In a city as busy as London, which people move in and out of constantly, it’s probably no surprise that Londoners aren’t always immediately outwardly friendly to strangers. But it’s not hard to endear a Londoner to you. Sure, there’s plenty you can do to annoy us – but it’s also pretty easy to make us like you. Ultimately, most Londoners aren’t rude – we’re just in a hurry to get somewhere.
We took to Facebook to compare notes with our followers and, as usual, you didn’t disappoint. Here are the best of your responses.
Of course, we had to throw our own suggestion into the ring first, and kicked things off with the most obvious answer:
1. Keep to the right on the escalators
And plenty of people sure seemed to agree. Now, admittedly, this isn’t going to win you fast friends on the Tube, rather it stops you from swinging the other direction and annoying every Londoner around you. Standing on the left will result in glances, tuts, perhaps gestures, or even – horror of all horrors – a cleared throat accompanied by a ‘could I get past please?’ Oh the shame, the shame!
2. “Don’t talk to us”
Now, I know I just got done telling you how Londoners aren’t necessarily grumpy – but this was a pretty common answer. But then, we’re mostly talking about strangers trying to chat in public with us. We’re socially anxious and just want to listen to our music!
3. Keep moving!
It’s a busy city – we’ve got places to be. Stop dawdling on the sidewalk! In a similar vein was the suggestion to:
4. Get out of the way
If you are going to stop, or you are going to dawdle, at least move to the side. Don’t just stop in the middle of the pavement! If you’re courteous enough to know that you should probably move to a less obtrusive place when you stop, trust me – we’ll notice.
5. Have your card/payment/ticket ready ahead of time
Whether it’s on the Tube, getting on the bus, or catching a national rail train, just make sure you’re ready ahead of time. It might not seem like much time wasted in front of the barrier to you, but if everyone paused at the turnstiles we’d be waiting for whole minutes. MINUTES!
6. Don’t invite us to meet anywhere that is particularly touristy or expensive
We’ve already been there, done that, and likely it wasn’t worth the hassle, crowd, or cost. We also might be able to suggest something similar that doesn’t make our souls die by forcing us to go to Central London.
7. Buy us a drink
It’s no secret that us Londoners love a drink, but it’s also a pretty universal way to make someone like you! Whether it’s supporting your part of the round, or just offering to shout us a drink, we’ll be making goo-goo eyes at you over the top of our glass. When you’re not looking at us, of course.
8. Explore London with us – don’t expect us to be a walking guide
Now this is actually a great point! London is so vast, and even those who have lived here for decades will still find things to be surprised by everyday. So explore the city with us when you come to visit us – let’s learn about London together. You’re going to Central by yourself, though (we refer you back to entry number 6 on this list).
9. Don’t walk three in a row down the street
If the people walking in the opposite direction need to walk in the road to get past you and your mates, you’re doing something wrong. A bit of courtesy and consideration goes a long way in London. You don’t really need to be taking up the whole pavement.
10. Respect other people’s peculiarities
London is a vast, diverse city full of all sorts of people. And one of the best things about London is you’re free to be whoever you want here – and meet other people that are similar to you! If you come to London and start judging us for expressing ourselves, well, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we won’t like you at that point.
11. No eye contact
Similar to the ‘no talking’ suggestion – eye contact in London is akin to a deer being caught in the headlights. We’re all just trying to go about our day, but when we lock eyes with someone we lose all ability to function and start shaking with fear. Best just to avoid it!
12. Don’t ask for directions
Honestly, we probably don’t know where it is either. Download Citymapper like the rest of us (but never be caught actually looking at it, only ever glance at it to make sure you’re going the right way!)
13. Avoid walking in the cycle lane
This is as much for your own safety as to make a Londoner like you. Some of those lycra-clad cyclists are positively zooming down the lanes, and you could get seriously hurt!
14. Let people off the Tube before you try to get on
Next time you’re trying to exit a Tube carriage on a busy journey, you’ll definitely recognise the people who do this as true saints. They hold the crowds at bay by standing next to the doors to allow people to file out before cramming themselves into the carriage. It’s an essential bit of tube etiquette.
15. Keep the suitcases off public transport during busy periods
Look, these trains and buses get BUSY. And it’s not helped by a massive suitcase taking up space that could fit at least three Londoners who just want to get home.
16. Be nice
Sounds simple? That’s because it is. But a bit of cheer can go a long way in London. Maybe we’re grumpy because you treated us assuming that we would be grumpy…
17. Be confident going to the bar
We’re all here for the same reason, there’s no need to be timid approaching the bar. After all, it’s their job to help you. Know what you’re ordering, approach the bar when ready, and you’re sorted (and making the process faster for everyone else!)
18. Don’t press the open door button on the Tube
It doesn’t do anything. And then you’ll have to live with the shame of having pressed a button that didn’t do anything – the most shameful shame of all!
19. Put your litter in the bin
There’s a bin every ten steps in London. You haven’t got any excuse to throw your rubbish on the ground. And even if you can’t see one nearby, just hold on to it until you find one. It’s just good manners.
20. Get us into a fully-booked restaurant
The absolute, no-fault method to our heart. If you can get us into that restaurant we’ve been dying to go to for months, without being able to get reservations, we’ll adore you forever. Bonus point if you then pick up the bill!
21. Stand to the right on escalators!
Yes, we’re saying it again. But it bears repeating for just how many people suggested it! It’s an essential part of London life – a single rule that coheres all of the sensibilities and practicalities of the other suggestions into one: considerate behaviour, not stopping where you shouldn’t stop, respect, politeness, and not having to talk (by asking you to move). It’s the golden rule of London!