I've just returned from a 7 day conference, of which I spent a great deal of time observing peoples reaction in the lift of all places. Sounds strange, but why do people feel that they have to crack a joke, say something obvious, or just be awkward when it comes to sharing a space with someone in the small confines of a lift. We all feel like we need to add some noise when it comes to silence, some say ahh, others umm, or in the case of a lift, something even more bizzarre. Even professionals are'nt immune to this deadly virus, I witnessed a professional TV presenter crumble under the pressure of a failed satellite link with lots of umms and ahhs as she tried to regain her composure in front of the cameras.
So back to the lift, why do we feel a need to fill in voids of silence? are we not confident or comfortable with silence, or is it the confines of a small space that makes us react strangely - although this doesnt happen on the tube at all which is far more crowded and impersonal!