Traveling to a new and different country or city can be fun but also daunting. London, in particular, can be quite fickle in its acceptance of others and anything that goes against the London Tide so today I’m giving you a little bit of a help with a few pointers that can help you stay on the good side of most Londoners during your travels.
Moving to London In 2009 was an adventure followed by a long period of feeling homesick. I think a lot of my homesickness came from the odd feeling of not fitting in and feeling somewhat isolated. As an Australian, I was used to talking to strangers, making new friends instantly, living life sporadically and being invited to random social events. However, London and the UK is a very different kettle of fish. Here I have had to come to terms with the fact that most people I know seem to need longer periods of downtime and personal time, like to plan everything at least a week in advance and have a certain acceptable way of doing everything!
1: DONT STAND ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ELEVATOR!
No really…. this is serious! This might be one of the most important rules of them all and will be definitely one that you are most likely to be picked up on. Londoners like to shout and wave their hands in frustration when tourists stand on the left-hand side… well maybe in a more subtle way. The left-hand side is the fast lane and anyone on the left-hand side of the elevator is expected to walk as briskly as possible up or down the elevator. So If you fancy a chat with family and friends and are not in a hurry stick to the right.
2: Don’t talk loudly on your phone,
Londoners hate to be trapped on a bus or a train with a loud phone talker and will give you the stare of death. Instead, try to control the volume of your voice and if possible step outside or into a space where your phone call is less likely to affect others.
3: Don’t be too loud in general,
The Londoner startles easily at loud voices and sounds to the point where it causes them great internal pain and suffering. The Londoner is quite and overly considerate of others.
4: Lines…. Lines and more Lines,
Londoners and Brits in general love to line up. We line up for everything buses, shops, theatres you name it. It’s important if you want to fit in and be accepted by the local Londoner that you take care to spot the line and then politely step into the line ensuring that you do not push the people in front of you.
5: Personal space
It’s funny to think how over time even I have changed from being the outgoing very huggable Aussie to the somewhat reserved Brit. Londoners are not big huggers unless they know you well. They are socially quite reserved and although friendly are not so hands-on as many other cultures. Don’t be upset if your kisses and hugs are not met with the same levels of enthusiasm that you are used to.
6: Personal time
Londoners from my experience are very big on having time to themselves. This has been quite the learning curve for me as an Australian who is happy to hang out and socialize 24/7 however this level of socialization is generally frowned upon in London so if your staying with family and friends and your as social as I am it’s probably a good idea to pack a good book to read and let your host have a little downtime for themselves each day.
Yes, Just like lines Londoners like to make and follow rules, There are rules for everything! Try and follow whatever rules you notice and you will be fine. Unfortunately, rebels aren’t so well received.