You can now read 10 articles each month for free on BostonGlobe.com.

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

Your comment is subject to the rules of our Posting Policy

This comment may appear on your public profile. Public Profile FAQ

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than $1 a week