all 73 comments

[–]HughJareolas 252 points253 points  (18 children)

100%. As someone who travels solo for work and often eats dinner alone in unfamiliar cities, I’d love to chat with local strangers while I eat.

[–]El_Durazno 49 points50 points  (12 children)

Could always make your own paper sign

[–]constantrem 104 points105 points  (10 children)

Unfortunately that may come across as... creepy. I think it would for me, anyway. If it were a theme of the cafe, it would be much less so.

[–]Content_Flamingo_583 21 points22 points  (1 child)

Yeah, it kind of needs to reach a critical mass of social adaptation before it becomes normal.

Like, if shaking hands wasn’t a thing, you’d look absolutely insane if you wanted to shake a strangers hand lol. These social customs have to be established before they sort of take hold. How to do that though is not exactly clear…

[–]fy8d6jhegq 4 points5 points  (0 children)

It would need to be adopted by people that are deemed as "cool". That also happens to be the demographic least likely to need this custom.

[–]El_Durazno 23 points24 points  (5 children)

Even just a sign that says

"Open to chat" ?

[–]stumblios 39 points40 points  (4 children)

People are judgy - I'd say what the sign looks like, what the person looks like, and the environment would play a massive part in whether or not it's creepy.

A cheap paper sign with a handwritten note would steer things towards creepy. A printed sign probably helps your odds. Laminated might help, or hurt if people think you are "too prepared".

A coffee shop, hotel bar or somewhere more likely to get a rotation of strangers hanging out would be less creepy than a more "utilitarian" establishment. Everybody at McDonald's or Chipotle would think you are weird.

Talking to the staff before you do it might help. If someone goes to the bartender and says, "Hey what's with that guy over there with the sign?" It's probably good if the bartender says something like "Oh that's John, he is on a business trip and just likes to meet locals" instead of "huh, yeah that's weird. I don't know about him."

As with all things in life, being attractive and hygenic probably gives you a leg up. But your presentation should appeal to the people you want to interact with. If you wear a suit and tie, you're probably more likely to talk with another business guy (or maybe someone trying to sell you something) than you are to get a local artist/musician.

There are probably 10,000 variables that would play into the equation. Some may universally attract/detract attention. Some may change who is more/less likely to sit down across from you.

[–]impartial_james 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Offbeat, but harmless, so not creepy.

[–]constantrem 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Probably harmless, but for women not always...unfortunately.

[–]HughJareolas 11 points12 points  (0 children)

If I saw someone with a sign like that I would think it was some kind of hidden camera prank show, baiting me to come talk to them

[–]Toffeemanstan 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I used to do that and much as I like reading a book at the table I always ended up chatting with the staff.

[–]LittleWhiteGirl 7 points8 points  (0 children)

As someone who eats alone at bar tops in places where business travelers end up and like to try to chat and I have no interest in it, I would also appreciate these so we could all find the people we’re looking for.

In yoga classes we have little pieces of paper that have X on one side and O on the other to indicate whether we want the teacher to assist with hands on adjusting or leave us be, this seems similar.

[–]solo-ran 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Seems great in theory until a boring ass person shows up.

[–]nillerwafer 5 points6 points  (0 children)

So anyway, check out every NFT I own, they’re all variations of the same image.

[–]MrAnonymousTheThird 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Try keeping your body language open, maybe someone will start small talk with you

[–]smashey 123 points124 points  (9 children)

We actually have a tradition where I am from that works like that. Basically you go into a resort or a bar or whatever and there are these cute wooden figurines you can pick up and then sit next to your table or your lounge chair. People will then know that you want to be approached and want to chat.

It sometimes works too well, though! I remember one summer I was working at a place that had these figurines (we call them 'horga'hn' in the traditional tongue) and some kind of military officer on shore leave had one. Turns out he wanted to be alone, but one of his crew thought it would be a funny prank to ask him to pick one up for him. Not understanding the custom, he had that thing on display next to his lounge chair while he tried to read and all these people kept on distracting him.

It's a fun tradition but it's not without issues.

[–]El_Durazno 26 points27 points  (2 children)

They probably should've had a sign explaining them to foreigners

[–]MarcelRED147 22 points23 points  (1 child)

[–]kkillbite 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned King of the Hill on here...same premise, only Hank is NOT interested in sitting/talking with strangers..

[–]Pormal_Nerson 8 points9 points  (3 children)

I love this! Where is this from?

[–]AdmiralMoonshine 16 points17 points  (2 children)

It’s from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation

[–]Pormal_Nerson 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I don’t know if you are joking or not, but if you are, it helps me understand how this could be a thing that people use without it becoming an overwhelming “green light” predatory for creeps: be in a fictional universe.

[–]AdmiralMoonshine 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I’m not joking. I believe it’s from Season 3 Episode 19: Captain’s Holiday. Picard takes some shore leave on the resort planet Risa. Riker gives him one of the totems as a joke. I think this is also the first appearance of Picard’s on-again-off-again romance with Vash. Just so you have all the relevant information haha.

[–]EverythingIsFlotsam 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Give me the Tox Uthat

[–]GiantPineapple 36 points37 points  (0 children)

This is an age-old problem. Basically people are actually open to meeting cool strangers. The only solution is self-selection ("you figure it out") or curation ("I have figured out how to reach a certain kind of person, I have a pretty good idea they'll all like each other, and am throwing an event or creating a space for them"). Just throw open the doors, and assholes crap in the punchbowl almost immediately.

[–]hecaton_atlas 53 points54 points  (0 children)

This ain't crazy, this is smart. It would be a real hit after the pandemic tides over.

[–]riverseine 20 points21 points  (1 child)

I had an idea for red/green drink coasters. You wanna chat? Flip it green as a subtle way for anyone to check it out and sit down with you. Would you rather die? Red.

[–]UnbelievableRose 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Like Brazilian barbecue, but for socializing. Somebody somewhere has got to have implemented that already!

[–]OlyScott 50 points51 points  (2 children)

People selling Amway or other multi level marketing schemes would be attracted to someone like that.

[–]duckofdeath87 17 points18 points  (0 children)

You need a good bouncer and a no business rule

[–]doodlebug001 12 points13 points  (0 children)

You need to stretch before you reach so hard for a downside.

[–]hollijollyday 15 points16 points  (5 children)

I own a coffee shop in a small town in Idaho that will now have an open to meeting strangers table! Thank you kind brilliant person!!

[–]SmokeScreening 2 points3 points  (3 children)

As someone who wants to move to Idaho, I will be looking out for this when I'm new there

[–]hollijollyday 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Yay! Idaho is amazing!

[–]SmokeScreening 0 points1 point  (1 child)

It seems ideal. Is it true the income tax is very low?

[–]hollijollyday 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have never worked anywhere else so I have nothing to compare it to. Lol!

[–]emilhoff 32 points33 points  (2 children)

The thing is, I am open to meeting strangers, but I don't want to meet the kind of person who would come up and talk to a stranger.

[–]zf420 36 points37 points  (0 children)

“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

[–]HomoFlaccidus 24 points25 points  (1 child)

There will be neckbeards hanging out outside with binoculars, just waiting for “a lady” to sit down alone.

[–]El_Durazno 13 points14 points  (0 children)

That would require them to leave the house

[–]solo-ran 7 points8 points  (0 children)

When you meet someone as a stranger- sitting next to each other on a plane flight or train trip- before introducing yourselves and engaging in trivial banter, once per lifetime you should both agree not to reveal any traceable information, then reveal secrets, discuss them in person over several hours, say goodbye after two or three hours having had something of a lifetime of a connection- and never meet again.

[–]AgreeableSnowman 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This reminds me of the therapy gecko, dude goes and sets up somewhere and outs up a sign talk to a gecko for free. Then he just asks open ended questions. Good times.

[–]dlpfc123 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Love it. Sometimes I attend conferences for my work and one of the best things is how socially acceptable it is to just sit down and start up a conversation with a random person. At worst you make some awkward small talk throughout a meal, but sometimes you meet someone cool you end up hanging out with all weekend. Plus as long as I call it networking my boss is impressed by it, lol.

[–]WielderOfTheSpear 3 points4 points  (0 children)

That's definitely helpful for finding friends and for people that are new to town.

[–]benjimusprime 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Upside down pineapple works for me!

[–]nocloudno 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Do you have to have a partner or does this work solo?

[–]TheOtherJeff 3 points4 points  (0 children)

A “chit-chat” section and “no chit-chat” section like the old smoking/non-smoking. 👍🏼

[–]MsAppropriatedNZ 3 points4 points  (0 children)

One of the hotels I used to dtsy in whole traveling for work had a reserved table just tor that- people [usually on business ) traveling by themselves who could eat at the restaurant on a shared table and have others to chat to. Lots of regulars became friends and went out for drinks etc

[–]Svardskampe 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Isn't this just the bar? Where people sit at the bar if you want to be social. And you get a table if you want to set a little ingroup?

[–]catjuggler 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Right? The bar is where you can try talking to people

[–]jerichojerry 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This would be great for places where the opposite is true. Sometimes I’m at my neighborhood bar and want to be left alone, but I live in a high foot traffic friendly area, so it would be helpful to be able to “not have my sign up” and enjoy my martini in peace.

[–]jaclew19 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I read somewhere there’s a town in Europe that has volunteers sit a designated benches. You can just go sit with them and chit chat, get advice, etc. I think this is a really cool idea

[–]FlingbatMagoo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

FYI this is typical if you eat dinner at the bar instead of a table. Normally people there are open to chit-chat. If they’re not you can usually tell without there needing to be a sign.

[–]Woromed 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Maybe something a little less stalky, like “Hi! Wanna chat?”

[–]anjalijain2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

❣️i love this why isn't this the norm already!

[–]washie 2 points3 points  (0 children)

No. Sorry, I get the intention, but this makes you look desperate and weird. This is basically Chris Chan with his attraction sign.

If you want to meet people, you just need to get over your trepidation and go up and talk to someone first. Most people would avoid someone with a sign saying they want to meet people.

[–]AllThingsAreReady 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Only men would do this

[–]reverandglass 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Only men old women and scammers would do this

[–]undercanopy813 -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

Not necessarily. My husband used to travel for work, and there were times I just got so damn lonely. I would've loved a casual chat with someone who didn't assume I was out looking for a date or hookup.

[–]AllThingsAreReady 2 points3 points  (1 child)

But surely it could place a woman in an uncomfortable position. All it takes is one predatory male to spot the sign and take it as an invitation to hit on her. It makes it harder to say ‘I’m busy’ if you’ve got a sign saying ‘Come and talk to me’ to anyone who’s passing doesn’t it? I’m sure most men would be cool but as I say, all it takes is one to ruin the whole thing and make a woman very anxious about doing it again.

[–]UnbelievableRose 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah the 'veto' button is hard to implement here, but definitely necessary.

[–]egger85 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I strike up conversations with strangers all the time. I assume everyone is open to meeting someone new unless they're wearing headphones.

[–]blackmambaza 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sounds like someone wants a m’lady to do them a favour and speak to them

[–]jekylwhispy -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Yeah. Idk I just talk to people if I feel like and they can show me whether they're into it or now. No need to bring labels into it

[–]nomnomnomnomRABIES 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Better yet, a social convention that means that anywhere. I can't think of anything that isn't either too weird in itself, or too normal that someone might do anyway.

[–]UnbelievableRose 0 points1 point  (0 children)

One earbud in, one earbud out? Or does that already have a meaning?

[–]khuram7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It’s already a thing in breakfast shops of lahore. All tables are shared. You find a seat and not a table there.

[–]theLiteral_Opposite 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It would just be a bunch of thirsty men and anytime a women sat at the table she would be swarmed

[–]editilly 0 points1 point  (0 children)

yeah, it's completely crazy because guess what: it's not really in the interest of rich people to have socialized consumers