When I go to shul, I like to sit in the first or second row, by myself. Even if I arrive late, the first and second row are reliably empty, so I can have my pick of seats (I like to sit on the aisle) and I like to put my tallit bag on the seat to my right, effectively preventing anyone from sitting next to me. I do this intentionally so I won’t end up sitting next to someone I like and talking to them the whole time.
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