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Stranger Sits Right Next To This Man When The Tram Is Almost Empty, The Man Confronts Them About It
60points
1.2K
People, Weird5 days ago

Stranger Sits Right Next To This Man When The Tram Is Almost Empty, The Man Confronts Them About It

The famous statement “A person’s freedom ends where another man’s freedom begins” is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln. It is difficult, of course, to argue with the great president, but public opinion has come a long way since the middle of the 19th century, and now, in addition to personal freedom, we usually operate with the concept of personal space as well.

A classic example of personal space and its protection is public transport. Many years ago, psychologists noticed that strangers tend to take seats as far apart as possible when the bus or street car is completely empty, and only when there are very few empty seats do passengers begin to sit next to each other.

But the author of this post in the AITA Reddit community tells a tale of a not quite typical situation which recently happened to him, and his story has already gained about 12.0K upvotes and more than 1.3K different comments. And it is definitely about the invasion of personal space. So let’s just go in order…

More info: Reddit

The Original Poster took a street car and chose a seat near the window

Image credits: Janusz Jakubowsi (not the actual image )

So, the Original Poster took a street car, and it was almost completely empty, with a lot of empty seats. The OP chose a seat near the window when another man entered at one of the stops – and for some reason, he sat in the seat next to the OP.

Image credits: u/Unlikely-Strategy596

The OP was very surprised when another man entered the street car and sat next to him, though there were many available seats around

The OP was surprised and wondered why this person chose the seat next to him when there were about thirty free seats around them. In the end, the man decided to ask the uninvited neighbor about it. That guy indignantly replied that the OP did not own this particular seat, so he had the right to sit where he wanted.

Image credits: u/Unlikely-Strategy596

The stranger told the OP that he doesn’t own this seat and that he himself can sit wherever he wants

To this, the OP politely replied that yes, he does not own this seat, but he was just wondering why, in a generally almost empty street car, he decided to sit next to another person. To this, according to the OP, the guy responded in much the same vein as the first time, so the OP decided not to bring the matter to a conflict.

Image credits: Daniel Luis Gómez Adenis (not the actual photo)

In any case, the OP just got up and moved to another seat, because the situation, as he admits, was perplexing to him. After all, according to the OP himself, there is some unwritten rule in which, with an abundance of empty seats in public transport, people prefer to just sit alone.

Image credits: u/Unlikely-Strategy596

It turns out that the stranger just violated the OP’s personal space and he felt uncomfortable with this

Bored Panda contacted Irina Matveeva, a psychologist and certified NLP specialist, to try to sort out this situation. “Yes, there is not just an unwritten rule, but simply the personal space of each person, into which they are not very willing to let strangers in,” says Irina. “This does not even work at the level of psychology, but just pure instincts – each person will subconsciously allocate their own territory.”

Image credits: u/Unlikely-Strategy596

“And when someone invades this territory, we become uncomfortable, and we try to somehow resolve this discomfort. In prehistoric times, everything would have ended in a fight, but now civilized people are simply trying to get out of the discomfort zone by increasing the distance from the annoying person. So it really makes sense that the Original Poster just moved to another seat.”

Image credits: grassrootsgroundswell (not the actual image )

“In any case, it is perfectly correct that the man did not start a real conflict – after all, we have absolutely no idea why that person sat next to him. In any case, the invasion of personal space is too unpleasant, and the OP acted wisely, perhaps avoiding further trouble,” says Irina Matveeva.

Most people in the comments supported the OP massively, stating that he was completely right to move to another seat

The OP and many people in the comments agree with the expert, believing that such behavior breaks all normal conventions of public transport. According to commenters online, the only reason why this guy got pissed off is that the OP called him out on his creepy behavior.

Commenters also believe that the Original Poster did the right thing by trusting his guts and voicing his concern and what his one-time neighbor did was really weird. And the fact that the OP simply stated his disagreement with such behavior may well have saved him from further problems.

By the way, we have quite a few more transport stories that might interest you. For example, this post is about a woman who refused to give up a seat occupied by her daughter to a passenger who booked it in advance. And we, as always, will be very grateful to you for your comments on this very tale.

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What do you think ?
Sweetpotato314
Community Member
5 days ago

I had someone do that to me once at a movie theater. The theater was empty. It was an early showing, which is my preference when I'm going alone. This dude sat right next to me, like we were on a date! I got up and moved. So weird.

Gin
Community Member
4 days ago

Happened to me on a tube in London. I was avoiding eye contact, any contact, but then looked around in irritation. He was exposing himself. As I was the only other person in the carriage you can bet good money I bolted for the rapidly closing doors in a hurry! 😱

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7773989
Community Member
5 days ago

A Finn here. That is indeed weird and creepy, especially with the recent pandemia. I might understand that kind of behaviour in some cases, like if the stranger was someone with Down syndrome or something like that, an innocent one who does not necessarily understand the unwritten rules and just wants to talk to someone. But it depends on the situation.

deanna woods
Community Member
5 days ago

Has common courtesy become such a foreign concept to people that they now just act like complete jerks? There is absolutely no reason to sit next to someone on an empty bus, train, cablecar, or whatever. This person was trying to be a creep and when you called him out on it he got mad.

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Sweetpotato314
Community Member
5 days ago

I had someone do that to me once at a movie theater. The theater was empty. It was an early showing, which is my preference when I'm going alone. This dude sat right next to me, like we were on a date! I got up and moved. So weird.

Gin
Community Member
4 days ago

Happened to me on a tube in London. I was avoiding eye contact, any contact, but then looked around in irritation. He was exposing himself. As I was the only other person in the carriage you can bet good money I bolted for the rapidly closing doors in a hurry! 😱

Load More Replies...
7773989
Community Member
5 days ago

A Finn here. That is indeed weird and creepy, especially with the recent pandemia. I might understand that kind of behaviour in some cases, like if the stranger was someone with Down syndrome or something like that, an innocent one who does not necessarily understand the unwritten rules and just wants to talk to someone. But it depends on the situation.

deanna woods
Community Member
5 days ago

Has common courtesy become such a foreign concept to people that they now just act like complete jerks? There is absolutely no reason to sit next to someone on an empty bus, train, cablecar, or whatever. This person was trying to be a creep and when you called him out on it he got mad.

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