Why We Prefer Silent Uber Rides, According to a Psychologist

Mar 30, 2019

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Earlier this month, a radio station shared a viral Tweet featuring a “Ride Type Menu” posted in the back of an Uber. The menu, which is the work of driver George Ure, an Uber driver in the Seattle area, allows riders to choose what type of ride they’d like to have.

The menu lists five options for passengers, including The Silent Ride, The Stand-Up Ride, The Rude Ride, The Therapy Ride and The Creepy Ride. Descriptions ranged from The Stand Up Ride’s “I tell you about things that are funny” to The Creepy Ride’s “I don’t say anything. I just look at you from time to time in the rearview mirror” to The Rude Ride’s straightforward “I be as rude as possible.”

Though Ure didn’t intend for the menu to be taken seriously, the Tweet, which was sent out by user @LuisLovesGoats, has more than 545K likes and 100K retweets. According to Ure, the menu, “Started out as a complete joke” meant to “break the ice.”

TPG Lounge Reader Poll: Which Uber Ride Would You Pick?

We here at The Points Guy wanted to know more so we shared the menu with the TPG Lounge and asked readers to pick which ride they’d opt for. A consensus was quickly reached.

TPG Lounge Uber Conversation Results
TPG Lounge Results

Out of 576 responses, 84% of TPG Lounge readers selected The Silent Ride. In second place was The Stand-Up Ride, followed by The Rude Ride, The Therapy Ride, and finally, The Creepy Ride. A few readers who commented on the poll provided their own menu options including: The Political Debate Ride, The Tourist Ride (a ride during which the Uber driver talks about the city and points of interest) and The Normal Conversation Ride.

Options aside, it was time to find out why so many of us prefer the sweet sound of silence when it comes to ridesharing.

Why We Prefer Silent Uber Rides

As much as you may not want to have a conversation after a long day at work or after a long flight, there’s actually another reason riders might prefer to rideshare in silence.

“The psychology of being a passenger in a ride-share service involves a position of dependence with a stranger,” Dr. Seth Meyers, a licensed psychologist based in Los Angeles, told TPG. “Because you are in a dependent position with a stranger, it is natural, human behavior to be guarded and vigilant to your surroundings and any possible threats to safety.” Meyers explains that remaining quiet allows an individual to be more focused on external elements, such as environmental cues. Staying focused on the environment around us allows riders to ultimately achieve the goal of safety.

TPG asked Dr. Meyers whether or not being extroverted or introverted had anything to do with how we behave during Uber rides. While some might be under the impression that extroverts are more likely to engage in conversation with a driver or in a carpool situation, Dr. Meyers said that, in fact, “Many people confuse the true definition of introvert and extravert. The difference is not defined by how gregarious or socially timid you are, but by the degree to which you draw your internal energy from interactions with others.” Dr. Meyers continued, saying that, “Because the rider is in a dependent position with a stranger, there are safety concerns that trump one’s particular personality orientation.” Other things that could come into play according to Dr. Meyers are factors like a rider’s gender or race.

Should you find yourself in a situation where a driver or fellow passenger is not part of The Silent Ride movement, check out these tips for how to avoid a Chatty Cathy.

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Featured image courtesy of Uber

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