Questions tagged [strangers]

Questions about interacting with people you are not familiar with.

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7
votes
6answers
2k 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
8k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
814 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
450 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
1k 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
15k 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
861 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
830 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
317 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
975 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 ...
109
votes
8answers
39k 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, ...
17
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 ...
19
votes
7answers
4k 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
15k 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
1k 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 ...
63
votes
9answers
23k 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
1k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

How to handle people stressing me by standing too close in a line (and other similar circumstances)?

People standing too close In the lunch buffet room, I'm putting the food from the container on my plate, then scootch a step to the side, put some potatoes or whatever, then scootch again, etc. Right ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How to prompt a stranger for a dance while out with my dancing companion?

Recently I started taking dancing lessons with my dancing partner. We enjoy it and also go out together in clubs or bars with a dance floor for practicing what we learned or just for fun. My partner ...
5
votes
3answers
985 views

Stop and prevent unwanted conversation with a stranger

This question comes from my wife Alice (her English is even worse than mine). In the middle of the day, my wife ("Alice") goes for a walk in the park with our 2 months old son, and a dog. There are ...
54
votes
8answers
9k views

How should I tell someone about a potential medical issue?

I have a long history of skin issues, including several different types of cancers. As a result, I see a dermatologist very frequently to have potential areas removed. Because of this, I have become ...
-4
votes
1answer
436 views

Is it OK to be honest with guys viewing an apartment to rent? [closed]

Situation from this morning: real estate agent young couple viewing property rented by us I'm not happy about the apartment because of BLAH, BLAH, BLAH and I was to make the decision again I wouldn'...
80
votes
13answers
26k views

Responding to being told to “smile” by a stranger?

This seems to be a fairly common scenario. Since I don't work in a public environment anymore, it's been something that hasn't crossed my mind in a long while. However, today while paying for a few ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Telling people that feeding bread to ducks is harmful

Many people like to go and feed the ducks at the ponds and lakes near where I live. It's lovely that they want to interact with and appreciate these wild animals. Unfortunately, they nearly always ...
4
votes
0answers
189 views

How to Handle Openly Hostile Strangers On the Subway? [duplicate]

Three times on my commute around town on the subway, I've encountered people who are openly hostile for whatever reason, potentially drugs or alcohol or maybe just naturally violent. In two cases the ...
60
votes
4answers
10k views

Dismissing a stranger asking for help without being dismissive of their possible situation?

For some background into the layout of where this situation takes place, my apartment complex has it's own dog park. Within a few hundred feet of the dog park is a large and spacious public park, ...
2
votes
2answers
431 views

Letting a stranger know I may have dinged their car?

As I was backing out of my apartment's parking lot yesterday morning, I thought I heard something behind me but didn't pay it any mind (I was in a hurry to get to work after all). This morning when I ...
14
votes
9answers
6k views

Is it rude to ask how much a new neighbour paid for their apartment? [closed]

TLDR; Is it rude to ask how much a new neighbour paid for their apartment? My view is that it isn't, because it's information that's probably their favourite topic of conversation right now, and also ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What to do if I find a woman already waiting for an elevator?

When I try to get on an elevator, sometimes a woman is already waiting for the elevator. There is no other person around there. Then, after the woman recognizes I'm also going to get on, she suddenly ...
59
votes
5answers
19k views

Which pitfalls should I watch out for when meeting my half-brother who hasn't been aware of my existence for 25 years?

I've been adopted at early age and have no recollection of my biological parents. My adoptive parents have told me at a young age that I was adopted. Because this fact became integrated into my life ...
29
votes
8answers
6k views

I want to sit down on the bus but someone's bag is in the way, how can I ensure this isn't the case when I lower my posterior onto the seat?

Background I travel on the bus a lot. Twice a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year (minus a few weeks holidays) and I love it. It's a great time to unwind, to people watch, to lose yourself in thought ...
22
votes
8answers
17k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it polite to get the attention of a stranger by tapping them on the shoulder? [closed]

Imagine you are in a crowded place and a stranger is blocking your way. Is it rude to tap them on the shoulder to get their attention? Would it be different for men than women?
7
votes
3answers
662 views

How to handle first encounter with a disabled person?

By first encounter, I mean meeting the person in an event, such a meetup in a cafe, or a seminar, or such. The event is to be expected, but is not planned by us; we are invited to join the event, if ...
0
votes
4answers
3k views

How to “thank” someone who sends you a PostCard you dislike?

Snail-mail has been one of my favourite hobbies in recent times as I have subscribed to an online forum where you sign up and someone (totally random user from anywhere in the world) sends you a ...
53
votes
18answers
33k views

How do I dismiss a stranger asking for money?

I'm not sure if the answers to Appropriate ways to dismiss street vendors? apply to this situation, as it is about people asking for money without a compensation. That's why I'm asking a new question ...
56
votes
11answers
13k views

Can I correct other people's children in front of them?

I am a childless female 20-something who occasionally comes in to contact with other people's children. This happens anywhere really, at work, stores, museums, movie theatres, just around the ...
56
votes
8answers
14k views

How to politely receive someone when you don't know how to pronounce their name?

The situation is a one-on-one meeting with someone I have never met before. I don't know much about that guest, just their profession or connection to our organization, not even if they are from a ...
37
votes
8answers
13k views

How to react to someone pushing me in public transport? [closed]

Backround Today I was on my way to work on a bus that was really packed. A woman boarded at some point pushing the people already on board and near the entrance (including me) really hard. My ...
14
votes
3answers
7k views

How could I ask a stranger to take a photo of me while traveling?

I always travel alone, so it is not possible to take a photo of myself except selfies. Some of my friends also travel alone, yet they frequently upload non-selfie photos of themselves on SNS. I asked ...
9
votes
3answers
629 views

Intervene in private conversation where a person seems to be manipulated

I am at a café, and I can't help myself from hearing strangers conversation at the next table. Two well-dressed persons (A and B) are doing their best to make C (older, unshaved and awkwardly ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Appropriate response to compliments that come across as rude?

I get a lot of strange compliments on my weight and I do not think I have ever been able to sort out an appropriate response. I get compliments about my weight (and questions on how I stay so thin ...
20
votes
9answers
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 ...
43
votes
7answers
13k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
7k 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. ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

How to react when a complete stranger bursts out crying in front of you?

I was at Victoria coach station in London a few months back and a woman out of nowhere started crying in front of me. She had just got off of the phone and was visibly shaken up, she just kind of sat ...