How To Avoid Social Interaction On A Bus

Talking with strangers on the bus is a great way to learn about the world, but sometimes you just want to shut yourself off. Wired has outlined some tactics you can use to keep the seat next to you empty.

Photo by Eli Duke.

Often you have no choice but to sit next to someone on a full bus, but when the bus is less crowded, Wired points to research published in Symbolic Interaction as a guide to keeping the seat next to you free:

  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Lean against the window and stretch out your legs.
  • Sit on the aisle seat and listen to music to pretend not to hear people asking for the window seat.
  • Place a large bag or multiple items in the empty seat to make it time-consuming to move.
  • Look out the window with a blank stare to appear crazy.
  • Pretend to be asleep.
  • Put your coat on the seat to make it appear already taken.
  • If all else fails, lie: Say the seat has been taken by someone else.

The tactics are certainly a bit anti-social, but they might come in handy if you really don't want to talk with strangers.

How to Use Psychological Tactics to Avoid Strangers on a Bus [Wired]


    How to avoid social interaction? More like how to be an a$#e hole who deserves a back handed b$#ch slap. Wipe those tears off your face while I throw your crap off the seat to the floor.

      True. Lifehacker editors need to get a clue... Another really stupid article.

    This is anything but a Life Hack. It's kind of sad that someone actually spent time to publish this article. I am guessing Thorin, that your friends were strangers at one point.

    Woah guys calm down :-P It is, after all, sourced to Wired, so I imagine your commends are directed at them really.

    On a full bus these would be a dick move. But when there are plenty of empty seats next to people, I guess these are just the best ways to have your seat picked last :-P

    What are they smoking to think that this is an acceptable article to print?? Why not title it: "How to make your country an unbearable place for people to live in"?

    It's great to see such a vehement reaction to such a dodgy article. As someone who used to spend 4 hours commuting a day (mostly on Vline), I'd suggest Lifehacker should commission a series of articles on how to be good commuter. I've met some fantastic people on my commute and surely that's a better lifehack than being an antisocial piece of work.

    this article has it all wrong. if you don't want people to talk to you on the bus just shit yourself, I guarantee nobody will want to talk or sit near you....

    you should change this article title to read 'how to be an a#%hole on public transport'

    Is this an actual problem that people are having? I've never once had anyone come up and start talking to me on public transport. Who does that?

    wtf is this shit

    You don't want anyone to sit next to you on the bus? Just move over to make room for them, give them a massive smile, pat the seat next to you and excitedly shout "Me! Me! Sit next to me!" You will be guaranteed a free seat and possibly even be surrounded by empty seats.

      I've found that making eye contact with people as they turn to walk up the aisle has one of two results:
      1. You make them feel a little uncomfortable and they don't sit next to you
      2. They aren't fazed and do sit next to you in which case it usually turns out they make a good bus companion.

      Is this what being human is now?
      Making an effort to avoid meeting people?

      Best way to stop people sitting next to you on a bus - Get a car.

    This article and its headline confuses avoiding social interaction with keeping a whole double seat to yourself. It's perfectly possible to avoid social interaction while sitting next to someone. And, as has already been pointed out, social interaction is rarely a problem people face. Most commuters I see aren't exactly seeking out conversations with strangers.

    If you do any of the things suggested in this article, YOU are what's wrong with public transport and you should feel bad.

    Really low article. We should all be encouraging social interaction; not discouraging to make people real jerks.

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