Personal Blog

Am I Just A Cynical New Yorker?

I am currently in Park City on a business trip and am hanging with a group of awesome ladies. The picture above is from our living room. The company rented the Penthouse at the Canyon and I am DYING. I would have NEVER seen this FLOOR had it not been for this trip and I am giddy as can be!! In a few hours we hit the slopes and I am dry heaving just thinking about it.

Anyway… last night the group got to talking about being friendly in public places during dinner.Β  It got me thinking that perhaps I’m a bit too cynical.

Jason – a man who is part of the team that’s hosting the event I’m participating in – said that he really doesn’t like Boston much because the people aren’t friendly there. I asked him to elaborate and he said that while he rode the trains no one would talk to him besides his best efforts. Basically, he would just randomly stat talking to people on the train to spark conversation and hopefully make a new friend.

The entire table agreed with Jason. These strangers should have been happy to meet him and make a new friend and how awful that he was unable to connect. MEANWHILE, I’m sitting there like… WHAT????? If anyone starts talking to me on public transportation, I ALWAYS think they have a hidden agenda. I would NOT make a new friend this way. I “joked” and said that I would think the man was either trying to pick me up … or kill me. LOL!

THEN another member of our group told a story about how she met someone waiting for a train and then they ended sharing a cab ride together home because it was late and apparently they lived near one another. AGAIN – everyone was like, “that’s so nice” and I’m screaming, “THAT’S HOW HORROR MOVIES BEGIN – ARE YOU CRAZY? NOW HE KNOWS WHERE YOU LIVE?”

So, it got me thinking — am I just a cynical New Yorker? Is it wrong to have such distrusting feelings towards people I don’t know. Should I be more open to meeting and making friends out in public?


If someone starts a random conversation with you, are you open to it? I’m all about small talk – don’t get me wrong. On the plane ride over, I spoke to the two men that I was sitting with for the entire flight just to kill the time. I’m really talking about taking it beyond that high level conversation. Would you become friends with someone after they randomly started to talk to you in public?

Maybe it’s just me. Out of the 9 people at the table, I was the only one who distrusted the stranger’s agenda. Maybe I need to relax a bit and open myself up to more experiences? Or not… πŸ™‚

Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.


  1. I am like you. I must say I don’t like this about myself at all. Some people are just really nice and have no hidden agenda. I am going to try harder!

  2. I’m like you too, and I think most people are, here in Europe. The only times people talked to me on public transportations were a) to pick me up (no thank you!) b) while I was in the U.S., in Disney World ! Everyone was saying hello, have a nice day, where are you from, and because we were in Magic Kingdom, I wasn’t suspicious at all, I was pleasantly surprised! I tried to stay that friendly back home, and people seemed to find it strange so I gave up…

  3. To say hello and be polite is one thing but I would NEVER, EVER talk to anyone about my personal life. I usually don’t even give me name. Sadly, we live in a scary world and there are a lot of disturbing people out there. That’s the truth. Especially being a woman. My husband tells me to never trust anyone and he’s right because how can you trust someone you’ve never met. You have no idea of their agenda. You hear horror murder/rape stories and wonder how it happens, well I think sometimes it happens when you open yourself up to other people you don’t know. You have the right mindset. I don’t think of myself as impolite or not kind because I’m very friendly but there’s no reason for me to have open conversations with people that I don’t know.

  4. Small town mentality vs large city. They are right because it works where they come from and you are right because of your city and the weirdos that live said city. There is nothing wrong with being polite and making small talk but to give up major details of your life just doesnt make sense. That being said there are lots of people who would disagree with me ! example – When we were in Aruba we met these 2 older ladies on the public bus – they got chatting with us and even invited us ( me and hubby ) to view their condo. We didnt go lol that was TOO weird. Tho I grew up small town I now live in Toronto and definitely have taken on the cynical roll.

  5. hmmm – depends. In London people don’t talk on public transportation (in my experience), other than the polite acknowledgement of the person moving for you to side down etc (when that happens). however, i do say good morning to people who live on my street (even though i don’t know them) and i definitely wave hello to fellow dog walkers and their dogs. but then that is just a bit like saying hello to other mothers at the school gate. i have made friends with a few ‘random’ strangers – but in the end we have always had a link that cemented the connection … when i lived in NYC i never spoke to people on the subway and was even nervous of asking directions from strangers. i don’t think you are strange in the least!

  6. Hi Vera, I’m originally from Connecticut and moved to Colorado. People are much nicer and friendlier out here than they are back east. They are also happier, in general. Back east, people are rude, stay to themselves, and their small groups and most of the time have lived there forever. People out west (Utah, Colorad, etc) often have moved here and are open to making new friends. The weather’s also better, so people are outdoors more πŸ™‚

  7. Haha, here in London most people tend to actively AVOID eye contact, talking or any other acknowledgement of other human beings on public transport. I am guilty of it myself. If someone randomly starts to speak they are likely to be greeted with horrified stares from fellow passengers for being ‘weird’. LOL

  8. I’m not the kind of person to feel comfortable talking to strangers. Yes, a bit of small talk is fine but I would NEVER feel comfortable chatting it up with someone that I had just met. I’ve lived in small towns all of my life and we’re a friendly bunch, but the safety mechanism in my head goes into overdrive when people invade my personal space.

  9. I’m cautious, but friendly. I make eye contact and smile and say good morning and all that jazz – it’s just how I was brought up, but it does depend on the location/situation. I have my guard up in certain areas.

  10. P.S. Beautiful view. πŸ™‚ I like to look at the ski hill from behind a glass wall – preferably next to a fire place. A nice, safe distance. ROFL.

  11. I talk to everyone! People think I’m nuts, but I generally trust almost everyone! I don’t know if it’s a good quality or bad….I even had a serial killer live on the next street over! He was arrested last February! He killed 2 young girls in my neighborhood. (Chelsea King and Amber Dubois). You would think I would have learned…I just don’t go on the trails alone…I only walk/run on the streets! I’m at least taking some precautions!

  12. NOOOOOOO!!

    You’re fine!

    Its the norm for us New Yorkers I think. Too much crazy stuff happens here and our survival intincts kick in. I’d NEVER share a cab…anywhere with a stranger. Like you I’m ok with small talk at an airport, bar, etc but other than that no.

  13. Born and raised New Yorker here! You are not weird Vera, however you feel is how you feel, and that’s it. I have traveled the U.S. quite a bit and can tell you that I have never met friendlier people than in NYC! It’s true that people don’t chat each other up on the subway very much, but usually it’s packed, crowded, loud, and everyone just wants to get where their going already. Still, it does happen. I’ve had great conversations on the train with total strangers, also in movie theaters, on Broadway during intermission, in restaurants, etc. I know most of the folks in our neighborhood just from seeing them repeatedly and waving or saying Hello. And yes, I have shared a cab with many a stranger. In NYC, like anywhere else you have to trust your gut, make sensible decisions, and get on with your life.

  14. To be honest, I like to spend most of my time on public transportation either 1) reading or 2) enjoying the scenery if possible or 3) zoning out. Now, if we’re on a plane and the turbulence is terrible, I might become your new best friend, lol! But generally no….I keep to myself. A smile, a nicety here and there is fine if I’m feeling well, but yeah, leave me alone, LOL

  15. i’ve been riding the train for over 40 years……gave out directions to strangers……but never made a friend

  16. Funny, I could have written that post!
    The other day some guy asked for my phonenumber, didn’t give it to him. Later I heard from a friend that he’s one of the biggest pimps in my hometown.

    I’m glad i’m a distrustful cynic.

  17. I don’t spend much time on public transportation, but in other areas where people try to open up, I’m generally not receptive. Not that I’m suspicious (though that’s not a bad thing) it’s just that in most situations, I’m happy to have some quiet, meditative time and don’t want to be bothered.

  18. It is not just in the north. I am from as south as you can get born and bred and while I may strike up conversation about something-i.e. I love that purse where did you get it etc. I would not get into people’s personal space like that. I don’t want people in mind either so maybe I am cynical also? LOL

  19. I think it depends on where I am. Being from California and growing up in a small town, when I am home I will chat with anyone and trust them, but when I ride on the Bart train into San Francisco, I’m definitely more cautious. I say trust your instincts because they are there to protect you. My husband was amazed when we moved to a small town how long it takes to get anything done here because everyone is so friendly and kind and wants to chat it up. At first it annoyed him, but now he’s used to it and he thinks people in San Jose area, where he’s from are rude now! It’s all about perspective I guess πŸ™‚

  20. Cynical is good. We teach our children not to talk to strangers, Caution is not such a bad thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Uuuuh no. Talking to strangers in Santiago is how you get yourself punched in the face. Pass, thank you. Please don’t talk to me, random person.

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