Cómo sobrevivir en un avión… a un compañero de asiento (muy) hablador

Getting on a train, plane or any other means of transportation It is the moment when the emotions and nerves of embarking on a new adventure begin to surface.

But the beginning of our trip may not be as idyllic as we had thought, because it can touch us from a passenger who reclines the backrest completely (and makes our knees suffer), to another who also travels alone… and with many desire to chat

Although this is not the case in all cases, those who make regular business trips are usually the most likely to want to interact, because they spend many idle hours on planes and/or trains. In a survey by corporate travel management company Egencia, one in four of these travelers admitted that they like to talk to strangers on planes. So our first tip is (unless you do have a chatty day), when you see someone carrying an executive briefcase, be on your toes.

But don’t worry, because we are going to give you many other guidelines that you must follow to be able to get rid of the passenger who does not stop talking to you during the trip.

1. Avoid eye contact at all costs.

In the specialized magazine psicologia-online.com they point out that eye contact is “relevant in practically all communicative contexts, and important for example in job interviews, or when socializing with strangers”. The latter is just what we do not want, so we must avoid it at all costs.

So that shows a sudden interest in the cardboard with instructions on what to do in an emergency, because of what it says in the bag for motion sickness, because of the drop-down menu on board, because of the little buttons above you for ventilation, or pretend that you have a hard time putting on your seatbelt, because that way you can spend a good time staring at the buckle (this has a risk: your seatmate may offer to help you and, bam! they will take advantage of that clue to start a conversation).

An advice: choose window whenever you can. By showing an inordinate interest in the landscape (or the workers on the runway at the airport or station, if you haven’t taken off or started yet), it will suffice to have your head turned to rule out any kind of eye contact.

2. Get into ‘workaholic’ mode

You just sat down and the passenger next to you starts talking to you non-stop. The first option that we give you should be thought of from home, more specifically, since you pack your suitcase, in which one thing cannot be missing: a laptop. But if I go on vacation!, you will think. It doesn’t matter, because the computer will be your safe-conduct so that you don’t get bullied. Neither iPad nor mobile: there is nothing that reeks more of work than a gray laptop. Open it, put on some headphones and that movie or series you have saved on your hard drive, and type something from time to time to hide it.

“I do that often, and it doesn’t fail,” acknowledges Guillermo O. Pascual, who until recently was a sales representative at a multinational and spent a week in Shanghai, the next in London, and the next in Australia. “My friends told me that I spent too much time on a plane, alone, and that the life was going to me in it. But I loved those moments when I had a flight of more than 10 hours ahead of me to read that book or watch that movie that I had pending, or just to think about my things. And he finishes off: “And of course I wasn’t going to let the annoying guy next door bother me; it was to open the laptop, and he would shut up for the very fact. Fortunately or unfortunately, in today’s society we do not respect anything less than work, that is sacramental.”

A tip: in the first few minutes, start writing quickly in the notes, in the mail or in the WhatsApp (this will depend on whether you are on a plane or on a train). The faster you type, the busier you will seem.

airplane computer

If he insists on the conversation or, failing that, starts reading what you write, it’s time to move on to the next strategy.

3. The weirder… the better

The master plan that we had in mind as the first option has not worked. It’s time to move on to a much less common strategy… but much more effective in many cases. The passenger on our side wants to talk, whatever it takes to keep your attention. This is when you should start to have gestures that can be strange.

This practice, as psychologist Adriana Martínez tells us, “It causes the other person to feel a certain repulsion towards us, seeing us as a strange person and stopping us from speaking”. In case you haven’t got it: this would be based on starting to do strange behaviors: speak in a strange way, or execute movements that the other person can perceive as a person who is not in his right mind.

In fact, this is one of the most foolproof methods of all. But, on many other occasions, the person may join our particular “show” (he has played the only weirdo in the passage, what are you going to do). That is when we must go to the next level.

4. The Bizarre Magazine

Gregg Rottler, founder of Flightsfromhell.com, told CNN that he always tried to stop chatterboxes by “taking out a bag full of newspapers and reading the entire flight.” He knows what he’s talking about: his website is a forum where travelers from all over the world tell (with humor) their most unpleasant experiences on their flights.

One of the users, in fact, contradicted Rottler’s technique in one of his posts: “I always avoid eye contact, because if your eyes meet theirs, you’re lost. But still, the one on my side wanted conversation. It was night, so I turned on the courtesy light to take out a book and start reading, but he took it as a way to break the ice; now he really was lost.”

We have an even more radical solution for these situations. Don’t pull out a traditional book or newspaper. take with you the strangest and most bizarre magazine/book you have at homeand that you always take it to your trips.

train magazine

Serve anything, the strangest that you find in your house and that the other person perceives as something unusual. It doesn’t have to be real, you can print a cover and cover the book or magazine you really want to read with it. For example from an old edition of the my fight or a Playboy from the eighties. Although sometimes it doesn’t work either…

5. Squeeze moment

Pure efficiency. This is how we could define this other strategy. It is the simplest, but for which we must draw our greatest acting skills. It is nothing more than pretending that he is giving you the squeeze of your life. To do this you just have to put your hands on your stomach, simulate roars and make a face that there are intestinal problems.

If you follow all these guidelines, you will get the other person to stop talking to you. If you see that it’s not… it’s time to run to the toilet, even if you don’t have to do anything there, wet your face and rub your eyes, so that when you return, your companion perceives that you’ve had a bad time in there and you’re not for anyone . If he still wants to continue his conversation, then you have to go to the next level.

5. Enter a language

For this guideline you must have maintained complete silence during the whole time that the other person has wanted to communicate with you. And, to end the conversation with a stroke of the pen, you must speak to him in a language that you make up on the spot. Do not try English or French, because with a very high probability it can be understood. Just… make up a language!

6. Nap time

The infallible, the one that never fails, and the one that gives us so much joy to avoid all kinds of people. It’s simple, lean your neck where you can and go to sleep! We only see a flaw in this strategy… your desire to talk may have increased considerably after spending hours without having a conversation with you, and as soon as you are careless and open your eyes, it will hunt you down relentlessly.

sleep on plane

7. If you can’t beat the enemy… join him

If you have already completed all the steps and still have not achieved your goal… it is time to join your enemy. It’s time for you to use what hurts you the most against him. How? Starting to tell him absolutely your whole life, from beginning to endin such a way that the other person ends up saturated with so much information and, finally, lets you have a pleasant trip. That your life is exciting? Make one up, as boring and girs as possible.

Of course… whatever you do, always do it with sympathy. We never know what other people may be going through, and having a little empathy tells us absolutely nothing.