Britney Spears Walking and Talking

10/11/2012 6:30 AM PDT

Britney Spears -- Walking and Talking

Britney Spears
was in rare form yesterday -- she was actually chatty and friendly!

Not surrounded by hoards of security and paparazzi for a change while shopping on Robertson Blvd., our photog actually got to ask Miss Spears a few personal questions -- about her new gig on "X Factor," her kids, and Madonna -- and the usually tight-lipped pop star answered them.

Maybe being around the enigmatic Simon Cowell has rubbed off on her ... in a good way.