#1- At the grocery store, in the personal hygiene areas. If you see someone you know in these sections of a grocery store, for the love of God, pretend that you don’t see them. The worst thing you can do is go up to them and say “Hey! How’ve you been?” while they are browsing through feminine hygiene products or anti-fungal foot creams. It’s just not a good time.
#2- In a parking garage. We’ve all seen the movies where people are assaulted or shot in horrific parking garage scenes. It’s like the classic Hollywood set up for pending disaster. Don’t feed into people’s insecurities by startling them with random questions like “Do you know where the elevator is?” while they are walking to their cars in a dimly-lit parking garage… unless you enjoy being pepper sprayed.
#3- In the waiting room at a doctor’s office, especially at a gynecology office or an insemination clinic. It is never a great idea to ask someone in these places “So, what brings you here?” Also, even if someone looks 100% pregnant in the waiting room at a gynecologist’s office, don’t ever assume they are. Resist the urge to make small talk and ask them “When are you due?” You should know by now that sometimes people who look pregnant are really just overweight.
#4- In a public restroom. If you use the women’s restroom, don’t be the lady who asks a stranger in an adjacent stall to hand you toilet paper. Check for toilet paper before you sit down. And if you use the men’s restroom, don’t be the guy who makes eye contact with other people at the urinal and then strikes up a conversation.
#5- In line at the ATM. People are already extra cautious at an ATM when they have to get cash out or deposit checks. There have been so many cases of people getting their personal information and purses stolen at ATM’s. Don’t make people more nervous by talking to them while they are putting in their PIN… unless, again, you like being pepper sprayed.
Can you think of any other places where people strike up conversations and really shouldn’t?