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How to Keep a Stranger from Hitting On You

Updated on March 29, 2011

I'm not particularly good looking, but I LOVE to wear short skirts and smile at practically everyone I pass on the streets (little known fact: I smile when I'm terrified), so I end up getting hit on a lot - and usually not by the guys I'd like to see hitting on me. Obviously wanting to avoid unwanted attention, I asked my friends on Facebook for advice, and got 62 responses.

Below you will find a list of the major tactics you can employ to keep strangers from hitting on you. Some of them are funny, but others are REALLY practical! I hope you find this advice as amusing and useful as I did.

The Flirtation (Le flirt); 1904
The Flirtation (Le flirt); 1904 | Source

Smell Bad

One of the top tips offered by my friends was to emit an unpleasant odor. You may wish to utilize the following scents to throw off unwanted advances:

  • Unwashed socks
  • Unwashed hair
  • Feet
  • Farts (It became apparent that the ability to fart on demand would be exceedingly useful in this case)
  • Garlic breath (Bonus: You get to eat delicious garlic-laced foods!! Mmmm!!!  The only downside here is that you may deter those who you actually WANT to see hitting on you.)

The Jejune Institute

Behave Oddly

Some of my favorite pieces of advice involved exhibiting odd or dubious behavior. Tips and suggestions included:

  • Drooling
  • Hacking up phlegm and projecting it toward oncoming offenders
  • Inviting them to join a cult (I always recommend the Jejune Institute - it is, without a doubt, the coolest cult out there)
  • Explaining that you are a polygamist or reverse-polygamist
  • Toss boots at them
  • Reveal that you are a serial killer

A small caveat to the cult invitation tactic: One contributor to the discussion pointed out that, from previous personal experiences with Christian youth groups, the found that the cult defense may not work at all. Now that I think about it, the cult tactic could even backfire.

If one does not want to utilize these more radical tactics, one can also pretend to not speak the language. The major risks there are that (1) the offender realizes your ruse, (2) the offender speaks multiple languages, and (3) the offender does not see language as a barrier and forges ahead anyway. One may also feign blindness.

Be Particularly Annoying

One helpful contributor to the dialogue recommended a tactic which I find to be very great for those who are skilled with words and have high levels of emotional intelligence.

The examples he provides are excellent:

Ex - In NYC? You're now an extreme Bill O'riely fan. "Yea, I can't believe all these liberal nut jobs want to kill America."

Your stranger mentions something about working in the music industry - "The Stereo in my Car is broken, but I think I really relate to Lady Gaga's Struggle."

He points out that you must deliver these comments (which are in direct opposition to the offender's values) without a flinch - obviously delivery is key.

As this smart contributor points out, and what I love most about this tactic, is that you reject the individual who is hitting on them, but you also make them feel pretty good about not wanting to be anywhere near you. Brilliant!

Note: ahostagesituation adds that you can just take the b!#ch approach, which is an easy way to make oneself disagreeable should one not be able to acertain enough information about one's opponent's likes or dislikes. Convenient!

Look Horrid

Nobody will want to hit on you if you look terrible, diseased, or both, hence many of my friends suggested taking measures to make one's appearance as unpleasant as possible. Suggestions included:

  • Applying fake cold sores to ones face
  • Walking around with a smelly trash bag
  • Dress like someone who is living on the streets
  • Wear a pink fluffy bathrobe with ominous looking holes and stains - extra points if it smells of rancid fish

If one does not want to adopt these more radical approaches, one can also follow the advice of some of my friends who simply suggested the avoidance of smiling, looking interesting, adorable, or otherwise approachable.

Utilize ninja-like reflexes to flee undetected!
Utilize ninja-like reflexes to flee undetected! | Source


Though sometimes such action is impossible, a very sound nugget of advice that recurred several times in the comment thread was to run away.  The most effective running away, of course, is that which takes place before the offender has even made his or her initial approach.

Evasive action can actually be quite the enjoyable activity - one could develop ninja-like reflexes, learn how to lose someone trailing oneself, and develop fast reflexes.

Build a Wall!

If you can't run, perhaps you can hide.

Several of my friends pointed out that large sunglasses and headphones make for great deterrents when it comes to avoiding public discourse with strangers.  While some very aggressive individuals may attempt to break through these barriers, dark glasses and headphones (be they blasting music or not) make for a great first line of defense.

Complex adaptive system theory
Complex adaptive system theory | Source

Adopt a Systems Approach

The same witty contributor who pointed out the oppose-the-offenders'-values approach also posed the challenge from a Systems perspective - that one simply must "decrease the reward or increase the effort required, or both."

If none of the suggestions provided in this guide are suitable for a certain scenario in which you have found yourself, all you need to do is consider that basic principle and do whatever you must to make yourself less desirable and/or to make it more difficult to reach you.

Accept it!

The final piece of advice offered was to simply give up and accept the reality that, like it or not, strangers will hit on you from time to time.

Some suggested that it's best to take it as a compliment and move on. Others recommended eye contact and courage, and respect for those who are hitting on oneself ("Being a guy is complicated too. Women don't own the corner when it come [sic] to complexity and issues").

I suppose in the long run, this might be the most low maintenance way to go, though only if one is good at tolerating unwanted attention.

Thanks, Facebook buddies!

Obviously, these aren't my own tips, so I owe a big thank you to everyone who responded to my query on Facebook.

Some of those helpful people are even writers on HubPages! Specifically, I want to thank Patty Inglish, MS, akirchner, Cagsil, LiamBean, and Pretty Darkhorse.

You are all awesome.  'Nuff said.

What do YOU do to avoid being hit on??

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    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Ooooh! Thanks Simplicity4All!

    • Simplicity4All profile image


      7 years ago from Rhode Island, USA

      You should checkout on youtube Jenna Marbles, How to get a Guy to Ignore you or not talk to you or something, video is hilarious and her method actually works I have proof from my friends and I using it at the bar ;)

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      You're right about the headphones- they only work a small proportion of the time for me, too! I highly recommend the sunglasses, though- they prevent that initial eye contact that usually starts these things off!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is really great advice. I have found that wearing head phones never works though. Aside from not preventing people from hitting on you, it is also not great at preventing people from stopping you to ask for directions or beg for change. Maybe I need to add the sunglasses to the look.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, but you make such an excellent point with the b!@ch approach, ahostagesituation!! I can only pull that off when I'm hungry, but I'm SO adding that to my list.

    • ahostagesituation profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm so mad, Simone. I've met you, and you are way cute! It's not just the smiling at guys/girls who you really don't want hitting on you. (I also smile when I'm terrified). You can not smile at these people!! I would offer taking the b*!ch approach, but then there's that whole group of people who just LOVE that. Oh well. You can't dial down the cuteness for weirdos. It's their problem. Great hub!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      I've gotten some good chuckles from everyone's advice, too! Glad you enjoyed the Hub :D

    • crystolite profile image


      8 years ago from Houston TX

      Ha ha,funny article which i cant just help than to laugh out.thanks for this great funny stuff,i really enjoyed it.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Hehee thanks lorlie6 and cjv123! And akirchner - that is HILARIOUS!! And I'm certainly going to take that insanity tactic for a spin. Sounds like great fun!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      I hate to use the "F" word, but farting is also a really good way to keep people from approaching you EVER. My grandmother could fart a symphony and no one ever bothered her. I think she knew more about self defense than I realized while I was hiding somewhere.

      Also speaking in tongues is a good defensive posture to assume. Act like you are insane and most people actually think that you are. Or pretend that you have just gotten out on an unexpected pass 'from the home'. No one wants to have much to do with you.

    • cjv123 profile image


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Very funny Simone - you are SUCH a wit! Voted up and FUNNY! Still laughing!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      This is hylarious, Simone! Good luck with all this...I am lucky to have some bizarre genetic traits that assist me when strange eyes seem to be seeking me out.

      Go Go, DNA!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      That's GOLDEN!!!

    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 

      8 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      I just pull my pants down and do a mr whippy on the floor whilst my eyes go cross eyed and then I say pleased to meet you!


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