The Double Bus Experiment

Day 16 of Awkward Moments

*Since I’m starting the second half of awkward moments, I’m going to attempt to talk to more than one person from this point on. I’ll slowly work my way up into macro mode where my brain gets exposed to multiple people.


October 28, 2011. Noon/4PM.

On the same day, I talked to two different people while waiting for the same bus route during two different times of the day. The first one occurred at noon and the other occurred at 4PM.

Person #1: I asked her how long it would take for the bus to come. She tells me that it’ll be another ten minutes. I decide to chat with her about her major, her friends, her background, etc.

“Yeah, I’m a human development major.”

“Yeah my roommates and I all met together back at our church.”

“I’m also looking for a job but as you know it’s difficult.”

Those were just a few of the lines that she told me. We continued talking for 20 minutes total until the bus came.

We entered the bus and I sat in the back. She decided to sit in the front at first but ended up joining me in the back because she liked the conversation. We talked for a few more minutes before her stop came up.

It was successful because I had enough time to build enough rapport.

*A few days later we would recognize each other on the bus and share positive energy by chatting again.


Person #2: I asked her how long it would take for the bus to come. She told me it’ll be 5 minutes.

Then a minute of awkward silence hits.

I asked her what her major was to create conversation and she told me about her design major. She still looked uncomfortable and ended the conversation.

A minute later, she met two of her friends and chatted with them relatively easily. On the bus, they continued chatting with one another.

Not successful because the person wasn’t comfortable enough and not welcome to my approach.


Two similar situations with two very different results! If I were to continue to do the same question over and over again in the same exact spot, I’m pretty sure I’d have a different result each time.

Don’t predetermine an outcome based on one trial. Keep trying because each situation will create its own story.

Caroline Leon
Caroline Leon

Matt I love these awkward moments experiments. I had a nice chat with a lady on the train this week and actually despite any initial awkwardness one might feel when speaking to strangers, when it works it leaves you with a nice feeling for the rest of the day - well it does me anyway! Good work :)