Trying to get a smile in Sydney

It’s a little off the topic, but getting a coffee this morning I passed a couple who live in the next street. I know they live in the next street because I’ve seen them around, and I’m a stickybeak – it comes with being a journo. They were at their front gate after taking their dog for a walk. I smiled at them, being neighbourly, and they looked at me then looked away. Now, I don’t live in a cold, high-rise suburb. I live in the inner west, in a suburb previously known for its freaks, but now filled with prams. And yes, I do know the names of my immediate neighbours, but not that of the scary woman two doors down who glares at everyone, especially me after a late night hula hooping incident.

Anyway, a few weeks ago a Brazilian friend (as in someone from Brazil, not someone I wax with, that would be weird) was talking about how hard it is to make friends in Sydney. Another friend, from Melbourne, agreed, saying that even alcohol doesn’t help because if you start talking to someone in a pub they think you’re trying to pick them up. Or steal their wallet. I’ve spent a bit of time in fabulous Melbourne because Man Friend’s sister lives there and it is easier to start up a conversation with people you don’t know. I was there for a conference in March and even in the city, people smiled when you made eye contact. When’s the last time that happened in the Sydney CBD?

4 responses to “Trying to get a smile in Sydney

  1. I live in a tiny town now after being in the city all my life. The friendliness was almost overwhelming at first – I had come from a small block of apartments where I did not know the first names of my neighbours to a town where half the population knocked on our door in the first week to welcome us. I got used to it fast, it was lovely, people taking the time to ask “how are you” (and sticking around to hear the answer)

    I returned to the city last year for a weekend of shopping and left my hotel to get the morning paper. I walked down the street with a smile on my face and offered a cheery “good morning” to those I walked by and was shocked at the reaction. Heads down, no eye contact …. don’t look at the friendly freak!

    It was nice to get back to my small town.

    • Ah, I did the opposite – moved from a small town to the big city. If you don’t mind me asking, did you move to give your kids more freedom?

  2. I can’t believe scary lady aint over the hula hooping incident yet! She needs professional help!

    I’m sorry, but I had to butt in on the Melb is more friendly than Sydney vibe in yr post (cos you know I love a Melb Syd polemic!) I find Sydney people (generally, of course there are exceptions) busy rather than unfriendly. Melb people will talk to you if you look cool, until you tell them you are from Sydney, and then they will turn away. It’s happened to me, and people I know. Bastards.

    • Hmm, I wasn’t going for the ‘Melbourne is better than Sydney’ thing, just saying that it’s easier to get a smile in Melbourne. But I think you’re right about it being busy, about rushing.

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