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Questions tagged [strangers]

Questions about interacting with people you are not familiar with.

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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to carry a conversation with a stranger?

I'm in my early 30s in the US and have been suffering loneliness for a long time and try to attend more social events, but I found myself having difficulty carrying conversations with strangers ...
24 votes
4 answers
4k 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 ...
25 votes
5 answers
8k views

How to deal with a person that does something wrong like littering or hitting a dog and yells at you when you tell them that they did something wrong?

In my life I come across people that do things that are wrong (and most of the times illegal) like littering, hitting animals, parking on the pavement without leaving an inch for pedestrians to pass. ...
5 votes
1 answer
5k views

How to know how much money to give someone for a ride home?

With my work, we sometimes travel to different locations. At the end of the day, it's common for people to offer and ask for rides home. There was one person who lived relatively close to me. We never ...
45 votes
7 answers
14k views

How to avoid "who are you?" as a response to "how are you?"

Last week, I got a phone call from an unknown number, and the conversation went this way: Her : How are you? Me  : Who are you? To put things in context, she turned out to be an old ...
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

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

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 was ...
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

How to ask people not to push in front of me at concerts?

I have some experience with concerts (mostly heavy-metal ones, but pretty sure it's the same for any genre). And every time some people try get to the front rows either by just walking as they have a ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to handle being a faster-paced walker than someone you are walking behind?

I am a 6'2 male with fairly long legs. As a consequence, I find that I am a much faster walker than most people (even compared to other tall people...I just have a quicker pace). I often find myself ...
19 votes
9 answers
5k views

Is there a general rule for when/how to compliment a stranger? [closed]

The title pretty much says it all, I know there are cases where giving compliments to strangers makes them uncomfortable (for example, catcalling), but as I understand it there is a separate set of ...
22 votes
6 answers
19k 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
724 views

Confront supposed harassment/abuse on a bus stop

Scenario: You walk by a bus station and notice a, supposedly, couple that behaves suspicious. The woman seems to be afraid of the man (stares to the ground, submissive posture, he holds her arm ...
64 votes
9 answers
23k 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'...
9 votes
6 answers
3k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
956 views

How to handle seemingly friendly questions from stranger in social situation that ask you where you work etc?

Background : you are at a bar or some similar social place, where people gather and meet, and someone has struck up a friendly conversation with you, talking about the game playing on TV, etc, and ...
11 votes
5 answers
16k views

When should I make eye contact with someone I intend to walk past?

I am an adult male living in the US, in case it matters. Anyway, there's something I do when walking past people on a (not too busy) sidewalk or in a hallway, where I will make eye contact with them,...
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

How can I let a TikTok creator know that their content is revealing their home address without being creepy?

Tina There is this TikTok* creator that I follow, her name is Tina*. Tina is creating workout videos as well as more personal content where she is telling jokes, talking to her siblings and parents, ...
16 votes
5 answers
8k 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
819 views

How to let people know I am fine?

When I'm sitting by myself, people sometimes come to talk to me or ask me if I'm okay. I suspect this is because when I'm not controlling my expressions, it looks like I'm scowling or frowning, and ...
23 votes
8 answers
19k views

How do I politely tell a stranger to stop making annoying noises I can't name?

Background I've encountered this problem several times and under different circumstances. It really annoys me when people constantly make noises with their mouth. Now, I can't name them and they come ...
7 votes
1 answer
642 views

How to tell a doctor or nurse to speak to me in technical details without being rude

I have regular appointments with nurses and doctors due to a long term but not serious health condition. It's often a new doctor or nurse I see each time so I have to try to judge how best to ...
3 votes
1 answer
277 views

How can I support someone I don't really know through a divorce?

A person I know online from a writing site recently had her parents get divorced. I first messaged her about a month or two ago, probably mid December before Christmas. As far as I can tell, which isn'...
11 votes
3 answers
9k views

How to start a conversation with a 'stranger' from school?

After the summer holidays, I'll be a senior in high school. My year consists of about 100 people, and I approximate that I've never had a word with 30-50 of them. It's not that there were no occasions ...
3 votes
2 answers
800 views

How to ask potential wedding photographer about low number of reviews

My fiance and I are looking at wedding photographers. She found one she says is perfect (matches our budget and preferred style). We talked with him over the phone yesterday and he seemed like a great ...
2 votes
1 answer
805 views

How to save face and apologize after a text was taken the wrong way?

Okay, so our coaching has a discussion forum for all members to post questions related to our studies. The group is on Telegram, where I'm registered with a gender-neutral username and a profile pic ...
5 votes
3 answers
940 views

How to talk reasonably to a stubborn person without turning them into a disaster?

My best friend, Liz, is shy, introvert and has anxiety. Sometimes she asks me when I have free time to accompany her to parties, shopping and doing stuff so she feels more comfortable with me around. ...
2 votes
1 answer
371 views

Are there any common hand signals/gestures one can use while wearing a mask that can communicate simple things to others?

I live in New York City — The Big Apple! One of the largest cities in the world! — and also the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. As such, I’ve been wearing a mask daily for ...
1 vote
1 answer
501 views

How to respond to strangers who shout compliments across the street?

One sunny afternoon, I was walking down a relatively large downtown street in Canada, when I head a loud voice from across the street: Nice shirt! Looking good! I immediately turned my head and ...
2 votes
1 answer
712 views

How to deal with rude remarks from strangers on the street?

Today as I was waiting at the traffic light a old lady came and yelled at me with very rude and loud voice "You have to press the button!!!". I pass there every day and it makes no difference whether ...
19 votes
7 answers
11k 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 ...
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Refusing to let people in

I work in a facility where it is open to the public except for a small section. I work in this section and this section requires an access card when entering the door (anyone can buy one, but it is ...
4 votes
3 answers
654 views

How to make people write down correctly my email, without being condescending?

I have a quite common (in my country) name and surname, so I have a personal email address that is like [email protected], the country suffix added because john.smith was already taken. It is ...
4 votes
1 answer
589 views

How to identify and approach persons of low income with the aim to help [closed]

I apologize in advance if this seems distasteful in any way, I'm genuinely trying to be helpful. I live in a low income area in the UK, however I am fairly comfortable financially. It pains me ...
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

How could I have better handled telling this minority woman I liked her cultural hairstyle?

Background This happened in Netherlands. I have some mixed ancestry. I mostly look like a Dutch person, except for my curly bush of hair and my olive skin. In school I got bullied a lot because of my ...
9 votes
1 answer
822 views

When offering a ride through a ride-share app, how to politely assign obese people to the front seat?

I use a rideshare app when travelling between cities, which I often do. This saves money and is often very fun. People evaluate you as a driver, and it is important to keep a good score. I let 3 ...
11 votes
2 answers
10k views

How to politely ask for a price for a commision, when I only intend to ask?

I wanted to ask for a price for a commission from an artist. However, my budget is lower than what I think the commission would be worth, hence I intend to only ask for the price and not buy the ...
12 votes
6 answers
2k 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 ...
94 votes
17 answers
24k 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
807 views

Etiquette about crossing a door when someone also wants to cross from the opposite side?

Let's take the following situation: I'm on the outside and want to go inside Someone is inside and want to go outside The door is open (one of us is holding it) There isn't enough room for both of ...
-1 votes
3 answers
1k views

How can I find out how many photos I should take If I'm given a film camera to take a picture?

On occasion, when I go to tourist hotspots, people sometimes give me their cameras and ask me to take pictures of them. Most of the time, those are digital camera (e.g. smartphones), and it makes ...
25 votes
4 answers
6k views

How many photos should I take If I'm given a camera to take a picture?

I live in a fairly touristic place and get asked to take pictures of strangers a lot. When I do this, I get a little bit self-conscious thinking if they are saying to themselves "this dude is taking ...
19 votes
3 answers
2k views

Negative feedbacks and "Language smoother"

I don't know what is the "scientific" term for that but I noticed that, when people give negative feedback, they sometimes use "tricks" to make their words less harsh. For example, they will use ...
6 votes
3 answers
999 views

Goal: make conversation enjoyable for another person which you barely know, but has made it clear she wants to chat

I'm staying in an AirBnB and the host made it fairly clear that she's chatty. So let's say I want to be a really nice guest, and so I do want not only to chat with her, but make it as good as I can -- ...
39 votes
6 answers
17k views

What is Soda Fountain Etiquette?

The other day I was walking with my cup to the Soda Fountain1 at a restaurant. Someone was already using the fountain, but the drink they were getting was on the far right side, while what I wanted ...
11 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
856 views

How can I end interactions with a stranger after a conversation has turned bad?

The situation Last night I went to a bar after work to meet a friend to have a beer and catch up. There was a man "James" sitting next to us at the bar who had clearly taken an interest in our ...
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

On what to compliment someone with anorexia in order to improve their body image?

I'm in an online support group for people with anxiety, depression and these kinds of things (I already talked about it in this question). The other day, someone with anorexia (her words) posted a ...
11 votes
1 answer
978 views

How to help a stranger (woman) in an abusive relationship?

I'm in an online support group for people with anxiety, depression and these kinds of things and, in this group, people would often post things about the difficult situation they are in. Recently, a ...
12 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
10 votes
1 answer
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 ...