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Sometimes when my friends/colleagues (2-3 people) and I travel by train there is another group of people who play songs on their mobile phones without using headphones and on full volume.

Many of us (as well as other passengers) get disturbed by the loud music, however, they are a large group of people (around 5-6 people), so we can't be rude towards them in order to get them to stop.

So, how can we ask them to stop the music, without making a problem or being rude?

At the moment, we move to another place on the train or sometimes, in retaliation, we play music even louder than their music (this is not a solution but we are doing so only to disturb them as they disturb us).

  • The obvious answer to this question is "to learn to be assertive". Please edit this question to add details about the specific problem you are facing beyond learning to be assertive while polite. Playing louder music is obviously counterproductive! – curiousdannii Jun 29 '17 at 14:25
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I'm from India too... There is no way anyone would listen. Even the police couldn't do anything if they tried. I've had a similar experience. I add on to the answer given by @Crafter0800, as one with a little bit of insight on Indians, and their normal temperament.

As you've already done something, and they haven't reacted to it, your only hope is to sit in another compartment, or perhaps to tell them to play music a little softer than they normally do. By playing your own music even louder than theirs, you have strained any chances of getting them to stop by just politely asking them. That was not a good thing to do at all.

However, I would still recommend you to ask them, at least once, to lower the volume, with a few 'pleases' and 'sorrys' inserted, so that they don't take offense. If they stop, then you're in luck, but if they don't, and get agitated, do yourself a favour, and quietly move to another compartment with your friends, and try to avoid these people. If there is any kind of argument, the other group will definitely have an upper hand, due to their larger number. Absolutely do not get into an argument/fight.

As a word of advice, in best of interests, please don't let your ego come in the way, as it might further aggravate the situation.

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Well firstly you've already made your own life harder. By playing your own loud music, not only are you disturbing even more people on the transport, but are also acting hostile towards the other group, trying to "compete" with them. As a result of this, a direct contact between you (i.e. asking them to stop) is something I wouldn't recommend or something that would go down very well.

Firstly, move somewhere else. If there's other carriages which you can go on go on them instead, away from where you can hear the noise. If there aren't any other carriages then simply move as far away from them as possible, then use your own headphones to listen to music, this prevents you hearing their noise and using headphones prevents you disturbing others too. Of course you could always enjoy the music they're playing, if you don't mind listening to it just get along with it and enjoy the free music being provided, you shouldn't be looking to create unnecessary conflict.

Now if you absolutely must ask them to stop, it's best to take a few things into account:

  • How many people are being effected compared to the number of people that don't mind it? If the people who don't like it are the minority, then you'll most likely have to lump it as the majority of people on the train won't really mind.
  • Can you get someone else to ask them to stop? Preferably get a conductor or some other employed person who works on the train (i.e. their job is to check tickets or whatever, I'm not sure how the travel system works in India), as they will have more authority to ask them to stop. If you can't, find another passenger not part of your group to ask them to stop. As you've attempted to "compete" with them by playing your own loud music, getting a third party (or just someone that hasn't tried to act hostile towards them) will most likely be more effective in getting them to stop the music.
  • Would it be even wise to attempt to ask them to stop? You've mentioned yourself that "So we can't be rude to them.", so that implies that doing so will result in some argument, and if asking them to stop is likely to result in an argument, don't do it. Just bear it, and do some of the above steps, the fact that you're able to play your own loud music means that on some level you are okay hearing it (as you're doing what they're doing, but worse, and seem to be okay doing it). Even if it means taking a different train or something like that, getting into an argument, especially with a large group of people, is something bad. Even if we provide the best way to talk to them that we claim is guaranteed to work, never underestimate the things people in large groups will do.

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