for the woman and her improper behaviour (she was being rude by calling you out publicly and thus intending shame, which IMO makes her a bit of a hypocrite), but I do fully understand why she would feel that way.

In terms of your specific situation, unless the bus was completely empty or the man was sitting way too close and behaving inappropriately, I would just accept it and move on. Whilst I'm the first to admit I know nothing about the severity of your SA, is it really so bad for someone to sit next to you for a little while? I don't think it is, and yes I do have SA. Besides, don't you think getting up and moving is going to draw even more actual and perceived attention upon yourself (which it did)? I sympathise with the frequent and obvious irrationality of SA, but I'm adamant that this is something to think about. Besides, most people are familiar with the 'laws' of sitting on the bus and will thus mind their own business and ignore you. Nearly everyone I've encountered behaves this way.

All in all, I feel that social etiquette trumps SA in this scenario.

PS. As an aside, I recently had a very strange encounter like this in a McDonalds restaurant. It was just after 2pm and I was eating my lunch when a lady came and sat at the closest possible table and the closest possible seat to me. This doesn't sound too bad so far, but the kicker is the restaurant was completely empty in the dining-in area. I was sooo uncomfortable. I have no idea why she did this. Completely bizarre. I managed to finish my burger and fries (all the while becoming incredibly self-conscious of my mouth and the way I ate), and then I high-tailed it out of there in less than a few minutes!
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:51 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Sitting next to people on the bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimberly69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
Why do they ALWAYS get angry, or start laughing?
Because it is rude. I know that if I sat down next to you and you moved I would be offended. What do I smell? Are my clothes not hip enough for you? Is my race offensive to you? It must be my shyness and ugliness showing. I understand about wanting to sit alone but offending people is not the way to do it. If someone sits next to you just suck it up and deal with it.
I agree. Imagine what it would do to your own SA if you sat down next to someone and they immediately moved. Personally, it would crush me. I already have an irrational fear that people dislike me as soon as they see me; an experience like this would simply prove it.
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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ya i dont like sitting next to anyone i dont know, ill usually put something in the seat next to me so noone can sit down
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Old 09-08-2006, 03:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misanthropy
In terms of your specific situation, unless the bus was completely empty or the man was sitting way too close and behaving inappropriately, I would just accept it and move on. Whilst I'm the first to admit I know nothing about the severity of your SA, is it really so bad for someone to sit next to you for a little while? I don't think it is, and yes I do have SA.

All in all, I feel that social etiquette trumps SA in this scenario.
In that particular situation with the woman on the bus making her comments, what prompted me to move away from the guy were two factors:

1. He plunks down next to me when there were at least four other empty seats close by.

2. He looks over at me and says, "Hi darlin'".

This guy wanted to start something, obviously. I wasn't going to have it, because I've had weird encounters with guys on buses before. That's what caused this phobia in fact; I was 19, and some old guy sat next to me on a bus that was practically empty, and proceeded to start rubbing up against my thigh. I've hated sitting next to ANYONE ever since. I don't like being touched by anyone in any fashion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misanthropy
Besides, don't you think getting up and moving is going to draw even more actual and perceived attention upon yourself (which it did)? I sympathise with the frequent and obvious irrationality of SA, but I'm adamant that this is something to think about. Besides, most people are familiar with the 'laws' of sitting on the bus and will thus mind their own business and ignore you. Nearly everyone I've encountered behaves this way.
Yes, I know that it draws more attention, but I don't get WHY it has to continue drawing attention for more than a minute. Like I said with that woman, she kept her comments going until she got off the bus, 30 minutes later. And on other bus rides, I've had people pointing, staring, and laughing at me ten minutes after I got up.

But you know what? They point and laugh and whisper even when I get on the bus and never sit down next to anyone. Ideally, I'll head for the back and try to sit down in the stairwell if possible. I don't stare at anyone. I don't say anything to anyone. I keep my eyes on the ground, and usually had a set of headphones jammed in my ears. How is it harming them if I'm not sitting next to them?

And why do some people get offended if you turn down an offer of an empty seat? I never insulted them when I refused. I would either shake my head or just say a quick "no". I never, ever looked at them so they could get offended by my face or my expression or whatever the hell else might tick them off about me.

I don't know. Maybe all of these people WANTED me to sit there next to them so they could insult me. Because whenever I have sat next to people, I generally get the same response. A sideways glare followed by muttering. There's only been two times where that never happened. And both of those people were asleep.

Screw social etiquette. They can't be nice to me. Why should I care if I offend them?
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Old 09-08-2006, 05:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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I have trouble with public transport. I don't mind buses here as you can find a seat without one facing it usually. It's trams and trains that are difficult where seats face each other - I can't stand it!
Well I feel it is a free world and you can sit/stand/whistle if you like and it's no-one else's business. If you feel uncomfortable you move. I've moved before and feel self-concious but have to block it out. I've sat uncomfortably before too and wished I had a book with me!
These people on the bus sound rude and unkind.
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Old 09-08-2006, 10:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
In that particular situation with the woman on the bus making her comments, what prompted me to move away from the guy were two factors:

1. He plunks down next to me when there were at least four other empty seats close by.

2. He looks over at me and says, "Hi darlin'".
Ew. "Darlin".

Yes, that is pretty weird. I would be freaked out and uncomfortable too, but I've never had anything like that happen to me because I'm a guy.

On a lighter note, at least you know your're an attractive woman! If a lady sat next to me on the bus (or anywhere!) and tried to chat me up, I'd at least know I'm somewhat desirable. Hasn't happened yet, however!

But seriously, I don't know what to say here. If he was obviously being sleazy I don't blame you for moving. But what if he was just trying to be friendly? Maybe he was lonely and wanted someone to talk to? This could be good practice for talking with people or something like that. Not every situation has to be a bad one even if it makes you uncomfortable to begin with.

Of course, I do sympathise with your desire to simply sit on the bus and mind your own business. It can be a shock when someone invades your little world. However, if someone is being chatty with me Iíll try and be polite even if in my head Iím screaming Ďleave me the **** alone!í

With that being said, I wasn't there. You saw and felt what happened and you trusted your instincts about this guy. I can't blame you for that! All I can say is that be aware your SA often triggers incorrect 'flight or fight' responses, and that anxieties can taint your instincts about people, so to speak. I have trouble with this too, and it is sometimes difficult to figure out if people are being nice, weird or inappropriate when all you want to do is get away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
Yes, I know that it draws more attention, but I don't get WHY it has to continue drawing attention for more than a minute. Like I said with that woman, she kept her comments going until she got off the bus, 30 minutes later. And on other bus rides, I've had people pointing, staring, and laughing at me ten minutes after I got up.
Well that settles it. That woman is a ***** who obviously gets off on intimidating and humiliating other people. I personally couldn't even conceive of making one little comment about you in the first place, but for 30 minutes? Wow, that's just plain bullcrap.

As to the other people, I don't know. As I said in my earlier post, most people are pretty reasonable in a public transport situation in that they keep to themselves. But then again, I've never seen someone stand up and move either. I don't know how most people would react, but I would imagine the majority wouldn't bat and eyelid.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
But you know what? They point and laugh and whisper even when I get on the bus and never sit down next to anyone. Ideally, I'll head for the back and try to sit down in the stairwell if possible.
I might look at you once or twice if you sat in the stairwell too. I wouldn't stare, but I'd be wondering why you were sitting there.

I don't know I guess I'd just sit next to someone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
And why do some people get offended if you turn down an offer of an empty seat? I never insulted them when I refused. I would either shake my head or just say a quick "no". I never, ever looked at them so they could get offended by my face or my expression or whatever the hell else might tick them off about me.
Some people interpret a quick 'no' and absolutely no eye-contact as an insult. Sadly, it all boils down to the social etiquette factor again. And if you're turning them down to sit in a stairwell they might think you are arrogant, or that you have something against their ethnicity or weight or whatever. Of course we all know this is not true, but that doesn't mean some people won't think this way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
Because whenever I have sat next to people, I generally get the same response. A sideways glare followed by muttering. There's only been two times where that never happened. And both of those people were asleep.
Did you ask to sit there? I ask a lot of the time and it seems to work out for me. Most people either say something along the lines of 'yes, that's fine' or an offer an uncommitted shrug. I take the latter as a yes. I've never had any troubles on trams and the like using this strategy. On the other hand, if it's rush-hour and everyone is standing and there's a spare seat, I'll just plonk myself down without asking. Hey, the seat is there to be used buddy! I'm taking it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maseur Shado
Screw social etiquette. They can't be nice to me. Why should I care if I offend them?
I too dislike the whole idea of social etiquette, but I do understand that it has its place. If no one was nice to anyone the world would be pretty horrible.

Personally, I just hate it how my life is a constant analysis of what to do in certain social situations. For example, I mentioned above my 'strategy' for dealing with sitting on public transport. I mean, what normal person has a strategy for things like that? I'm laughing out loud here. Most people just go and do it without a second thought.

Our anxieties really suck.

As to your last few sentences, and forgive me if I'm overstepping your boundaries, but you just seem a little jaded. Not that I blame you, because I am too.

But you must understand that not everyone is out to get you! I'm forever thinking people are staring and laughing at me, but I know this is irrational and simply not true most of the time. Recently I was convinced a group of teenagers were making fun of me and looking over at me at my tennis club. It turned out that they were looking at one of their friends sitting above me on a balcony.

What I'm trying to say is that it's very easy when you have SA to project your own negative thoughts onto other people, and so you resent them and react badly. I'm not saying you were wrong about your situation on the bus, but would I be correct in assuming you feel this way in other places too? Please remember that it's often just all in your head. I know it is for me, but, of course, that doesnít make it any easier to reconcile with the fact.

A little fact to end on is that I havenít actually haven't taken a bus since high school. The thought of taking one now is making me uncomfortable and evoking a desire to stay away.

Hooray for avoidance.
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Old 09-09-2006, 06:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I prefer no one sits next to me, but the buses here are usually crammed and I don't have a choice. I mostly mind when the person spills over into my seat or smells badly or just talks to themselves non-stop.
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Old 09-09-2006, 08:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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that's nuts that the lady reacted like that!!! i agree w/ some others, usually ppl on the buses I use (i take em all the time) try to avoid sitting next to ea other. some even opt to stand when there are empty seats by ppl. i've moved from my seat on buses when another one becomes available all the time & i've never been outwardly judged for it. others have done the same to me (& i'm always glad they did).
i'm a lot better on buses now than i used to be. sometimes i would sit on the bus on the verge of a panic attack. i think an older guy realized i was distressed & he handed me a note saying: "You are more beautiful than you think you are." w/ a smiley face on it. okay, the majority of me was like stranger danger but another part of me couldn't help but think that he could see how much pain i was in & knew something was wrong. maybe he wanted to tell me in his own way it was alright. guess ill never know. still kinda creepy though!
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Old 09-10-2006, 04:08 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Misanthropy
On a lighter note, at least you know your're an attractive woman! If a lady sat next to me on the bus (or anywhere!) and tried to chat me up, I'd at least know I'm somewhat desirable. Hasn't happened yet, however!
Let me correct you on this matter straight away. I am not attractive. And I was not attractive even more that day when he sat down next to me. I was forced out of the house that day and spent most of the day having to walk around outside in the heat. By the time I was on that bus, it was 6:30 at night, I was tired and sweaty. And it showed. That is never attractive, especially on someone who isn't attractive.

And just because someone tries to start up a conversation with you doesn't mean they're interested in you. If that was the case, then all of the women who ever tried to yack my ear off must be closet lesbians. Some people start conversations with strangers just because they like talking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misanthropy
If he was obviously being sleazy I don't blame you for moving. But what if he was just trying to be friendly? Maybe he was lonely and wanted someone to talk to? This could be good practice for talking with people or something like that. Not every situation has to be a bad one even if it makes you uncomfortable to begin with.
Generally, whenever a strange guy comes up to a woman and says, "Hi, darlin'" or something of that ilk, his intentions aren't just for a friendly chat. He's looking for something else. Which I had no intention of giving.

But I always get up whenever someone sits down next to me anyway. Doesn't matter who or what they are, whether they try to talk to me or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misanthropy
I don't know how most people would react, but I would imagine the majority wouldn't bat and eyelid.
That is true, most people don't react when I do that. But the ones that do are the ones that bother me. And what bothers me even more is when they keep on harping on about it. Or like the teenagers on the bus that kept harrassing me when I went to my volunteer job...I got hit in the back on two occasions by them, and I stopped counting the number of times I was verbally harrassed. I literally changed bus routes just to avoid them, which made it more inconvenient for me in the long run.

Quote:
I might look at you once or twice if you sat in the stairwell too. I wouldn't stare, but I'd be wondering why you were sitting there.
Okay, why is that? What's so fascinating about seeing someone not sitting down next to another person? Does it lie within that primate part of the human brain that fears anything different? I don't get it, honestly. I don't care what other people do as long as they stay out of my way. Why should they care what I do? Just because I'm weird doesn't mean that it's going to poison them or their children.

Quote:
On the other hand, if it's rush-hour and everyone is standing and there's a spare seat, I'll just plonk myself down without asking. Hey, the seat is there to be used buddy! I'm taking it!
Those were the times when I took the empty seat and literally couldn't get up the energy to stand for almost two hours on a crowded bus. I have poor circulation in my legs, so sometimes I have to sit down, even when I don't want to.

Quote:
As to your last few sentences, and forgive me if I'm overstepping your boundaries, but you just seem a little jaded.
You're hardly the last person to say something along those lines. It's not surprising. Actually, I might have "Jaded Until The End" carved on my headstone.

Quote:
But you must understand that not everyone is out to get you!
Enough people have been out to me get in the past that I just automatically assume there are always going to people who want to. It's a minority, but it's a constant in my life that people are going to hate me for reasons I never know about. You'd have to know my background to understand that, though. And this post is already way past too long as it is, so no explaining done here.
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