Dear Doris – The Etiquette of Commuting

Expat Academy Dear Doris - The Etiquette of Commuting  Dear Doris, 

I have started commuting to the office a couple of days a week. It is so exciting bumping into neighbours who are also venturing out of their home offices that I feel I have a lot to chat about when I see them. Has commuter train etiquette changed at all in the last couple of years? 

What a great question…if you do bump into your neighbour limit yourself to a 5 minute catch up and then arrange to see them sometime away from train. After you’ve made your arrangements, pop in your earphones and accept that most people like to spend their commute slowly waking up or scrolling through the news of the day. 

So much has changed in the last few years but some things will always remain: 

  • Never talk about anyone else on the train…you never know who is listening. 
  • Avoid eating smelly or messy food it will never endear you to your fellow passengers. 
  • Don’t block the doors – so annoying when trying to embark or disembark. 
  • Only talk on your mobile if essential. No one cares what you are having for dinner or when your train gets in. 
  • Applying make up on the train should be avoided – though fascinating to watch it’s weird. 
  • Filing your nails is a simple no. Its gross. 
  • No one enjoys listening to a parent berate their small child (hold it in) 
  • Watch your spatial awareness and apologise if you nudge someone. 

Of course, on the last train heading home different rules apply: 

  • Forget spatial awareness just  grab a seat and behave yourself. 
  • All foods are acceptable, even smelly burgers (but don’t spill any drinks) 
  • Make friends and frolic  
  • If you recognise a neighbour stay close as maybe just maybe you will sense them moving when you get near home and you won’t miss your stop 
  • Do not text those you have been enjoying your evening with. Wait and see if you feel yourself channelling the same message in the morning.  

Happy commuting! 



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