Right away, one of the first things you’ll notice when you talk to people in LA is that they are often very ready to stop and talk to you. If you’re used to the vibe of big-city people in the Northeast (like NYC or Philly), you may be taken aback at how the cashier at the store is willing to engage in chit chat that goes beyond idle small talk. That’s not to say that everyone you see on the street is going to tip their hat to you and give you a warm greeting. Nevertheless, don’t be too surprised if people you don’t know do what Larry David would call a “stop-and-chat” with you.
If anyone gives you a weird vibe, ensure that you protect your safety first and foremost. Otherwise, if you feel safe, go ahead and get a little out of your comfort zone and talk to someone you don’t know. About what? Whatever – but don’t get too personal before you know them well and don’t bring up something controversial expecting everyone around you to be like-minded (not everyone in LA is a bleeding-heart liberal).
Angelinos have a reputation for being… well, flaky
Many Angelinos have a reputation for being a bit “flaky.” For those unfamiliar with the term, a “flake” is an unreliable person who agrees to something but often doesn’t follow through, so someone who is flaky is someone that cancels at the last minute with a brief and ambiguous text message.
After you meet someone interesting and you’ve made a plan to meet again, know that plans can change at a moment’s notice and that a meet-up at “six-thirty on-the-dot” can easily turn into “I’m running late – more like seven” or even “hey, how about next Friday instead?” To Angelinos’ credit, much of this is due to the fact that getting around can often be very challenging, especially over long distances or during rush hour. After a 50-hour work week and a 2-hour round-trip commute every day, sometimes it is hard to just get out of the house again to go out.
If you really want to see the other person, offer to come to them or pick them up. And if someone keeps brushing you off, then it might be a polite way of telling you they are no longer interested (I’m looking at you, fellas) or they may really not have the time to spend on getting together with you. Unless someone is outright being rude, don’t get mad or offended when plans change. Instead, look for something else to do. With so many people and attractions in LA, there is no shortage of alternatives! Besides, the “flake” may come around again down the road – you never know.
Angelinos are incredibly diverse
The most important tip of all is that there is no one rule that applies to everyone! LA is well-known for being one of the most diverse places in the world. We’ve got people from all across the globe. So embrace the diversity and remember to respect peoples’ boundaries.
Sometimes cultural differences, language barriers, or other factors may lead someone to be more or less willing to engage you in conversation than you would expect or would want. Be open to others’ vibes and react accordingly. And don’t expect everyone on the street to have your best interests at heart. That being said, be open to meeting friendly people, get to know them, and get to know their friends. Go out and grow your social network – your real-life one, not the one on Facebook!