I am in a tug of war situation where I can't find a polite way to ask my friend not to take selfies or ask him to delete the ones he has taken even while I refused.

He takes selfies while we are having random conversation. It's not that he is shooting himself and I accidentally appear in background. He specifically includes me in frame.

While taking selfie is common in India but I for some reasons don't feel like posing and taking it. I feel it's an intentionally made up moment.

I am also not comfortable with the thought of having my photographs in someone's without my consent.

I am alright with a group photo or the ones taken with my consent.

I cannot just grab his phone and delete those. It would be rude and lead to awkward situation and maybe breakup.

Looking for a polite and rational approach.

  • 2
    Please feel free to point out what's lacking in my question that it qualified for down vote. I wish to clarify it as best I can.
    – Rahul
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 21:07
  • Could you add what kind of interaction with your friend occurs at these moments? I presume you see the camera lens/smartphone facing you, so can't you just put your hands in front of your face? Also, in your local culture is taking selfies a commonly accepted activity? And is this occurring in public places? (BTW not my downvote)
    – user3169
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 21:16
  • 5
    "I can't find a polite way to ask my friend". OK, but did you at least say something to your friend like "Why are you doing that? I don't like it."? And his response? You only mention a physical response, which is not polite.
    – user3169
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 23:04
  • 1
    Where are you located? Interpersonal skills are culturally specific?
    – user288
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 18:31

5 Answers 5


He takes selfies while we are having random conversation. It's not that he is shooting himself and I accidentally appear in background. He specifically includes me in frame.

I'll assume that this is a frequently recurring situation. So, let's look at it how it could possibly be handled progressively:

Stage 1 (say, first 5-6 instances):

Make very polite requests:

"Listen buddy, please don't include me in the selfies you take. I'm not that type, and I don't like it".

After the first couple of attempts, you could assert yourself with, "I've told you before", every single time.

Stage 2 (say, next 5 instances):

He specifically includes me in frame.

While this clarifies his intent, it doesn't really specify how aware you are when included in the frame each time. Assuming you're aware, distance yourself from the frame for the first few times (in stage 2). If your requests are still not respected, politely walk away. If it's a group setting, it is entirely plausible that, one or more people around you (including the friend in question) might try to stop you or question you. You could simply resort to saying the following, with a wry smile:

"Sorry, I just remembered that I have something else to do too, aside from clicking selfies."

This should send a pretty audible signal of your disapproval. If you've set yourself afoot, it's important to understand that you shouldn't give into the persuasions to stop. If you do so, it could indicate that:

  • You didn't really mean what you said, and / or
  • You were only trying to grab some extra attention by creating a scene.

So, follow this advice only when you're absolutely sure that you can and you must.

Stage 3:

Be diplomatic. Start avoiding the company, especially when outdoors or during breaks, which is when the "selfie syndrome" is more likely to click in. When you know that the selfies can't be taken (for example, in the lecture hall, if this is a college friend), you could still choose to be with them.

You might want to consider increasing the avoidance gradually, if you're unable to turn the situation in your favour still.


Now, the avoidance could lead up to either of the following two outcomes:

  • If they sideline you too, you'd know which "type of friends" you want to be with.

  • If they start getting back to you, you'll have the opportunity to play your cards:

"It's not that I don't want to be friends. However, friendship isn't just about selfies. Please can you give some consideration to my lifestyle too and delete all those pics which you've taken before, despite my disapproval? Would you at least ask me if I want to be included in a pic or not?"

Note: While this could help you retain your friendship with this "friend", it could subtly also mean that, on certain occasions, to not appear like a total jerk, you may have to give-in into the requests of clicking pics (for example, someone's birthday or anniversary).

You win some, you lose some. :)


Polite and rational as we want, but since it is not astrophysics and your friend apparently resists to your explicit objections, you may just have to get less polite.

I don't like having my picture taken. Could you please not do that ?

That's polite, but it is also presumably what you already told him. Did it work ?

It is also as rational as it needs to be. You do not like to be in selfies, period. That is all the explanation that is needed. You must not feel that you need to be excused.

If he chooses to be disrespectful and insist, he can well be told in less polite terms. You don't want to be rude, but he already is.

All good:

You look like a jackass with that thing.

Piss off.

I AM going to throw that in the Ganges.


I come from a similar society as yours in terms of mobile phones and selfie-craze (Pakistan) and I used to find myself on the receiving end of the same situation but once someone posted a selfie doing dinner with me on fb. I don't use fb so didn't know about it until few days later when someone commented on it sarcastically during conversation with me.

Till then, I didn't use to mind anyone taking selfie or even posting it (personally I don't like this thing and very rarely practiced it) but how do I handle it now:

How do I handle it

On lunch table:

(Just after having our seats): Hey guys! Let's clear one thing in start. Noone will use phone - just focus on lunch/dinner! There are more than 800 million people in the world who go hungry to their beds and if we are Blessed enough to eat, we should respect them and not post food anywhere on social media.(and couple of others join and soon its approved - it really works)

When talking together:

(If someone tries to take selfie): Come on yaar! Be a man! This is hobby of (teen) girls. Pics always look good in natural set-up, etc. (and it works there too)

Remember one thing: In start, you will have to be bit resilient/defiant - a few days and soon they will realize you seriously dislike it. Best of luck!

  • 9
    "This is hobby of (teen) girls." I imagine they will be many women that will be offended by that statement. Even celebrities take selfies. It's just hobby, you can't have a say to belittle someone who loves to take selfies.
    – Vylix
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 5:56
  • 2
    Good shot for 6 @Talha Irfan but I am allowed to give you just 1 upvote. Please note that somebody here might possibly object to this part: "Come on yaar! Be a man! This is hobby of (teen) girls" but it works for the intended purpose in your context. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 5:58
  • 1
    I was thinking what you was thinking but you posted first by few seconds, @Vylix. Please note the statement works in context for its intended purpose of making the person not take a selfy. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 6:00
  • 1
    Some people would say 'top edged for 6 behind WK' but it works in your situation, @Talha Irfan. Not outright offensive statement but some readers might have their own opinion about calling anything a girls' hobby. Whether or not the most diplomatic statement here you can consider later. No need to edit but be prepared for some comments. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 6:12
  • 2
    @TalhaIrfan: English Student is right. Generalizing selfie hobby for teen girls is gonna get some souls furious. Everyone is doing it and that's fine if one wants to get validation on social media or just wanna capture moments eating, making duck faces or posing in washrooms.
    – Rahul
    Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 11:31

You have to be straight-forward here.

"Please no Selfies, Sir."

"I am camera conscious"

"I feel uncomfortable giving selfies."

You have to tell them emphatically & that you strictly mean it. You should not hesitate while saying it. They will understand the seriousness & definitely they will think twice before doing it again.

Make sure you say it, like you mean it.


Just tell him that you don't want to appear on photos. He has to respect your privacy. And as your friend he has to respect your wishes.

I can only imagine how close he/she is to you as a friend. So if your friend continues after that then your only option is to be a little rude to him. A good "stop being a jerk" should be enough for him to notice you that taking those photos is making you uncomfortable.

Now all this depends on closeness to your friend. Other option is to open yourself on why its uncomfortable to you to be on photos. Often an good honest reason is all that a friend needs to hear.

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