195

"I'm sorry, I selected this seat in advance. But thank you for asking!" Another option is to say, "Thank you for asking! I like this seat just fine." Smile and be polite yet firm. It's been my experience that when people want a reason, it's to argue. So I never offer a reason. In this case, my response to "why?" would be "I do not wish to change" or "...


142

Unless they make a convincing appeal for why they really need my seat, I say something like "sorry, but I specifically reserved {an aisle seat, a window seat, a seat in the front of the plane, etc}". This approach communicates that I have a specific preference (that I arranged for). It leaves the door open for them to propose something different that still ...


137

If what you are looking for is that such people engage in conversation, why not use their sad-face/pleading as a jumping off point for that conversation yourself? Instead of saying 'That might work with some losers....', why not say something like Does that usually work for you? There are two ways it can go from there, either they will be puzzled and you ...


110

There isn't really a fool proof way to tell a joke from a compliment, unless it's immediately apparent from the tone of voice or context. Are they pointing and laughing? Do they sound snide or sarcastic? Etc. Even if the delivery sounds completely innocent, it may just be a joke delivered in a deadpan fashion (my personal favorite). So, given that there isn'...


97

I have been the kid in a situation like this. My father can behave a lot like this girl's mother. It is extremely embarrassing when your parents break social norms. Let's analyse their behaviour. One or more of them wanted better seats. One of them, most likely the mother decided to take the empty seats in front of you, which were an upgrade. The ...


88

I am Indian. My first name is hard for many Indians to pronounce and my last name, common as it may be in India, has 14 characters! I know I am one in a million when I say this, but you can destroy my name as badly as you can, I'd not get offended. I know that my name is hard to pronounce. I am in the US and I know my name is not an English name. It is an ...


84

This is a tricky situation but ultimately can be a matter of life and death. I will recommend you to tell him. Since it is a health related topic. Bottom line is that you can save someone's life. You should explain why you are alerting him. Of course, since the person in question is just an acquaintance, apologize for the indiscretion of what you are about ...


83

At the bottom, this is someone asking you to do them a favor, and a stranger at that. You can choose to do something, but it is not impolite to not do so. There is nothing wrong with saying, "sorry, no," and leaving it at that. You are under no compulsion to give them a reason or explain yourself. Re "isn't saying 'sorry' lying?": it's phatic shorthand for ...


80

I used to work in a cinema where this is a problem. You did the correct thing by getting the attendant and letting them deal with it, that is what they are trained to do. The only thing I would potentially do in the future differently is not even engage them to begin with, generally if someone knows they are doing something wrong in a public setting like ...


71

In any theater with assigned seating, it is not your job to remove people from seats they haven't paid for. That is the job of the ushers and other staff, who are paid to check tickets and are (perhaps minimally) trained to resolve disputes. If you know the seats are not taken, but you don't want to tell the person asking, instead defer: They may or ...


70

People like that can have no boundaries. They tend to take offense when others respond negatively. Depending on my mood and the vibe I get from people who approach me like that, I'll respond with: "How often does that work for you?" "Well, I'm pissed now that you think you can demand any type of emotion from me." In my case: "I suffered an ...


69

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. ...


59

You're going to have to find out who they are regardless of how well they know you. You start with something softer. Sorry I've recently got a new phone, who's speaking, please? This basically says what you said to us, you've had a new phone handset and don't have the number saved. or you could just say: Who's speaking, please? If the new handset ...


59

If I'm dead-set on not moving, I'd say "Thank you for offering, but I'll keep my seat" which implies they were trying to do you a favor and you've (politely) declined, while asserting your claim to the seat in question. If they persist, maintaining that they are graciously offering to trade but you must decline as you're fine where you are. You've now ...


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

what are the pitfalls I should watch out for when engaging in conversation with my half-sister and half-brothers? I was actually in a very similar situation to this myself. My biological father had nothing to do with raising me. I knew he existed, but during my childhood a meeting was never suggested or encouraged by my mother or step father. This had ...


52

I find that leading with a question rather than a statement works better for casual acquaintances. Open with something like "hey, are you aware that that mole above your eye has been growing?". It's always possible that he does and he's already planning to take care of it. If he responds with something like "eh, why does it matter?", then you can share ...


46

I travel by public transport a lot. So I have also dealt with a fair share of overstuffed trains and buses. And the rudeness people exhibit in these situations. I'm from Northern Europe though. First of all, it is important to remember that the other person wants to get to their destination just as desperately as you. Just the sight of an overstuffed bus ...


45

You spoiled your own enjoyment and the enjoyment of the other family by creating conflict. The only sure way to keep everyone happy is to simply not engage. That gives you essentially 2 options: Go straight to an attendant who can handle the situation for you. Don't tell the family you disapprove, and don't let them see that it was you who got the attendant....


44

My go-to reply is: Sorry, no. Have a nice day! [turn and walk away] It's courteous You provide no reason, so they cannot point out flaws in your reasoning You have not given them nothing; a well-wish is more acknowledgement than they may otherwise receive from any stranger This works even after they have told a long story. I recommend committing to the ...


40

I can empathize with this question, so please don't let the answer lead you to believe I'm insensitive to your plight. For some uninvestigated reason, I cannot tune people out (I have never been able to. I remember complaining of "noise pollution" when I was very young.) TV, music, etc., yes. But there is something hardwired in me that makes it impossible ...


40

I am the boundary-challenged gas station attendant in this scenario... at least for many years I WAS that person engaging in the “smile exchange economy.” I offer you my learned perspective and some empirical data from many years as a quasi-professional smile-pusher. I submit to you that correctly Observing and Orienting yourself to the underlying ...


40

That style of communication is indeed anything but cute in an adult. It communicates that the person in question is either not taking your interaction seriously, or is utterly immature. It might fly in some sort of roleplay setup, but not during day to day interactions. There's a very simple way of asking people who take this approach to stop doing it when ...


39

I also think you handled it excellently, but another possibility to remain cautious and helpful is to offer to call help (police, ambulance etc.) yourself: You are offering help. What she described is a threatening situation and, e. g. calling the police and let them decide whether it's worth acting upon or not, is a good idea. You don't endanger yourself ...


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 ...


38

I used to pick people up at the airport. I did the (maybe hokey) thing of holding a sign. Then when I would meet them, I would straight away tell them I am unsure how to properly pronounce their name. I think even cross culturally people understand this is a respectful gesture. I do want to say it correctly and I find asking right away is far less ...


37

There's no reason you should smile to him you can tell him that politely, for a humorous response you can use My mom told me not to smile to strangers Or I don't go around smiling to every stranger that asks me Or (Credits to Erik) I only smile when I witness something stupid Works best if followed with a smile. And for a more serious response ...


36

You can definitely say something in the situation you described. You are not correcting the child's behavior, you are just voicing the inconvenience caused by someone to you. If you see a child throwing rocks at pigeons or swearing/cursing other children, then probably not. Even though it is a bigger problem, it is a problem that does not concern you. It ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible