Taipei is not friendly

Early afternoon. Normal crowds not many seats. I must be hideous, look away.

Yes, no, yes, no… Woman terrifyingly sat slowly beside me, then turned back to me, then up and walked away.

Guy sits down, slowly sliding off to the corner off the seat. Finally gets up and stands.

Woman in front of me gets up at stop and moves to different seat. Another one sits down, gets up a few spots later and moves across train.

I’m a average height slim guy dressed in decent clothes and collared white short sleeve shirt. All the time I’m just looking at my phone.

The only people that look at me are kids, a few pretty girls, gay guys and lesbian dikes grabbing their girlfriend hand to make sure gf doesn’t make eye contact with me.

Taipei is a strange place and not really friendly… I can go weeks without anyone saying hi. Must be the simple people that believe all the news on local TV.

Taichung, Kaohsiung, Kenting, people smile, say hi. Chat. Got to get out of this place more.

Loving all the space on the MRT though.

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At least you’re not a talking raccoon. Imagine what his life would be like.


Hey, look at the bright side…at least you’ve got pretty girls looking at you. Are you sure this isn’t a BO issue? Girls (and gay guys) are attracted by those pheromones.

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It’s worse when you move back from other places. Cold, yeah. Even if you go to the same cafe or shop many times they can stick to the rote conversation. You REALLY have to make an effort here.
Big city but not much passion about. Not even a decent sports team to get some rowdy fans about the place.

What do you want, a song and dance? A welcome ceremony?

What did you expect people to do while you were sat on a train staring at your phone - gawk at you? Take photos?

I literally have no idea what you are complaining about.


Geez. To not be treated like a leper…

I don’t know anyone in Taiwan. When I get really down cause I haven’t spoken to anyone for weeks, I take a taxi ride. They always seem to be full of conversation. I guess that makes me a Jane; paying for conversation.

Not complaining just making an observation. Taipei people are not friendly especially compared to other cities in Taiwan.


Try putting your phone away.
Smile at people, and say hi to them.
Sometimes this works for me.

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If you put your phone away, they’ll probably just think something’s wrong with you.

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Easy for you, sure, with your movie star good looks.
Not much help for folks like @Dr_Milker, though.

I don’t even have a smartphone, and people never hesitate to sit next to me. I’ve been told it’s because I smell like 蚵仔麵線.

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Taichung? Yuck, people are cold here too.
Kaohsiung and Pingdong, now those people are friendly. Always enjoy a conversation and random people go out of their way to be friendly to foreigners , yes they stare more though.

Taichung is similar to taipei, its all business. In fact, I personally feel more depersonalized here than anywhere else in Taiwan, including Taipei.

Taichung used to be a friendly place back in the day (of course it was also rough and tumble at the same time - gangsters galore). People are quite standoffish nowadays - which can be nice compared to people in your face saying ‘hello how are you?’ all the time but kindness and courtesy have gone out the window…

Taipei was always the ‘big city’ but in the scheme of sprawling global capital cities in the world today it’s pretty laid back.

It seemed to me that white privilege took a big hit in the early part of this century when the West went off the rails after 911. It was about then that I started to notice the onset of aloofness and sideways looks breaking out everywhere I hadn’t seen before. It was all quite subtle but apparent. And how could events in the West not have an impact on the way whitey is perceived here? Some dude on a train in the middle of nowhere reading on his cellphone that Donald Trump is going to conduct live fire emergency evacuation drills at the White House and all of the sudden he looks up and sees whitey standing there before him. I would wonder too.

Taipei is no different from any major city in the world, people in cities are generally unfriendly, selfish, indifferent, gloomy, etc, due to high-paced life and pressure.

As for passengers dodging you on the MRT, it’s bizarre to hear because people on the MRT usually just stick with their smartphones all the time without paying any attention to other passengers. Namely, most people don’t even bother taking a look at the ones sitting around them. Maybe you can let out more details of what exactly happened on the MRT.

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I don’t know about 9/11. It’s possible it started that far back. Certainly the '90s sounded like a heyday, and that may have been part of the problem. The Taiwanese just got sick of the stereotypical Western expat who had just a little too much fun here. There was a time when the Taiwanese were proud their daughter was dating a foreigner. Not anymore.

So I’d say that’s part of the reason, but I push the date a little later to the economic crisis of '08-'09. When I came, foreigners were still treated nicely enough. However, after the economic crisis (but, certainly, it may have had its genesis after 9/11) there were some well-publicized, embarrassing incidents regarding uptight foreigners suffering from culture shock that made the news–loud, belligerent, nasty stuff. I think all of that combined to leave a bad impression of foreigners. We’re tolerated, but now kept at arm’s length.

I don’t really have a problem with the Taiwanese. Or, rather, the Taiwanese don’t seem to have a problem with me. I think there’s a certain manner/posture/facial expression that’s unsettling to them, in the same way that there’s a certain manner/posture/facial expression that’s disarming to them. I’d observe locals here, and a few of the foreigners who have it, to see what they’re doing–and not doing.

It’s funny, though, that Taichung was mentioned as being cold. I don’t really dispute this, but I find it’s the foreigners here that are the cold ones and a bit high on themselves. If you’re not already part of their social circle or in one of their local hangouts, they hardly want to make eye contact with you in a public place. The Taiwanese–here, anyway–are still more welcoming in general.

Back in the day people used to refer to Taipei and other cities as a big village full of urban farmers. There was a lot of truth in that.
Like others said it was a lot more rough and tumble with hellos and adogahs along with a lot more random conversations and genuine interest (and even back in the day there were foreigners that used to regale me with stories how back in THEIR day if was so much friendlier which invariably ended up them telling me some salacious story of how they scored a chick in McDonalds by opening an English book , for the record I also dated a girl I met in McDonalds but she just dug my soccer uniform at the time ;)).

I don’t really think it’s the impression of foreigners has changed negatively (although the media have tried their best over the years) , more so it’s that Taiwanese society has changed. It’s gotten quieter, more introspective, more careful. It’s also gotten older, don’t forget!

I date it back to Sodagreen hipstery shit.
So 2006 was year zero for ‘up own arses’.

Bring back Wu bai bad Hong Kong electronic dance music!

the seat avoiding is a thing. its weird but at the end of the day does it matter? its just a subway ride. i usually just hope i can get some personal place to stand or sit and thats about the best i can hope for.

as for the rest of it i dont mind, yea people don’t strike up randon conversations all that much but if you speak chinese people will be more willing to, i have had lots of older people happy to chat i just cant say too much back to them cus my chinese still sucks. and lets not forget the type of people who want to strike up a conversation in english are usually a bit annoying, they dont listen to what you are actually saying because they just want to practice english and repeat the same stereotypical crap we have heard a million times. i have even heard a guy try to give me directions(to taipei 101, because i was in xinyi i must only want to go to taipei 101) and then tell me he has lived there for years and there are no good dumpling restaurants in the area( i was going to an awesome dumpling place) . what an annoying turd.

I think not. Taking out the garbage out 8:30pm, still see multiple scooters or cars dodge in and around pedestrians without even having their headlights on, on a daily basis. Even better when it is in the rain…

The introspective people that cluster in groups outside a “famous” tea shop or even a local dumpling store and take up the entire sidewalk and see others walking by but never think to even inform their friend or co-worker, “Hey, other people actually use this sidewalk at 3 in the afternoon.” and ask them to not move out of the way?

The careful people that stand in front of an MRT door at a transfer station and stand in front of the door despite the fact that they are waiting for the next train that will arrive 5 minutes later?

What Taipei do you live in?

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