Questions tagged [strangers]

Questions about interacting with people you are not familiar with.

6
votes
2answers
406 views

How to ask someone to not try to fix your issues

Sometimes, you talk to someone about a problem you are facing and what you want them to say is something like: Oh yeah, that sucks. However, the person might not get the hint and well instead tell ...
11
votes
2answers
998 views

Happy Juneteenth?

I recently learned about Juneteenth. For anyone not familiar: Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas ...
60
votes
8answers
16k views

How to make clear to people I don't want to answer their “Where are you from?” question?

I live in the UK but am not originally from here, having moved in the last decade. Quite often when I talk to people I get asked where I'm from. It usually seems to be in response to my accent, as I'...
7
votes
1answer
483 views

How to respond to complaints from strangers about my loud toddler child?

Yesterday we did grocery shopping in our local supermarket, as every week. Normally, my dad would babysit my son (2.5 years) for this time, but it was not possible, so the child joined us. My son ...
6
votes
1answer
474 views

How to look at someone's apparel or tattoos without appearing weird?

I've often found myself admiring someone's tattoo simply for its intricate patterns and neat colors or observing someone's shirt that might have a logo or emblem of a popular video game that they ...
10
votes
1answer
591 views

How to address the disapproval of someones actions when he/she throws litter on the ground

Today I was cycling home from work. I was just cycling past a group of two girls when one of them hit me carelessly when she was throwing her tin can of energy drink on the ground. They said "sorry ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How to tell an unknown cyclist I don't want to give them the pace

I commute to work by bike. Being tall and going at a fair speed, I am aware a give a good wake. Sometimes it happens that some other cyclist, a complete stranger to me, simply stitch behind me and ...
6
votes
2answers
611 views

Professor gets cursory requests for advice from total strangers — how to make them be more considerate?

I am a professor in a popular STEM field with a reasonably prominent list of publications, enough that if you Google AREA or method XXX you may encounter my name. About once a week I receive emails ...
4
votes
4answers
769 views

How to make a new trainee feel comfortable at lunch?

Today, one of my coworkers "tasked" me to eat with the new trainee (so that she won't eat alone since my colleague wasn't available for lunch). I wanted this person to feel comfortable so I started ...
6
votes
3answers
948 views

How to tell a stranger that the way I wish to educate my child is none of his/her business?

Consider the following scenario: I'm taking my kid (5 years old) to a coffeeshop and we do some 'math problems'. By math problems I mean that I explain him about the numbers, addition, counting and so ...
8
votes
2answers
787 views

How can I ask someone in a quiet library to stop clearing their throat?

I have ADHD and as such have terrible difficulty maintaining my concentration, especially when working on homework. Because of this, I often like to work on the "quiet floor" of my university's ...
4
votes
1answer
550 views

How can I support my aunt when she is being “yelled” at by a stranger?

The other day, I was in some kind of park where children had tools and material to build huts. Since they weren't a lot of material, when a hut was finished it was then dismantled and the material was ...
4
votes
2answers
663 views

Complimenting a complete stranger on public transportation

The other day, I was in the subway when I saw a bag with a very funny joke on it. The joke made me smile, so I wanted to compliment the person wearing it (my thought was that they brightened my day ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

How to tell a user at the gym that it's not OK to use one machine and “reserve” another one?

The following situation has happened to me several times: A user in the gym is using some machine or equipment (a bench, a row machine, a bar, etc.). When I'm going to use another machine or ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Proper etiquette when walking at night to not scare people [duplicate]

When walking around at night, I feel like some other people walking around may be worried. Everyone who knows me knows there is no need for worry, but my stature could make me look threatening to a ...
15
votes
2answers
470 views

How can I offer to take care of the dog of a stranger when he/she is not home?

I live in an apartment building and I can often hear a dog whining in the apartment above mine, presumably because the owner is not home. The noise is only a slight bother, I more so feel bad for the ...
4
votes
2answers
386 views

How to approach an unknown person via email if I only have a name that sounds like her nickname?

So, I am researching master courses opportunities on a university at a different country (Scotland) and I was talking to the course director via email, asking about the workload of the course and he ...
4
votes
3answers
401 views

How to gracefully ask HOA residents about their experiences?

I am currently looking for a condominium and would like to ask the residents within the HOA (Home Owner Association) building about their experiences with said HOA. This most likely involves knocking ...
8
votes
2answers
464 views

public transport: how to know (non-verbally) if someone needs a seat?

I'm someone who gets easily physically tired. This means that, on public transportation, I will almost always look for a seat. Some days, there are no seats available but I'm so tired that I will ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Non-disabled people parking on handicap spots

This morning, when I went to the local bakery, a woman (maybe around 25 years old) parking on the handicap spot right in front of the store. To me, she didn't look disabled at all. Granted, not every ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Gently turning down undesired physical contact/setting boundaries in a nightclub environment

In many ways this question mirrors Asking a girl whether she would like to dance with me The setting: I am alone in a nightclub. I am located in a city/region known for being culturally progressive ...
4
votes
0answers
279 views

How to start the conversation with my neighbor [closed]

I'm a boy in my twenties and I'm living in my parent's house in the north of France. For more than one year we have new neighbors. Their daughter (who is about my age) is beautiful and I want to get ...
2
votes
1answer
305 views

How should I converse with a stranger [closed]

I am a male freshman in university, and don't have many friends as my modules are mostly taught in a flipped classroom fashion. There is a module I'm taking right now and since I have been ...
8
votes
3answers
928 views

How to avoid shaking hands?

I recently developed dyshidrosis, which makes my palms look disgusting. So I don't want to show my hands to anybody to see. People often do not looking at the hands when shaking, and this eczema ...
11
votes
2answers
631 views

How to gently and compassionately stop a stranger talking to you about their problems?

I recently dropped my wallet while shopping, reached out among local lost-and-found groups on Facebook, made contact with someone who found it and made arrangements with them to meet up so they can ...
4
votes
1answer
448 views

I noticed an old friend of mine has died. Should I contact her father (whom I've never met) to ask about her death? [closed]

I had a friend whom I met online, who seemed to disappear from the internet almost a year ago. I do not know anyone else who also knew her. She is a person I had known for some years, who I met up ...
90
votes
17answers
22k views

How to handle people blocking your view and breaking the rules at the theater by not sitting in their assigned seats?

A while ago, my parents/brothers and I went to visit a theatre performance (in The Netherlands, where we live). We booked really nice first class tickets with empty seats in front of us. We booked ...
14
votes
4answers
7k views

How to turn down unsolicited advice at the gym? [duplicate]

I'm going to the gym quite frequently, so does the guy this question revolves around. I don't really like chit-chatting (or talking in general) while im working out - I'm usually in my zone, with ...
19
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it OK to engage in strangers' conversation during a break in a lecture?

I was recently on an public meeting with 2 famous journalists. As it's usual, firstly there was an organized discussion lead by the host, after which there was a space for questions from the audience. ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I politely say no to a stranger asking to use my phone to make a personal call?

TL;DR A stranger approached me and asked me if they could use my phone. I didn't want to be rude and say no bluntly, so I wavered, and felt uncomfortable. How do I say no to strangers asking for use ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I ask a stranger who I'd be living with if he believes in weird things?

I'm a master student (20+) that for the last 6 months has been renting a room in an older woman's (50+) house, that is we're living in the same house (just two of us). Unfortunately, I didn't have a ...
15
votes
6answers
4k views

How to convey (non-awkwardly) that its my birthday? [duplicate]

First off, I know that this question is very close to mine, but has no answer that would match my needs. Secondly, I find it shocking how many people answer for a workplace situation. This question ...
2
votes
1answer
752 views

How to approach a random person that appears to be interested in you?

A lot of the time (3-5 times a month) when I'm walking in the street or sitting on the public transit random strangers will make eye contact with me for more than 3 seconds and also smile at me in a ...
22
votes
2answers
5k views

Offering free food to random people as a kind gesture, without being condescending or strange

I recently watched a YouTube video of a person who was handing out free food to random people - donuts, iced coffees, etc. - and so, inspired by this, I bought an ice cream bar last night for a ...
1
vote
1answer
359 views

As a student, how can I negotiate appropriate sleeping arrangements with strangers for an academic conference?

I'm an undergraduate student that was offered a role researching for a grant. I was able to get authorship status on a paper and will be attending a conference for it later this year. The professor I ...
2
votes
2answers
855 views

How to respond to a stranger's compliments on my themed t-shirt when I am unfamiliar with the theme?

The compliments I receive about my choice of clothes are from my relatives and close friends, which I can just say "thanks!" without sounding disinterested or off-putting as they know me well and ...
42
votes
3answers
14k views

How do I tell between compliments and 'ball' jokes while juggling?

While training juggling in a park, from behind me I heard a female's voice say, "You are really good with your balls." The vocal inflection was that of a compliment, but she didn't reference juggling ...
9
votes
4answers
812 views

Does the way that someone signs an email change how I should address them?

Imagine you write an email to a professor (or, to avoid academic specifics, councillor) Joseph Doe whom you never met personally before: Dear Professor (Councillor) Doe, blah-blah-blah ...
17
votes
5answers
6k views

I sent an email about an urgent message, but want to call instead. How to correct?

Note: this is not a situation I am currently facing, but I have faced in the recent past. I apologized afterwards, which helped, but I'd rather learn how to fix the problem before it even occurs. My ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

A stranger keeps calling and is confused that my phone number is his friend's old phone number

A man called me a few times today- I'll refer to him as "Bill". He was looking for a man named Wayne. He is pretty upset that Wayne's old number happens to now be my number. He explained that he has ...
13
votes
2answers
774 views

How can I wait in line for the bathroom without crowding people as they exit?

When I'm in a public establishment and there's a wait for the bathroom, I prefer not to stand too close to the door, because then I'm right in the face of the person exiting. In particular, I think ...
2
votes
1answer
307 views

How to politely notify someone that they are not using proper car safety (possibly against the law)? [closed]

The title feel awkward, so if anyone can improve it, that would be great. Here's what I mean: Sometimes you walk along the street and see someone in a car without a seat belt. Let's assume it's ...
7
votes
3answers
876 views

Politely rejecting unwanted attention at a nightclub.

I am in a happy relationship, so when I go to a nightclub with friend(s) I am not looking to pick anyone up, or dance with anyone other than the people/person I came out with. When I go out to a ...
104
votes
9answers
37k views

How can I tactfully refuse to switch seats on flights?

On flights, seatmates (strangers near my seat) have asked me to swap my aisle seat (reserved in advance, sometimes paid for), usually to my disadvantage as their seat has some snag (dirtier, narrower, ...
18
votes
8answers
7k views

How to recover from being falsely seen as a racist?

So here is the story: It was a Saturday night and my wife and I were sitting outside, drinking. We've already had a few drinks and we were talking, listening to music, in a good mood if you will. I ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I respond to well-meaning comments at the gym?

I go to the gym twice a week. I like the people there, I love what I do, my trainer is great. The only issue I have, is that, well, I'm fat. I'm tall and fat, and people constantly assume that no ...
22
votes
6answers
11k views

How can I tell someone I don't like the way they speak?

I can't stand "cutesy voice". That is, people who put on a high pitched squeal when they talk, who choose to say things like "wuv" over "love" or say things that are dark in a cute way. It's made ...
6
votes
5answers
921 views

How can I politely end a conversation started at a nightclub?

How can I politely end a conversation with a stranger whom I don't want to speak to? Particularly one that seems to interested in sparking some romance? This happened to me last weekend and it's ...
64
votes
9answers
21k views

How do I handle strangers who want to “borrow” a cigarette and give nothing in return?

I'm a Spanish 26 year old guy. I have the appearance of what people would call "loser good guy", so when I'm hanging out (mainly at night clubs) it's really frequent people ask out for a cigarette (...
2
votes
2answers
955 views

Aggressive, cursing, unpredictable neighbor causing fear in community [closed]

I live in a small, quiet, and friendly apartment complex in a nice and fairly crime-free area of town. Recently, a middle-aged man moved into a unit near mine, living with his father, and has been ...