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Old 02-01-2022, 07:38 PM
Common Loon Common Loon is offline
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Default Popping Etiquette?
@Yanzuh's story about the party store clerk revived an old question for me. What is the etiquette for popping balloons in a public place?

There's so much context that goes into this question in my mind. On one end of the spectrum there are times and places where it's 100% obvious that popping balloons is OK, like during a balloon drop at a crowded dance party. On the other end it can be 100% obvious that popping a balloon would be frowned upon at best, or would get you in trouble with the people around you. Like at an orchestra concert or on a crowded train.

In between though is a LOT of gray. How do people think about those gray areas? When do you feel comfortable popping in public situations?
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Old 02-01-2022, 07:46 PM
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Yanzuh Yanzuh is offline
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
The gray areas are something that does get me quite a bit. Like part of me just wanna say that balloons should never be popped in public, But I know that is ridiculous, there shouldn't be a ban on balloon popping just because there are people like me that are phobic. I think you should probably be somewhat in the clear if there are ample of room and ways for people who are phobic to exit the area without having to panic or trample people. I'm not really the smartest when it comes to these things and it's mostly because I don't really know what people would consider gray areas.
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Old 02-01-2022, 08:07 PM
Common Loon Common Loon is offline
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
Yeah it kind of defies usual categories of social behavior.

Like, there are a lot of loud noises that also are created by dangerous activities (firing a gun, lighting off a firecracker) and these things are very carefully socially policed because of the actual dangers they pose to people around them -- not because of the noise. But balloons make the loudest noise that people can *safely* make in everyday situations, so whatever social pressures exist in this category are related to sound and startle only, and not to actual physical danger.

Most people, in my experience, are completely unaware that balloon pop phobia exists. Or if they are, they don't believe phobias are a big deal. "Most" people generally don't consider a balloon pop noise to be a very significant thing worthy of their attention... and yet, I do think there is a hidden social code here that I'd love to unravel.
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Old 02-01-2022, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
I'd say don't do it in an enclosed quiet place with lots of people around. Also make sure anyone that might not like it can see you and get away easily. At a park for example might be okay. It should be quite clear what you're trying to do and people will be able to avoid you if they are scared of pops. Of course a lot of people won't think twice about this sort of thing, that's just what I'd say, having a phobia. Of course there's party cleanups and the like where there's obviously going to be popping, but people who are phobic will avoid it. Restaurants and trains are the worst possible places you could do it. Please don't any of you do that. Keep that to fantasy and stories.
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Old 02-01-2022, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
Restaurants and Trains I have to agree are the worst places. I was on a train going home in the afternoon and I was just sitting there minding my own business and a family with a little kid stepped on the train. The mom had this uninflated balloon that she kept blowing up and then making the annoying noise where you pull at the valve while letting the air out. And she just kept blowing it up bigger and bigger. Meanwhile I'm panicking but not wanting to show it so I just turn up the music on my headphones over and over. Thankfully it didn't end up popping but I am pretty sure it came close a few times.

Restaurants on the other hand I don't have many experiences with, besides McDonalds of course. I always always always hated going to McD's because in Sweden they used to hand out balloons. And while the McD's balloons are some of the prints I love the most seeing kids running around with them made me physically ill. And like sometimes it was just innocent things like a balloon would fall off the table when the kid is eating or such, but there were also those kids that like squeezed the balloons or just waved them around violently when they were on the sticks and the thing that made me the most nervous was when the kids would be leaving or walking somewhere while holding the balloon, they would never think about how they are holding it so they would hold the stick pointing downward so that the balloon would sometimes scrape against the ground. But all of that is nothing against the older kids and teenagers that would walk into a McD's just to take a balloon and instantly go outside and jump on them. That happened every time I went into Stockholm with my class in school. We would often eat at the McD's and my class mates would take pretty much all the balloons that were in the balloon stand and just pop them because they found it really funny.
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Old 03-01-2022, 01:08 AM
lyckr lyckr is offline
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
As others have said, tight places where people can't easily get away is a big no. Personally I try to keep my distance if I see balloons in public places, unless they're clearly for decorations and are more or less out of reach from people.
If it's a big open location with lots of noise and people already, then I guess popping one or two is fine.
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Old 03-01-2022, 07:16 AM
b0f0s0f b0f0s0f is offline
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
It gets down into the nitty-gritty of what constitutes an acceptable amount to scare strangers in public, I think. Obviously it's not ok to scare people by e.g. faking a punch or swerving your car at them, where there's risk of actual or perceived danger. On the other hand, if you're doing something ordinary and someone gets randomly surprised (turns around and didn't know you were there) that's obviously not an issue. The question is when you get to the region between "mild startle at the noise followed by immediate recovery" and "thought they were being shot at or something else very dangerous was occurring." Frankly I would argue that you really ought not to be scaring people at all if possible, so you shouldn't be popping balloons anywhere within earshot of a place with a lot of people unless balloons are present and popping is expected. Especially something like a blow-to-pop which has an awfully high energy "crack" that might scare the daylights out of people nearby. It's a pretty serious shock to send to someone's nervous system, especially if they're sensitive, so out of courtesy I wouldn't do it unless people either expect it or it's far away enough to not scare anyone.
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Old 03-01-2022, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
I think most looners, by virtue of balloons already being more significant to us than to most people, are already more conscious of public balloon play. We think more about balloons and would be more mindful of the way others might view balloons.

Most non looners dont give much thought to how another person might be affected by a balloon. To an average, non phobic, balloons might seem like a weird thing to be afraid of.
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Old 03-01-2022, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
Well that has been proven over and over again, tell a non looner and non phobic person that you are scared of balloons and a lot of the time you will get laughed out of the room. It's the reason I have never told any of my friends that I used to hang around with, because it would just result in them popping balloons to make me uncomfortable.
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Old 03-01-2022, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Popping Etiquette?
Sounds like you need better friends. If you explained its a phobia and yet they still do it, are you sure they're the type of people you want to hang around with?
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