Being approached in public can range between being mildly annoying, profoundly irritating, a bit suspicious, and outright threatening. Sometimes, you simply don't want to be bothered with small talk. You might be extremely socially awkward and nervous about talking to strangers. The person approaching you might be hitting on you, either subtly or overtly, but if it's uninvited and unwelcome, then you don't want to deal with that, either. The point is, there are lots of reasons why you might not want anyone to bother you when you're out – you might be reading or thinking or simply relaxing – and that's totally okay. Because people can be a little … persistent, let's say, here are a few techniques you can try.
If you notice someone approaching you or someone starts a conversation out of nowhere, just make yourself look busy. Type up a text to a friend, scroll through your email, rifle through your bag. You can do this if someone isn't taking the hint that you don't want to talk, too, or it can hopefully work as a deterrent. Some guys just can't be deterred, though.
You know how some people wait until they catch your eye as a sign to start talking, even when you're clearly only glancing up to see who's there or to check out your surroundings? That sucks. I actually really hate to tell anyone to keep their head down because it's so important to be aware of what's happening around you, but you can do it on the down low and rely on your peripheral vision as much as possible, just to avoid making clear eye contact.
Because, see, yeah, sometimes that's all an uncomfortable creeper needs. The thing is, I'm not at all trying to say that no one should ever approach anyone in public. I'm not saying a man can never sit down next to a woman without seeming like a potential rapist. I'm not saying that all women feel the need or have the desire to make themselves unapproachable. I'm saying that some people never like to be approached in public, or have moments when they want to be left alone, and they give up subtle but still pretty clear signs. End of rant – the point of that was that a clear lack of eye contact in one such sign, and it's also something most women have mastered whether they're sitting on a park bench or walking down the street.
This isn't always possible, but it's the perfect way to keep yourself to yourself when you don't want to be bothered. Find a spot that doesn't lend itself well to company, even if you wedge yourself in a corner or against a wall. Whatever works sometimes, you know?
Oh, the death stare. The death stare is amazing. You probably have your own version of it, and that is awesome. Practice it in the mirror. Polish it until it is perfect. Aim it at those rude souls who don't take the hint and insistently infringe upon your solitude. Make sure you glare or scowl. Don't look away. Try not to blink. Leave the uncomfortable and unnerved.
It's extreme, absolutely, but it definitely works … unless the person approaching you is some weirdo who gets off on watching women eat messy foods. Then you're out of luck. For the most part, however, it does the trick – presumably because it ruins the illusion or something.
This is extreme, too, and I'm not advocating it so much as simply mentioning it as a possible suggestion. It won't always work, either, and I do not think anyone should have to make themselves look sloppy or unkempt just to have some space.
Make obviously illogical excuses. They don't even need to be believable. I reserve this for the people who very obviously ignore the signs that I'm not really in the mood to chat with a stranger. My hope is that they will learn and perhaps think twice before they approach someone else who politely tries to get out of a conversation.
Do you have any techniques for keeping creepers and chatters at bay?
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