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The Boston Globe

Magazine

Miss Conduct

How to avoid awkward introductions

Miss Conduct weighs in on when strangers say you’d “look prettier” with a grin. Plus, avoiding awkward intros.

> I’m a female college student. For a few years now I’ve been getting stopped on the street by perfect strangers, all men, who enthusiastically tell me, “Smile!” Sometimes I’m told that I’d “look prettier” if I smiled. If I respond by saying something along the lines of “That doesn’t encourage me to smile,” I get angry cat meows, as if I’m being openly hostile. This, of course, only makes me feel that way. What on earth is the proper response in these situations?

L.J. / Ipswich

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