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.