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Do assigned tablemates owe us pleasant polite conversation at dinner?

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Dec 15th, 2003, 12:56 PM
  #1
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Do assigned tablemates owe us pleasant polite conversation at dinner?

During a recent cruise, my wife and I were assigned to a table of four with another couple about our age. Our first impression of the couple was positive. They were about our age and shared a similar background. Though things went down hill from there. They were very unfriendly and uncommunicative. Even though we sat at the same table they basically acted like we were not there.

My question to the Fodor's community is this: Do your assigned tablemates on a cruise owe us an effort at making conversation? Or are they OK ignoring us? Is this basic manners for the year 2003, or have times changed?

Yes we should have asked to be reseated but did not follow-through.
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Dec 15th, 2003, 02:35 PM
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Yes, I think people should be polite and converse with their tablemates. I think it would be awkward to not want to speak with one another. You don't have to tell your life story or get into your personal business. You can talk about where you live, how your meal is, what you did that day, what you plan to do tomorrow, etc.
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Dec 15th, 2003, 02:55 PM
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Hi,

I don't think that we have to be friends, but I think it is entirely appropriate to exchange hellos, and good-byes. Some people aren't particularly outgoing and are private, so we need to respect their personalities, too. However, common courtesy is always a good thing.

Have a great day!
Julia
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Dec 16th, 2003, 04:11 AM
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What caused the sudden shift in behaviour? Seems strange to me.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 08:23 AM
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I find it peculiar that NEITHER couple asked for a change. I
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Dec 16th, 2003, 09:14 AM
  #6
JMM
 
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Is it possible that you said something that offended them or asked a question that was too intrusive ? I had something like that happen to me once and after that beyond hello and goodbye my husband and I did not choose to converse much. We did ask to change tables but the ship was full and no other was available.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 12:10 PM
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I don't think it is strange. You can tell if people want to talk or not. It is no different than being on a plane.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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I agree with JMM. I am willing to bet that you probably did something that pissed the other couple off. Perhaps it was unintentional and perhaps the other couple has thin skin, but the bottom line is that it sounds hard to believe your version of things.

I personally wouldn't ignore you even if you were dull and boring, but I imagine that some people would.

Yes, in the future, try and change tables.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 01:11 PM
  #9
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As far as I know we did not say anything that was offensive. We asked if anything was wrong and they said no.

I think it may be an issue of social class, they were both very good looking and successful. They might have viewed my wife and I as nerds!

Did the quarterback of the football team and the headcheerleader talk to us in high school?

We asked to move but was told that was impossible. The whole experience was odd and made us relive highschool. (20 years ago!)
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Dec 16th, 2003, 05:34 PM
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A few years ago we had a similar situation. Table for 6 with 2 other nice couples. One couple was great.. chatted, laughed, spent time with them outside of dinner. The other couple were "A-Holes". Wanted to keep to themselves, didn't want to chat, etc. We actually asked them what was up and they said they wanted a table for two but one wasn't available. NEVER assume it is you. I can be nice and polite to anyone I sit with, after all it's only a couple hours a day. Sounds like these folks didn't want to be anywhere but alone.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 06:13 PM
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Maybe you are carrying too much old baggage. My advice-don't relive the past.
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Dec 16th, 2003, 07:41 PM
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I don't think that people who wanted to keep to them selves and didn't want to chat are "A-Holes". Maybe they're just quiet types, or shy, or had really been looking forward to romantic dinners for two, or just didn't happen to care for you. I don't think they owe you anything.
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Dec 17th, 2003, 04:50 AM
  #13
esd
 
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I guess we've been fortunate in never having tablemate issues. 3 times we've been at tables for 6 or 8 and once at a table for 4. The easiest set-up was the table for 4, otherwise it was kind of hard to include everyone. Then again I can see where the one for 4 might have been a big problem had we not gotten along as well as we did. Not much in common on the surface..they were younger, both RN's, and big into ballroom dancing. But we got along well and I looked forward to seeing and talking to them over dinner.
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Dec 17th, 2003, 06:34 AM
  #14
 
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I was less fortunate during my last cruise. They assigned us a table for 4 so I had to sit with the in-laws/out-laws the entire cruise.

During our last New Year's cruise, we were seated in a back corner by one of the entrance ways, so we immediately changed our seating assignment the first day. We ended up at a table for 8 and had the best time as everyone at the table had "thin skin" so we could joke with each other without accidently hurting each other's feelings.

A Jewish immigration lawyer living on Long Island and working in Manhattan. I learned lots of new lawyer jokes.

I retired Seattle factory owner who lived in West Palm Beach. We had lots of laughs talking about the "land of the hanging chad."

An Accountant from Toronto -- He told some very interesting stories.

We were considered the "table of the cruise" -- The ones having the most fun.

It's just a crap shoot, but when I'm at a table with what appear to be "sticks in the mud," I force them into conversation, and once they open up, you'd be amazed at where the conversation might bring you.

Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
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Dec 17th, 2003, 07:18 AM
  #15
Jed
 
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Seems to me that if you "could joke with each other without accidently hurting each other's feelings," then everyone had "thick skin."

I hope your skin is thick enough to take this as a good-natured suggestion rather than hurting your feelings.
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Dec 17th, 2003, 09:44 AM
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Jed,

I did say "Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it," but you are correct. Substitute "thick" for "thin."

It must have been a brain burp.
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