seven tips for making friends on a plane

Great friendships can be formed miles high in the air.  Though you should never expect a seatmate to become a soul mate, you may well meet a real-life rocket scientist who could turn out to become your future boss. shares some tips on making friends on board.

be prepared

Buy a bag of sweets, biltong or a chocolate and share with the person next to you. Many a friendship has been made over a shared snack.

staying fresh

From food to fragrance, if it’s overpowering, it’s nauseating. Ditch the fish-paste sarmies and potent perfume or aftershave and aim for a plane-friendly odourless waft.

smiling works

Make eye contact, smile, and say ‘Hi’ to your neighbour. A little bit of friendliness is enough to brighten anyone’s day.

be yourself

Try not to show off your high IQ, high-end job or trendy Hi-Tops. Just relax and be friendly.

pay compliments

Women notice other women’s shoes; men notice other men’s gadgets. Women wear shoes to show off to other women; men’s gadgets are status symbols. So do pay your neighbour a compliment if you notice their Manolo Blahniks or ask for advice on which tablet to buy or what’s the latest app to download.

choose your topic carefully

Stay away from sensitive topics that could offend your fellow passenger. Religion/sex/politics can get you into hot water as most people hold strong opinions and beliefs around these topics. Remember your approach, attitude, and personality should be non-threatening.

and lastly: Take a hint

If at any time you pick up any signals that indicate you should turn invisible, do so. Obvious hints could be if your seatmate becomes restless and less of a seatmate and more of an aisle walker, or they start talking to the guy across the aisle instead.

 There’s always your iPad/Kindle/laptop or inflight magazine to occupy your time so, don’t worry, conversation-making skills will improve with practice.