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Something Strange with Sydney

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31. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 8y

Hmm, this thread is starting to get out of hand. phil767, I'd suggest that if you have something to say, it is probably best to just say it rather than let everyone speculate. If it's inflammatory, then this thread really serves no purpose.

As for the interpretation of Australians as being rude; personally I just think this is something that travellers are more likely to feel when they are visiting a new place. Because you are constantly interpreting your new surroundings and the new people around you and because you are trying to make new friends, it is easy to consider the locals as being rude. When you are at home, you have less need for that kindness from strangers, therefore you don't really stop to think about it.

As for Sydney - one thing I found about Sydney is that it seems every other person is a tourist. That makes it kind of hard to judge the actual locals. The ones I've met though have always been pleasant.

Well, that's just my interpretation. On the whole, I've found Australians a very welcoming and warm people in the 11 or so years I've spent here so far! Although they are also VERY diverse, owing to the many nationalities they are made up of.

32. Posted by Yeah (Budding Member 67 posts) 8y

Didnt find Sydney more rude than any other citys that size, but i found for example Brisbane a lot more friendly. Even though i like Sydney better over all. I found small town Australia to be separated into two groups, the super friendly and the hillbilly rednecks.

33. Posted by phil767 (Budding Member 54 posts) 8y

Sorry Admin for sounding bad. I am just feeling it here...It's just hard for me to make friends that's all...I get alot of mixed messages.... To picture me...I went to NYC last year on my own...I was in central park and when I ask for directions they just walk off...Now I did think it rude to begin with...But I found out why they did this 2 days later...When tramps who look normal and start chatting then start getting mad and asking for money...
Now I've been in sydney for 1 month and it is worse than that...It's just strange why people dont smile at people on the streets or the customer service people not even saying hello but looking at you as if it's only the fruit and veg that are allowed in the store and that money is the only thing that should be chatting to them.

Test..Try this..Go into 100 different shops and ask for help and say sorry I didnt know I'm not from around here...80% will go ok...I say bye they dont...then I turn my head and they are laughing about me to each other this has happened around 100 times because I have needed help that often.

I even went back and asked for their manage...In fact i said to one as I was fuming...why do people not smile here...She said for health reasons!!!! I mean What? and then they laughed at me when I left... Noone likes being nice

BUT It's not all bad like i said 30% are fine but I keep my head down in the street because I get stressed at peoples dirty looks when I just smile.

Oh I had some person who came up to me with a spliff (white drug thing in her mouth) give me a dirty look. then she came back and said you know where such and such is... I say no sorry she walks off... What happened to hello excuse me and thanks...

Oh and bring an umbrella because it rains nearly everyday...I am going to make a film on this because It's annoyed me that much...I try to reason it everyday but I cant understand it and it's driving me ill.

34. Posted by phil767 (Budding Member 54 posts) 8y

I want to delete this post because it's not really getting me anywhere to understand anything that I want to understand about here anymore. Thanks :)

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 4, 2008, at 3:41 AM by phil767 ]

35. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 8y

Phil, I have to ask.. what exactly are you trying to achieve? Is there a question in this anywhere, or just a general opportunity to have a go at Australians/Sydney-siders?

36. Posted by phil767 (Budding Member 54 posts) 8y

No I dont hate all australians...I just wanted to understand why in sydney people dont say hello or thankyou that's all.
I did say in my first posts that I met some amazing ozzy girls who were so helpfull to me out in cronulla...Maybe sydney is just snobby... I did meet nice people like builders...But not in customer service type places.
I am just trying to get my head around why people dont say bye thanks or things. Today I put an umbrella over a girl so she wouldnt get wet...She was nice and talkative while at the lights ut when we got accross the road she just went off looking... and didnt say thanks...I then shouted bye and she said bye...It's a strange thing that I dont understand that is all. the previous post about a woman smoking pot was an aborigini she also called me a white fag btw.

37. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 8y

A few points then

  • Drug addicts are not a good indicator of the "average person" . I hope you also don't make this generalisation about aboriginals
  • Putting an umbrella over a girl from nowhere could be considered creepy. Perhaps your intentions were good, but in big cities, people generally don't trust each other as much - same in London btw.
  • Australians have a very "flat" societal structure. This flows into customer service, where as a result, the customer is NOT always king. This is entirely the opposite of the US, where friendliness to the customer is paramount (albeit obviously fake and disturbingly so). The UK has more friendly customer service than Australia on the whole I'd say; politeness and "protocol" is kind of a way of life over there it seems.. everything needs to be proper. That said, Londoners can be pretty hostile too and anyone entering the UK on a non-EU passport will not find the welcome particularly friendly either!

You are spending a lot of time surrounded by strangers, which is only natural when you're travelling. But you need to understand that strangers are wary of other strangers (heard of "stranger danger"?) and it's not really strange for them to not smile and say hello to random people.

38. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 8y

Phil, sounds to me like you're being bothered by something akin to culture shock. For some reason this often seems to be worse in cultures which you expect to be quite close to your own - then it's all the little things tripping you up.
Try to let go of preconceived notions of how people should act. Observe how they really act. Accept that that is the way things are done in this country. It's not rude, it's not mean, and they're certainly not laughing about you behind your back. It's just the way people are. Accents lie differently in every single culture.

There's always so many little things. I remember being perpetually perplexed in Australia and New Zealand how in busses people would loudly shout "thanks" in the direction of the driver before getting out. That's just not part of the culture here in the Netherlands at all, and so I can imagine anyone from there thinking that we here in the Netherlands are incredibly rude. But we aren't (well, actually we are ;) - just not because of this) - it's just not part of the culture, with no deeper meaning behind it all.

As for people on the street not smiling - I remember first arriving in the Glebe area of Sydney, and making the completely opposite observation: it seemed to be like every other person was randomly smiling. Might be worth getting yourself over to Glebe Point Road and just wandering down that. Browse the shops, have a cup of tea in one of the cafés. See if the feeling holds.

Also, I think I read in another thread that you're currently staying in an apartment, right? Might be worth just crashing a hostel's lounge somewhere and hanging out with your lonely planet for a couple of hours, swapping tales with some fellow travellers who'll undoubtedly be there. Or maybe take a "vacation" from your trip and go somewhere out of town for a weekend. *shrugs* It's hard to give useful advice, but try to find something that'll allow you to not focus on the negative and to just experience.

39. Posted by phil767 (Budding Member 54 posts) 8y

Quoting Peter

A few points then

  • Drug addicts are not a good indicator of the "average person" . I hope you also don't make this generalisation about aboriginals
  • Putting an umbrella over a girl from nowhere could be considered creepy. Perhaps your intentions were good, but in big cities, people generally don't trust each other as much - same in London btw.
  • Australians have a very "flat" societal structure. This flows into customer service, where as a result, the customer is NOT always king. This is entirely the opposite of the US, where friendliness to the customer is paramount (albeit obviously fake and disturbingly so). The UK has more friendly customer service than Australia on the whole I'd say; politeness and "protocol" is kind of a way of life over there it seems.. everything needs to be proper. That said, Londoners can be pretty hostile too and anyone entering the UK on a non-EU passport will not find the welcome particularly friendly either!

You are spending a lot of time surrounded by strangers, which is only natural when you're travelling. But you need to understand that strangers are wary of other strangers (heard of "stranger danger"?) and it's not really strange for them to not smile and say hello to random people.

Thanks Peter, You are probably right...I am from up north in england and when I went to london for a day a few people in shops were just not bothered much but I thought it was because I was local...I thought if your a tourist somewhere people would be like nicer.
Having said that...All the job people who ring me have been really polite and a girl i met in an interview in reception so It might be a class thing and that I'm in the wrong area. But I've noticed even the nicer ones that are nice to me who i've met for 10 mins just dont use the word bye I just couldnt figure it out. Like if I go up to a cinema counter and smile, my instinct is that they will smile but they dont and its happened alot....If it is a culture thing that they dont intend to be horrible then that if fine...and that was all I was trying to find out.

I dont think aboriginals as being the same as that woman but I just mentioned that afterwards so I wasn't saying it was another ozzy, cause like i said they arent all bad or confusing me.
My advice when I give people places to go is not to go to london but up north where it's friendlier too, though I havent been in london enough to figure out the percentage but it seems more in 1 day of sydney than 1 day of london...I mean talking to stranger in london to talking to strangers in sydney.
That girl we were at the lights and she was getting annoyed at the rain...She had a nice chat with me like cool you from england...she then said I didnt think it was gonna rain today hehe...and then when we got accross the road she just kind of walked with me but then as if searching for something...and then I said I best go this way now and she didnt say anything...then i said bye and she went "oh byebye" so it's weird that thanks isnt at the forefront that was all...It was probably an honest mistake but still confusing me everyday so i just wanted to know...as soon as i get a job i will venture out to suburbs to see what people are like...but i have no money to do so at the mo

40. Posted by phil767 (Budding Member 54 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

Phil, sounds to me like you're being bothered by something akin to culture shock. For some reason this often seems to be worse in cultures which you expect to be quite close to your own - then it's all the little things tripping you up.
Try to let go of preconceived notions of how people should act. Observe how they really act. Accept that that is the way things are done in this country. It's not rude, it's not mean, and they're certainly not laughing about you behind your back. It's just the way people are. Accents lie differently in every single culture.

There's always so many little things. I remember being perpetually perplexed in Australia and New Zealand how in busses people would loudly shout "thanks" in the direction of the driver before getting out. That's just not part of the culture here in the Netherlands at all, and so I can imagine anyone from there thinking that we here in the Netherlands are incredibly rude. But we aren't (well, actually we are ;) - just not because of this) - it's just not part of the culture, with no deeper meaning behind it all.

As for people on the street not smiling - I remember first arriving in the Glebe area of Sydney, and making the completely opposite observation: it seemed to be like every other person was randomly smiling. Might be worth getting yourself over to Glebe Point Road and just wandering down that. Browse the shops, have a cup of tea in one of the cafés. See if the feeling holds.

Also, I think I read in another thread that you're currently staying in an apartment, right? Might be worth just crashing a hostel's lounge somewhere and hanging out with your lonely planet for a couple of hours, swapping tales with some fellow travellers who'll undoubtedly be there. Or maybe take a "vacation" from your trip and go somewhere out of town for a weekend. *shrugs* It's hard to give useful advice, but try to find something that'll allow you to not focus on the negative and to just experience.

Thankyou Sander...Yes I think it was the problem that I didnt stay in a hostel...I arrived new year so it was booked so i had to stay in a hotel in parramatta...you have some very good advice and I appreciate that. The going out to meet people will have to wait a little bit untill i have money and a job but maybe it will all work out then :)

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