How to Avoid Strange People

Two Methods:Using Avoidant BehaviorBeing Proactive

Are you looking for ways to avoid strangers? Are you bothered by a friend or acquaintance who acts strange around you? We all have been in situations where you suddenly become uncomfortable and you feel like you need to leave. Don't become trapped in a situation you can't control; pay attention to your "spidey sense" and learn how to avoid strange people.

Method 1
Using Avoidant Behavior

  1. 1
    Avert your eyes. Averting your eyes signals to the other person that you are not interested in a conversation. Even if the other person has already engaged you, a slight diversion in eye contact can signal to them that you do not want to continue the conversation. [1]
    • The rest of your body language can also play a part. Angle your body away from the person and cross your arms or look down.
    • If you're with a friend, turn and engage in conversation so you can avoid looking at the person you don't want to talk to.
  2. 2
    Stay anonymous. Acting as if you are alone in your environment makes people want to leave you alone. If there's something about you that stands out, it can act as an unwanted conversation starter.
    • Clothing can help you blend in or stand out. If you want to blend in, try wearing jeans and a dark-colored top, with plain shoes.
    • In the summer, wear sunglasses; in the winter, wear a big coat with a hood.
  3. 3
    Preoccupy yourself with something else. Sometimes averting your eyes isn’t a strong enough cue to signal to the other person that you do not wish to talk to them. Instead, draw your attention toward something in your environment. Changing your body language is a strong indicator that you do not have time to converse.
    • Rummage for something in your bag, if you have one.
    • Stop, and look at something around you. Try window shopping if you are on the street, or read a sign that is posted in the hallway.
    • Pretend as if something is wrong with your shoe, and stop to fix it.
  4. 4
    Use your phone. You do not have to actually use your phone, just pretend to be speaking to someone. Turn slightly away from the person watching you and begin a one-sided conversation; they'll be none the wiser.
    • Pretend to answer a phone call. Keep talking as you walk away from the person you want to avoid.
    • Make sure that your phone is silenced or on vibrate; it would be a dead give-away if you were to receive a call while you are pretending to talk on it!
  5. 5
    Listen to music. Wear headphones or earbuds so it seems as if you are listening to something. Pretending to listen intently can signal to the other person that you do not want to be disturbed. If you seem to be lost in what you are listening to, you can even get away with not acknowledging the other person.
  6. 6
    Pretend to be late. Even before you are close enough to converse with someone, you can nonverbally signal to them that you are too busy to talk. Check your watch often and look like you're in a hurry. Tell them "I'm sorry, I'm running late," if they try to engage you.
  7. 7
    Use an App. There are many apps in the works now for smart-phone users to help them avoid others they don’t want to see. [Avoid Humans]uses location-tagged social media (like facebook, twitter, and Instagram) posts to help you avoid large crowds [2]. [Cloak] and [Split] work similarly by helping you find out the location of a specific person, if you would like to avoid someone in particular [3][4].

Method 2
Being Proactive

  1. 1
    Isolate the behavior that bothers you the most. It could be that the person you want to avoid is actually very nice, but they have a particular habit that rubs you the wrong way. Manage your interactions with this particular person to keep the annoying habit at bay.
    • If it is the other person’s hygiene habits (a bad smell, picking teeth, etc) that make them seem strange, stand farther away when talking to them or keep conversations to a minimum. In the case of a bad smell, wear loose clothing to pull over your nose (discreetly) so that you won’t be distracted by it.
    • Try changing the conversation if he/she consistently brings up a subject you are uncomfortable with.
    • Interact with this person only if there are others around so that you won’t be stuck with the other person by yourself and you can make an easy escape.
    • Set parameters for your interactions. If you notice the behavior only emerges at certain times (for example, boasting after taking an exam) or around certain people, avoid that person at those times.
  2. Image titled Be polite but firm Step 6
    Be firm. For some people, avoidant (nonsocial) behavior won’t work. You will need to be more obvious in your intentions. Don't be afraid to be direct; this might be the only way to let the other person know that you are uncomfortable.
    • If someone you don't want to talk to insists on approaching you, it's fine to make an excuse and leave.
    • If you want to be more direct, tell them, "I'm sorry, I don't want to talk right now."
  3. 3
    Walk away. If all else fails, walk away. You do not have to stay in a situation that makes you uncomfortable. Even though it might feel rude at the time, if someone keeps pestering you in a way you don't like, it's best to leave.
    • This is especially true if the person is a complete stranger. Walk in the other direction to disengage.
    • If it's someone you know, you can use an excuse to slip away, or just start walking.
  4. Image titled Leave your issue in the hands of law enforcement Step 2
    Seek outside help. If the strange behavior crosses a line, ask advice from a trusted friend. They might be able to shed some light on the situation. You can also go to an authority for help if the person continues to bother you.
    • If a strange person's behavior constitutes harassment, speak to a teacher or supervisor to discuss what actions to take.
    • If you feel you are in physical danger, seek help from law enforcement.

Article Info

Categories: Social Gatherings