Talking to people in waiting rooms

@Wizzywig (7859)
April 6, 2010 10:40am CST
Today, I had a hospital appointment & I'd forgotten my book. A nervous looking man, probably late 60s/early 70s was the only other person in the waiting room so i smiled and commented on how much more cheerful the new building was. Within the space of 10minutes, I knew that he was waiting for his wife, what surgery she'd had, what treatment she was receiving, her medication, how many children they had (and the gender/age of the children), the condition his oldest son was suffering from (plus his height and weight)and that he had an appointment with his GP later today. When he'd gone, I started thinking about what information I'd divulged... and I realised that I'd said where I worked, the area i lived in and that I had 2 sons. This was all innocent small talk and we went on to discuss the weather and politics but it made me wonder just how much information we might give about ourselves in such unguarded moments. Do you talk to people in that sort of situation or are you someone who occupies the time in a more reserved manner?
6 people like this
19 responses
@ElicBxn (60895)
• United States
9 Apr 10
I do say the area I live in, but since I live in a big city, its still pretty generalized. I guess I don't worry to much about people knowing stuff.
1 person likes this
@Wizzywig (7859)
9 Apr 10
I suppose its just a matter of not telling the world your address, that you'll be away for the week & your door key is under the flowerpot! People pick up a lot of information but, since its just a casual conversation, I think most of them will forget it all as its not really relevant to them.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60895)
• United States
9 Apr 10
I have a combination lock for my front door, so I don't even have a key to get in it. I got it at first so that I didn't have to come home when the former roommate fell down and needed the fire men to pick her up, but I like it so much, I kept it.
1 person likes this
@Wizzywig (7859)
9 Apr 10
My mum's friend had one of those fitted after she broke her hip. You never need to worry about losing your key
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
6 Apr 10
I think that small talk is the way to go but I guess I rarely practice this! I suppose we do have to remain cautious as regards what information we disclose to total strangers! Still, it's nice to have a chat from time to time and I'm sure it helps to pass time more easily! Some people find it difficult to initiate conversations with total strangers and I am definitely one of those people. When I am sitting in a waiting room I normally look at all the adverts on the walls and if there are magazines present I tend to pick one up and start browsing through the pages! Andrew
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (102616)
• United States
6 Apr 10
I am more like you, Andrew. Although my town is small enough that almost anywhere I go I am liable to run into someone that I know. Then the visiting ensues.
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
I'm one of those really irritating people who can talk to anyone, for hours, without really saying anything
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
i don't usually talk to strangers. I usually mind my own biz. If someone asks me something or comments on what i'm currently doing or wearing, etc, that's the time i'll talk. And i mind what i say. I don't give away informations about me. If ever i said something about me, it's a lie. Lol.
1 person likes this
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
Hahaha.... so, does that mean you DO talk to strangers?? or was that the thing you said about you that was true
1 person likes this
• Philippines
6 Apr 10
Yep. Everything i said about me here is true. This is a forum and it's different from talking to an actual stranger. I only lie when i'm talking to a stranger in real life.
@airakumar (1555)
• India
13 Apr 10
Well, I really don't talk to strangers but yes, if they ask anything I reply very politely. In the places like hospitals, airports, stations, it is definitely that you are going to talk to strangers for any reason or they talk to you. When I am confused and didn't understand the way out, I will definitely talk to strangers and ask to help me even I have helped so many people to find out the exact way and I think wasting time is better than asking as they help immediately by telling you the exact way out which sometimes even the workers doesn;t help.
1 person likes this
@Wizzywig (7859)
13 Apr 10
I work in the hospital but, since its spread over a wide area, they are currently rebuilding and moving wards around from block to block and there are so many departments, I often cannot direct people to the right place. I usually refer them to the main reception where they have staff who can escort them.
• United States
6 Apr 10
I'm a tell all type of person! I do speak to people in waiting rooms and other situations like that where we are all just sitting or waiting for something. I think I am very personable and easy to talk to. As a matter of fact a lot of times when I am checking out of a store sometimes the clerk will start telling me all sorts of stuff. I wondered if I had a sign on my forehead that said "Tell me everhthing" or something!!
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
I too wear that sign I went on to have a long conversation with the supermarket checkout operator as she put my groceries through.
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
6 Apr 10
My mom can walk right up to anyone and just start talking and before a half hour is up they know all that is going on in her life,where she lives,and all kind of goodies.. Me, on the other hand, I don't like to talk to others when I am out. I am a keep to myself type of person. I mean if they say something I will respond but don't give out alot of information..like if they say nice weather where having I say yeah and that is it..I don't keep the conversation going really. I usually end up looking at magazines if any there. OR search through my purse for paper and pen to make out list of things I need to do or buy.. But that is basically face to face things I have problems with ..here on the lot.. I probably divulge more information then anywhere else in my life.
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
I have sometimes said more than I really intended to, both in the "real" world and online but I am usually quite cautious about who I tell about certain aspects of my life.
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
6 Apr 10
It is easy to give out to much information sometimes especially when trying to explain something or when your mad,sad, or a friend is needing your help to get passed something. SO I can say..Yeah I have given way to much info online..because in real life I don't have any real life friends(plays a little violin) but I have met some great people online or so I think...if what they say or how they act..is anything to go by...I probably said more thing then I can count on both hands that I will probably regret...
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
I think you're right. Having someone who listens and seems interested makes us more inclined to give them more information
@BarBaraPrz (20800)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
6 Apr 10
Sounds like the gentleman really needed to talk to someone. You, no doubt, lessened his anxiety greatly. You played the role of an angel. How does it feel?
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
You are either flattering me greatly or jeering a little. Forgive me for not being sure which - put it down to the cynic in me . I certainly have no attributes that would cast me in a role with any resemblance to an angel, I think it just helps to ease the tension for some people to talk rather than sit in silence. I find it very easy to talk to people... probably to the point where they really wish I wouldn't
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (20800)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
6 Apr 10
Neither flattering nor jeering, just speaking the truth. For those ten minutes, you were an angel. That doesn't mean you can't go back to being your devilish self until the next time.
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
1 person likes this
• China
7 Apr 10
Well,I should say I odn't like to talk with strangers so much.I seldom start conversations with strangers.And this has big difference when I am mylotting.But if someone talk to me at first I wouldn't refuse it .Anyway,I can get something unexpection results everytime I talk to strangers.
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
I talk to a lot of older people (yes, even older than me) at work and many of them have very interesting memories of past times - living conditions, how the town looked, the previous industries etc.
1 person likes this
• China
7 Apr 10
I think olders have precious experiences and memories.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Apr 10
Only if they talk to me first. I am way too reserved for my own good.
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
I dont think its a bad thing to be a bit reserved - at least you're not giving away all the family secrets
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Apr 10
If there were any!
@SViswan (12071)
• India
6 Apr 10
I am quite reserved. But if someone does talk to me in a waiting room, I reply without too many personal details. Well, how many kids I have and general stuff I might talk about...but not too many details...about the family ailments or address or anything else. Small talk, yes...but not as many details as the man gave you...lol. I'll probably try to stay away from anyone trying to give me as many details as the man did!
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
Well, we were the only 2 people there and it kept both our minds occupied whilst we were waiting. It was about 11.15am and he said he and his wife had been at the hospital since 8.30 !
@SViswan (12071)
• India
7 Apr 10
Well, I now understand why the poor man was looking for some company:)
@stanley777 (7177)
• Philippines
7 Apr 10
I talk to strangers when they talk to me or I just smile at them. But yeah, we always have to think before we speak and never disclose personal info to strangers.
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
I think some people prefer to be left with their own thoughts when under stress and others find comfort in passing the time of day, interacting with someone else. Mentioning the area I live in doesn't pin me down especially to someone who doesn't know my name and, the place I work covers a wide area - and has over 3,000 employees.
• Philippines
7 Apr 10
I tend to sit by myself quietly. I'm not one of those people who start talking to strangers, or start small talk. I hate small talk, and the feeling of having to start small talk and then keep up with the conversation. I usually try to cut small talk short too when someone tries to start a conversation with me. When i wait for an appointment in a hospital, I make sure I have books with me to keep me occupied. If i don't have a book, I try to look for something to read. Thankfully, there's always a stack of magazines lying around or newspapers at the hospital I go to. So no problems there.
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
The magazines were all boring stuff that i wouldn't read yesterday. Dont worry, if you ever find yourself in a hospital waiting room, I wont carry on talking once I realise its you
@anne25penn (3310)
• Philippines
7 Apr 10
I don't really bring a book when I have a doctors' appointment, no matter how long the wait will be. I sometimes find talking to strangers more entertaining than brooding over a book that I can always read at home. I guess I have a warm smile, and even if its not in waiting rooms, I get to meet people who tell me their life story. I remember my recent out of town trip and the bus ride was around five hours. I usually travel alone and the lady that shared the seat with me was a pleasure to talk with and I forgot how long the trip was while we were chatting. I have learned that she is a teacher and is going up north because her house needed some fixing to do. That her sister in California sent her two grapevines that hopefully will bear fruit by October. That she bought the house up north for her father, but her father is not living in it because he can no longer travel. While I shared what I did for a living, why I was going up north (there was a flower festival that time that I wanted to see) and why I love travelling at night going up north. The sad thing about this heartwarming encounter is that I am bad with names and faces and I can no longer recall her name and face.
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
I can rarely concentrate on the book but usually take one anyway. Most times I have to re-read it after. Its sort of nice to share another persons life for a few hours isnt it? Not in a busybody way but just for the companionship and being sensitive to other's feelings.
@hanyelin (125)
• China
7 Apr 10
yes i always do so ,so that i can feel happy , and it will feel not alone . do you think so ?
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
Yes, I do. I think you can tell quite quickly if someone would prefer to be left alone.
@olisaur (1932)
• United States
6 Apr 10
I'm a fairly shy person, no I don't normally like to start conversations with strangers. I think it would make me kind of uncomfortable if I got into a situation like yours.
@Wizzywig (7859)
7 Apr 10
If I speak to someone and they dont give much of an answer, I'll just leave it because I appreciate that not everyone would welcome it.
@GardenGerty (102616)
• United States
6 Apr 10
Several of my family members have that bubbling fountain effect and tell much more than they should. As a defense I tend to clam up rather brilliantly. I do not give away much usually, but do get a ton of information from those around me. I always have. I have been accused of having the type of face that people want to talk to and a good ability to respond.
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
In my job, a lot of people tell me a lot of things about themselves. Often because they are feeling a bit nervous or lonely. They also ask me about my life but I tend to stick to basic information and avoid anything too specific.
@besthope44 (12145)
• India
6 Apr 10
Well i am moved on reading this. That shows your kindness and responsibleness. Well putting ourselves in place of a worried man, and i would say you are so blessed on your service to that nervous man. I never faced such a situation, but for sure, i would render my small help to people who waits for their life. Thats a great discussion and great mankind! Hatss off!
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
I really didnt see it as any kindness on my part. It passed the time for both of us and there is no way I would have been so rude as to ignore him. I guess some people find it easy to talk and others dont. Luckily, we were both talkers
@coffeegurl (1470)
• United States
6 Apr 10
Maybe I have become crass and jaded, or maybe it's just the area I live in. I used to be an outgoing person who would talk to anyone about anything. Usually, people ignore me, or look at me like I have 3 heads, or comment that i talk too much. So, I just don't give a damn about people anymore. Now, I just act all superior like they do and ignore them.
@Wizzywig (7859)
6 Apr 10
I think I've got more outgoing as i've got older so, hopefully, I'll get to 90 and be totally wild (but still know what i'm doing of course) I strike up obscure conversations with all sorts of people. I dont care if they think they're better than me or not. Actually, I dont know how i get away with half the stuff I say and I will probably get smacked in the face for it at some point but I just smile and they think i'm joking.
@hora_fugit (5435)
• India
9 Apr 10
Strangely, I'm more reserved with known people. With strangers, especially elder ones, I am more talkative and responsive. Still I don't reveal too much neither di I have any interest in knowing so much about their world. Exchanging views is more appealing to me. That's why I am easier with old ones, they like to share their thoughts.. and experience. But if they want to tell me about their personal life, I'm still a good audience. If it's a good company too.