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03 December 2001 @ 03:21 pm
Breaking the ice and the clay...  
It's amazing to me how shy people can be, even in a group of people they should be at least a little more at ease with. In this case, it's art people.

I go down to the studio to work on my projects (yeah, still two in the works) and I'll see a student from another class working on something. We're the only two people in the room. He or she will be working away, as am I. However, not once has anyone talked to me. They look at me, realize I'm there, but completely reject the idea of even just saying, "Hi". Usually, I'll get fed up with the uncomfortable feeling of "There's someone I don't know in here! I'll close myself off" and look over and say, "Hey, what class are you in," or "That's really cool, is it soap stone?" Just something to attempt to acknowledge the other person. It might be a radical idea to some, but to me, it's just called being polite. Sometimes a person will be very glib or just answer me as briefly as possible, and I realize they'd rather not talk to me. Usually, however, there's just this burst of life. They explain what they're working on, how the material works for them, what their problems with it are, and a very pleasant conversation arises. I then no longer find myself working in uncomfortable silence, but in very easy, relaxed, shared space with someone else. I've actually made a few non-single serving friends this way. People I can look forward to seeing and talking to as I work.

I'm just amazed that I'm the only one who ever seems to think of it.
Mood: sleepysleepy
Music: Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Scar Tissue
Martincombinator on December 4th, 2001 07:20 am (UTC)
The social system in most places in the United States dictates that you have some reason to talk to someone before you do. For example, a guy who you'd never met before said "Hi" to you on the street might seem kind of creepy, but you might be able to write it off as some kind of mistake. If he said "Hi" to everyone he'd seem even creepier, even though he might simply be trying to be friendly. Maybe he wouldn't seem strange to you, though, but I think this is true for most people. Why is another question entirely, but it may have something to do with the media projecting the image that a lot of people are wackos and that you need to have some kind of evidence that a person isn't a wacko in order to have a reason to communicate with him. In the situation you described, because you have the established social context of working on the same project, you have a great excuse to start talking, but many people are stuck in this xenophobic mode because they have to be in it so much of the time. It's really a shame.
Mellen: Sad Fayeabsentmammoth on December 4th, 2001 10:53 am (UTC)
A shame for sure, since people could make more friends and possibly increase their happiness just by, in a proper environment, saying no more than a few words.