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68

This is going to be amazingly hard to pull off, without making people frown a little. You rightfully remark that outright declining to answer the question will be seen as strange: since I'm reacting as if I were asked a deeply personal question while, in their eyes, they were just making conversation. 'Where are you from' is a form of small talk. ...


68

Without seeing you "in action", it's really difficult for us to know what the issue could be. I was going to suggest that you might be very quiet, but you tried stepping loudly and still have the same results. I was also wondering if maybe your friends and coworkers now have make it "a thing", and that they now jump even if they do hear you coming as a joke. ...


64

One thing I have learned is that it is generally better to assume ignorance or stupidity over malevolence. I think there are two things I haven't seen in the other answers yet that I would try first: Empathize. Sit down and ask your boyfriend something along the lines of "Seeing those pictures really bothers me, and despite having said a couple of ...


58

Some people just want to know this trivia, no matter how irrelevant it is for them afterwards. Maybe you'll say a country they've visited and they will follow-up with "I loved city X" or "monument Z" and others just want to know that "George T is Y-ian" Since you've moved in the last decade, I'm assuming you feel pretty comfortable where you live now, so ...


53

Most languages will have a saying akin to "I was feeling a bit under the weather" or something close to that. I would simply say that. When I am sick and my co-workers ask me about it I usually say "I was feeling really sick". This is something people often say in my language (Dutch) when they either are feverish, sick to their stomach or just feel like ...


50

I also have that ability to scare people because I move silently and without noise, so I have developed a series of actions that will get people's attention: 1) Knock on the door frame/wall when entering a room This sound is associated with people entering. Feet stomping can be mistaken for neighbors and are usually tuned out. A knocking sound, however, ...


39

I live in Spain, and have done for the past ten years. Constantly, when talking to people I haven't met before, I get asked where I'm from. It's because of my accent - I've been here long enough that my Spanish accent isn't bad, but that also makes it harder to place. People aren't sure whether I'm French, English, maybe Belgian, could even be Canadian, who ...


36

The basic thing you are doing wrong is talking to people before they have realized you are there. How do you know when they know you are there? Simple: you watch to see when they look at you. You don't need to make noises, etc. Just position yourself so you are in the person's peripheral vision, and wait. Human peripheral vision evolved to protect people ...


32

I dont think you need to focus so much on WHAT to say, but just the fact that you are talking to them. According to Open Democracy, a lot of homeless people are lonely, 77% of homeless people often or sometimes feel lonely, according to a survey undertaken by Crisis in 2015. That’s more than three times the level of loneliness amongst the middle-aged ...


27

I've often been around my brother who is asked to take pictures of someone, or a group. His procedure is very consistent and the people in the picture always seem pleased afterwards: Before taking the picture, he interacts with the group verbally in a positive manner thus making them smile and have happy faces. He will use small jokes or your typical "say ...


25

How do I tell my boyfriend how much I want these pictures gone, and that this task is not something he can postpone any longer? At this point, after dating for a couple of years, I don't think it's unreasonable for you to be a bit more firm in your request. First, use your own idea of offering to remove them together. This seems like a good group effort ...


25

Some people have suggested strategies to do with being vague and evasive, but I'm going to suggest a different approach. Be honest that it is a private matter. People are naturally inquisitive, and will want to know what was wrong. In my experience, being evasive can be a problem, especially when talking to colleagues that you are friends with. It can ...


23

From what I've seen my coworkers do when they didn't want to talk about some personal thing (like the reason for sick leave) there are 2 main ways to handle any inquiry about it. Which one to choose depends on whether you want people to always take you seriously, or if you want to be known as a bit of a joker outside of serious work related topics. 1) Give ...


22

The reason such answers come off as "offensive" is that they're confrontational - you're challenging the other person's interest in the topic, which implies that you don't think they should be interested in it. So try not to do that. Instead, accept it as a given that the other person is interested in the topic they've brought up and ask questions which ...


22

I tend to ask very generally about the issue when I find myself in such situations. ie. instead of "Have you used my computer?", I would say: It looks like my computer got moved since I last used it, you haven't noticed anything have you? In this way my question is limited to the thing you noticed that made you suspect someone used your computer, I'...


20

Don't accuse anyone of stealing something, unless you can prove it. Otherwise people tend to get defensive and you are most likely not to get anything back from them, as nobody likes being caught stealing stuff. What I found works best, is to announce that you are missing said item and ask the people to help you search for it. This way you don't accuse ...


20

Since you seem to be asked this question frequently in a common situation, I would recommend coming up with one, "good," answer. Something creative and in-line with your personality (funny, sarcastic, dry, etc., as fits you) will give you good results much of the time. Many of the people who ask you this are doing so in an effort to make small talk. Small ...


20

I got teased a lot about my accent as a kid, so perhaps I'm a bit sensitive to what, for many people, is intended as a casual conversation starter. A tactic that I've used in the past when small talk crossed boundaries is to acknowledge the question and use it as a starting point to slide the conversation in a different direction. For example, you might ...


20

It sounds like you need a way to change the subject. Business Insider lists two techniques that I've personally found great success with: Use a distraction The article says to do something like pointing behind the other person and yelling "Squirrel!" which, to me seems a little overkill. I do think using a distraction outside the scope of the conversation ...


18

Based on your comment I guess that was my profile :) Personally, the main reason I included that is because I don't care too much which is used, so long as it's not "he/him". People assume I'm male on the internet enough that it kind of annoys me, so I figured I ought to explicitly say somewhere what I am comfortable being called. It's a mix of not feeling ...


18

I've had the same problem a few times. Especially in our condo. It's the same situation. And yes, you're right, anything done by yourself may lead to worse than good, I've seen it happen. What to do then? Ask the one in charge to write (or send) a small note/reminder. NICE. Not accusative in any way. For instance : Hi everyone, as you all know, we have ...


16

You don't know what Leon is thinking, of course. But I can pretty much guarantee he isn't thinking about you at all. He's going through a lot right now. He lost a friend to suicide. Some people may have consoled him amazingly well. You didn't do a terrible job: you didn't make him explain, and you said it was a shame (though a clearer response would have ...


14

I can see how you may feel that your interest is invalidated by your friends' response. However, being known as a ___ snob (wine, beer, food, film, etc) may lead to teasing, but it doesn't in general have the same strong connotations of negative character traits and unpleasant personal qualities as being generally 'snobby' does. I think your friends ...


14

Sometimes in cases like this I reply using the correct spelling or phrase (or pronunciation), without explicitly pointing out that the person made a mistake. In this case you might reply with Let me know when you are back from your coffee break without saying "hey, you made a mistake there". Obviously he's going to understand that you saw a mistake, but ...


14

I'm a socially awkward person who often doesn't care to participate in the small talk of those people around me. On the other hand, if it's someone with whom I'm comfortable with, then I'll be the one spurting these random facts. (I read a lot, and surf the internet, so I'll often just spout the latest thing I was looking into.) If someone has just told me ...


13

I'm not homeless, I've never been homeless, but I do tend to have unkempt hair, my winter trench coat tends to pick up a lot of dirt, and I go grocery shopping with a cart that some have referred to as a hobo cart. (I have not seen actual hobos with this exact brand of cart, but I have seen them with similar carts.) There have been times especially this ...


12

My solution in such situations is to apologize and immediately take the blame for poorly phrasing my question/not being clear/etc and then following with a rephrased question. Ex. Me: how can I get this English text to display in the Spanish one? Them: (insert language specifying web function) Me: Oh sorry, I think I phrased that poorly. What I ...


12

How do hairdressers expect me to behave, how can I refuse them and wait for a particular hairdresser without this being perceived as rude or unusual? The polite approach is to express a positive preference for a certain person rather than a negative preference for another: when you arrive, state that you would prefer to wait until Mark or Sally are ...


11

It's nearly impossible to ensure someone's reaction to something you say/do. I agree that you don't want to hurt your friend's feelings, and that's a good goal, but ensuring her reaction to your statement is very difficult. There are ways to express preference, however, that have helped me in the past and have displayed sensitivity toward the recipient. ...


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