339 votes

How to talk to a girl who's sitting next to me but wearing headphones?

You don't. You're asking how to interrupt someone who's working with mostly-inconsequential personal matters. If someone did that to me, I'd be annoyed at their lack of situational awareness, and ...
ArtOfCode's user avatar
  • 2,507
225 votes

As a pedestrian, how to get someone to stop following you in a car?

How about frequent changes of direction? On foot, this can be done in a heartbeat. But repeatedly turning the car around is gonna get old real quick ;) This is a non-confrontational way to discourage ...
Black's user avatar
  • 1,875
205 votes

Appropriate response when someone announces pregnancy?

When confronted with news that could either be good or bad, pick the response that is most common. Pregnancies, even unplanned, are normally met with cheer in the US. Congratulate them. That's just ...
Clay07g's user avatar
  • 5,045
194 votes
Accepted

How can I avoid coming across as condescending when telling a coworker I can't work on an issue right now?

I think your problem here is the word "luxury." Not only would the line flow just as well if you cut it out, but it's insinuating that the person emailing you isn't as busy as you are. It's probably ...
scohe001's user avatar
  • 15.2k
192 votes
Accepted

Complimenting a female co-worker without coming across as flirting?

Coming from my experience in receiving compliments from men I didn't know very well, I'd suggest focusing on complimenting the shirt vs complimenting the person wearing the shirt. For instance, ...
Jess K.'s user avatar
  • 22.7k
182 votes

How to significantly reduce my hairstylist's tip, without upsetting her?

Just don't If you're paying $15 as a tip on a $55 hair cut, that's a total of $70 per haircut. You've flat out said other hairstylists are charging more than that for the same basic work. Except this ...
corsiKa's user avatar
  • 1,506
181 votes
Accepted

I offered to help neighbor, how to discuss compensation?

As the "computer person" among neighbors who are...not, I've dealt with this a few times. The person asking for your help does not want to be a freeloader and thus wants to compensate you; you do not ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
176 votes

How do I politely explain to my neighbour that I don't feel comfortable being alone with her in her house while my kids play?

Spend some time (with your wife) getting to know Jane. Invite her and her kids over for dinner, or a Saturday lunch grill-out, or have your two families meet for bowling or something. It seems strange ...
redOctober13's user avatar
  • 1,361
169 votes
Accepted

How do I tell someone I recently met that I am in a relationship?

Undoubtedly you and Susan talk about things that are not related to work. Assume that the conversation goes on about a popular band that is touring. You could simply say: Oh, I would love to take ...
Pete B.'s user avatar
  • 1,484
168 votes
Accepted

How can I give out my telephone number to my neighbors without implying anything?

I'm female, so I don't have a lot of the concerns you would have, necessarily... or a different set of concerns, but the solution I would personally accept if a guy moved in next door to me would be ...
Catija's user avatar
  • 14.2k
168 votes
Accepted

How can I ask my girlfriend to split gas money for a long trip?

You talk about having a "fair [...] healthy relationship." I'm speaking from experience when I tell you that if you focus on every little thing that you've done and she hasn't, the relationship isn't ...
scohe001's user avatar
  • 15.2k
163 votes

How to get spouse to empathetically listen to problems instead of offering solutions?

I am like your husband, and I am also an engineer. We are expected to fix things. It makes us happy because our brains are wired that way. Also we think that is what is expected from us when people ...
Salvador Ruiz Guevara's user avatar
163 votes

Is it acceptable to violate table manners in public due to my disability?

Can you violate table manners in public? Of course you can. Everyone can. In fact until someone learns them it's likely that they will be unintentionally violating them. Table manners are just ...
sphennings's user avatar
  • 8,380
160 votes
Accepted

How to politely interrupt recruiters who keep cold-calling me during my work hours?

Keep this in mind: recruiters are salespeople. They get paid when positions get filled. They want to pursue potential opportunities and not go after something that won't work. That said, showing ...
baldPrussian's user avatar
  • 32.4k
160 votes
Accepted

How do I gently reject an indecent proposal?

I think you handled it perfectly. First, a long silence. This is the best way to indicate to someone that their joke, suggestion, comment or whatnot is over some sort of line and not ok. Second, a ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
  • 44.7k
157 votes

I have been asked to keep a secret about a surprise that I believe will end poorly

I do not have divorced parents, but I have had to juggle situations where two co-workers that hated each other were using me. In the end, I found out that the simplest way to resolve the problem was ...
Tinkeringbell's user avatar
  • 33.9k
147 votes
Accepted

How do I politely explain to my neighbour that I don't feel comfortable being alone with her in her house while my kids play?

My biggest concern with you addressing Jane is that she could take offense to the implication of her wanting to seduce you (presently or at a future time), so to avoid that I'd suggest saying ...
Jess K.'s user avatar
  • 22.7k
144 votes
Accepted

How to tell friends something goes against my religion?

My religion prohibits me from being profane, how can I tell my friends to stop swearing so that I am not influenced by their actions? You don't. You can't expect other people to follow your religion. ...
SQB's user avatar
  • 4,962
144 votes
Accepted

How do I respond when an acquaintance asks if I'm smart?

I am Indian and it's considered good etiquette here to receive a compliment with indirect modesty. So I have tended to focus on the specific requirements or challenges of the job rather than my own ...
English Student's user avatar
137 votes

Sketchy "friend" recently revealed true colors, is attending my wedding. Should I un-invite, and if so how?

It sounds like you've been drawn into quite a mess and the timing couldn't have been worse, but to be blunt this probably isn't a problem you should have been tasked with solving. You've got enough on ...
apaul's user avatar
  • 54.8k
137 votes

How can I avoid coming across as condescending when telling a coworker I can't work on an issue right now?

You need to work on your written communication skills. Being logical and factual has nothing to do with it. You're implying that you can't be logical and factual as well as tactful in your emails. ...
Clay07g's user avatar
  • 5,045
131 votes
Accepted

As a pedestrian, how to get someone to stop following you in a car?

Judging from already available answers, this will be an unpopular suggestion, but here I go. In my experience, the most sensible course of action is to not be confrontational at all, and 1. to query ...
Patrick Trentin's user avatar
129 votes

As a pedestrian, how to get someone to stop following you in a car?

I think you handled the creeper appropriately, and yes "creeper" is an appropriate word to use in this case. One thing I would suggest is to walk to the nearest friendly neighbor's house and ask for ...
apaul's user avatar
  • 54.8k
128 votes
Accepted

How to deal with (male) friends mocking me about my weight choices

Be clear and unassuming but very gradually escalate your responses. First, explain in clear and certain terms why you're doing what you're doing, and how what they're doing makes you feel. Don't ...
PolyPixiePaladin's user avatar
126 votes
Accepted

How do I deal with other people's screaming children in restaurants?

The way I've dealt with this situation is to ask my server if I could be moved to a different table. It's a little loud over here could we move to another table? Perhaps outside? Approaching the ...
apaul's user avatar
  • 54.8k
123 votes
Accepted

How to tell someone to be quiet immediately while listening to an announcement?

In this context, I prefer Hang on Unlike shh, it clearly conveys a sense of temporariness. Not "don't talk" but "don't talk right now". It's also not something adults say to children (eg teachers, ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
  • 44.7k
117 votes
Accepted

How to intervene in a random abuse/harassment situation?

In this specific situation I think you did the right thing. Well, in most situations like these, the chances of a totally peaceable resolution are slim. People who go out looking for trouble are sure ...
apaul's user avatar
  • 54.8k

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