Yes, Londoners can be rude but they're not robots

Saturday, 30 March 2019 London, UK

Yes, Londoners Can Be Rude But They're Not Robots

After more than a year living in London, it's time to reflect on something so tucked away and taboo about Londoners that I finally feel like I understand: showing your emotions. 

Anyone who's visited London and braved the Victoria line to Oxford Circus will think that Londoners can be heartless and selfish (honestly, it's every man for themselves), soulless and indifferent as they stare determinedly into a space to avoid eye contact, headphones on and tuning out. I remember thinking, bloody hell, can't you all cheer up a little?! Don't even get me started on the people that don't stand up for others when it's clear as day that they need the seat more as well...

However, I started doing the same thing after a few weeks on the tube because I realised where the ridiculous front was coming from; sheer desperation to avoid any kind of awkwardness, embarrassment or inconvenience in such a crowded city with so many people craving to be anonymous.

Over the last year, I've found that I've been a lot more emotional than before and I find hiding how I feel incredibly difficult. I'm naturally quite open when I speak to people, and recently, I've been biting my tongue to stop telling everyone I meet about everything dancing around my brain. 

Yes, Londoners Can Be Rude But They're Not Robots

During moments where I've felt really emotional, living in London has felt repressive and if anything, makes everything much harder to manage as I have to hide my feelings so as not to look like a loony. This is because most Londoners spend most of their time holding back a portion of themselves from the public view, which is what makes them look distant and uncaring outside of the bubble.

However, when emotions do hit me in London, it feels more intense, I think because I'm not at home where I can see my family or Jack to let off steam. Last week was tough - I found out some really upsetting personal news, just as I was about to get on the tube. The last thing I wanted to do was sit among strangers on public transport and try to look normal. 

I started sobbing uncontrollably and it was terrible because I sensed the atmosphere change completely in the carriage. I finally understood that Londoners aren't robots, it's just that they get so scared to show their emotions that they freeze up.

There were so many eyes flickering towards me, full of concern, then quickly darting away, totally unsure how to deal with the situation. One really nice man leaned forward and asked if I was okay, if I needed help and reassured him and told him that I just needed space after the awful news.

I practically heard the rest of the carriage exhale, relieved that firstly, I was okay and secondly, that no one else had to embarrass themselves or risk breaking their cool facade to be vulnerable for a moment. I was left to cry in peace and I was calm despite the dozens of strangers around me. 

It's quite easy to pass off Londoners as rude and uncaring, and frankly, at times they can be ridiculously selfish. This doesn't mean they aren't emotional people though, and sometimes they'll even drop the mask for you. 

What's surprised you most about Londoners?

Photos were taken by my amazing friend Marc Tang Nian - give him some love on Instagram!

Thanks for reading x


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Thoughts by Fi. Design by Berenica Designs.