Yes people have got significantly more withdrawn and afraid or unused to interaction with strangers, especially of speaking with strangers. Even the taxi drivers are significantly less chatty. They used to always ask me about my views of this or that…very rare now although I speak much better Chinese. We are talking around 15 years ago. About 10 years ago society started getting a little less ‘farmery’ and by 5 years ago smartphones just clobbered the old chattiness. I find my home country still has a lot better conversational skills amongst the general public.
Also in my home country people started doing hugs and embracing whereas in Taiwan interaction between friends and family is still quite stiff.
My wife gets a bit more random interactions mostly from older ladies who like to share their past child raising experiences or they are simply more open to chatting with strangers perhaps.
People would even talk to each other a little bit on the MRT, that doesn’t really happen now. Too hurried and crowded is one problem.
Mainly it’s the smartphone and people connecting through social media instead of through random or real-life interactions. I don’t think young people or people In general really approach each other in coffeeshops or bars as much as before. I honestly think it used to be a lot better even with the irritation of ‘halloos’ and the ppl who just wanted to practice English.
I mean Taiwan culture has always been about in groups and out groups but the in group phenomenon through introductions has probably got worse due to social media and then people lose the skill and confidence in talking with strangers. The worst bit is I am probably suffering from this as well.