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Top five ways to confuse a Londoner

By Time Out London contributor

Smiling, strolling and saying you want to leave London are just some of the ways you can boggle a Londoner's brain.

1. Refuse to talk about the weather

New-to-London Londoners, this is illegal. This whole article has been written in order to save you from slaughtering the sacred cow that is small talk in the Big Smoke. Imagine - it's Wednesday morning and you're in the office lift with the boss and his Nutribullet. And your heart rate is rising. He comments on the forecast but you, instead of engaging in a bit of weather bants, decide to cut to the chase by stating the obvious: 'What did you expect? It's fucking London, mate.' Or worse, by changing the subject entirely. It's as dangerous as standing on the left. You have been warned.

2. Stroll

Are you sick? Elderly? A member of the royal family? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you may consider strolling in the privacy of your own home/palace. But for anyone else, walking is a form of transport in this city and must be taken seriously. If you want to walk slowly and not cause Londoners to erupt in a barrage of tuts, huffs and profanities, find a park on a wet day and amble if you must. But, by God, you'd better stay out of the way.

3. Smile

Londoners are grumpy. They sit sullenly on the tube, stand moodily on escalators and detest any interaction with strangers. So if some bloke on the tube offers you his seat, have the decency to spare him your friendly smile. Unless your objective is to freak Londoners out, keep your lips pursed. Smile at them and they'll look at you like you have a disease, and you have - it's called 'happiness', and it makes Londoners' heads explode.

4. Say you want to leave London

Saying you want to leave London confuses Londoners more than the existence of M&M's World. Why? Because a) it forces them to consider a world beyond the M25, which makes them recall the places they grew up in, places that cost them hours of therapy to forget; and b) if people leave the capital, Londoners will be faced with fewer queues, vacant seats on the tube and enough room on the towpath for walkers and cyclists - and that means they'll have to find a new hobby to replace complaining.

5. Actually leave London

'I used to live in London before I decided to move to [insert name of nowhere worth mentioning]' will strike more fear into the heart of a hardened Londoner than being trapped in a tube carriage with a pigeon. Being confronted by a lunatic living outside the metropolis throws the Londoner's very existence into question. It's just too real - a horror movie come to life, a nightmarish vision of your potential future. Just don't look them in the eye!


By Éimear Doherty 26, recruiter, Stoke Newington - ‘Time Out reminds us why we’re here and why London’s worth the fight.’

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