Are people in London cold and unfriendly?

There seems to be a general consensus, in the UK at least, that people in London are cold and unfriendly and I was wondering what other people’s experiences are.

It has always been my dream to live in France, from a very young age I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else. When I lived in France I always said I would never move back to the UK, I couldn’t envisage myself living anywhere other than France. Yet I have been living in the UK for nearly 3 years now, and in London for over 2 and a half of those years.

When I was at school I had friends whose dream was to move to London. When I was at university, further friends aspired to living in the capital. London was never a dream of mine, I ended up here by accident I suppose, as Hubs really wanted to live here so I thought “let’s give it a shot”. I never in my craziest dreams would have imagined living in London, and raising my family here.

So let’s dispel some myths here. London is an amazing city. It’s a great place to raise kids and we have a far better quality of life as a family here than when we lived on the French Riviera.

Quality family time in Hyde Park

Quality family time in Hyde Park

I am constantly amazed by how friendly people are here, be it fellow parents at L’s school, neighbours, staff in our local shops, bars and restaurants, as well as those in central London, fellow commuters, whoever.

Today is a prime example. I had to take C into central London on my own today; when I got to our local tube station I had a set of stairs to navigate down with the pushchair, it was 9.15am so I was catching the tail-end of rush hour, I had barely started on the stairs when a woman rushed up to me, offering to help.

When I arrived at my destination station, a woman took ill in the lift, not really visibly, but she was wobbly, pale and not 100%. A stranger, standing next to her, noticed this and helped her out of the lift, grabbed a member of TfL staff as they came out of the lift and asked for a place for the ill woman to sit down. The member of staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful either.

All I could think while I witnessed this was “is this the cold, unfriendly place I hear so much about?”.

So, is it just me? Do I only see all the good acts and people or do you also come across friendly, helpful, nice people in London?

One thing I can say is despite wanting to live in France for most of my life, for now I’m more than happy with our life in London 🙂


9 Responses

  1. I agree, I’ve found Londoners to be generally friendly. Apart from barstaff, who are usually awful. I also think people are usually in a terrible hurry, so London with small children in busy spaces can be stressful as they get barged, but otherwise I love it!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I think the getting barged is the worst thing, especially at the height that kids are at. But I’m probably just as much to blame as I’m always “hurry, hurry, hurry”. *Makes note to self to slow things down.*

  2. Judith says:

    I’ve found Londoners to be quite friendly, helpful and smiley.

    Every time I travel back to Paris (I am French), I always find people to be cold and rather contemptuous. It’s strange because I’ve never noticed before moving to the UK!

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Moving back to the UK (London) made me realise quite how cold and unfriendly people are on the French Riviera (where I lived for 13 years), I don’t think you realise when you live amongst it every day.

  3. Honest Mum says:

    I think it depends, as a metropolis people are busier and don’t always have time but I did witness a lot of kindness too in the 11 years I lived there.

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      It definitely depends, you can come across lovely people, and totally rude people too. So far I’ve had lots of good luck with lovely people 🙂

  4. Zorba says:

    Not really. I am amazed to hear that London is friendly. It is NOT. Helping a pale looking lady? I wouldn’t consider that being helpful (only in one sense) cos what else would you do? Just ignore the poor, sick person and let them faint? You just have to take a look around and it isn’t hard to miss the cold, aloof, indifferent attitude people have. Nobody looks at each other, smiles, talks. Everyone looks miserable and gloomy. Everyone seems to be totally disconnected from each other, lacking that sense of community a human is supposed to have. Being social with strangers seems to be a strict no-no (WE ARE SOCIAL BEINGS!!)., forget about having open, heart to heart, enriching conversations. Even if you do crack a joke or make a lighthearted remark to someone, they seem surprised, dumbstruck and have a weird look on their face.

    No., I don’t find London to be a friendly city. Polite? Yes, may be. But polite is different from friendly. One is ritualized nicety. The other is genuinely reaching out and making a connection.

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I’m sorry you feel that way, I’ve always found people to be so friendly, helpful and smiley. Obviously it makes a big difference if you greet people with a smile first – it’s hard to return a smile with a frown after all 😉

  5. Jamie C says:

    I am an Asian. I recently visited to London and I only stayed there for four days. Even with this short visit, I found most people who I talked to are very nice and friendly. I was a bit surprised on this aspect, as I did not expect that.

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