7 Do’s and Don’ts When Approaching Tattooed Strangers

John Dietrich

Often, when you’re walking down the street, you’ll come across a stranger with a compelling tattoo. Sometimes, you may want to ask them about it. And although tattoos are there for everyone to see, this doesn’t mean that they’re everyone’s business. There’s an etiquette that you need to follow when reaching out to someone with a tattoo, and you need to be very mindful of the person you’re approaching. Below, we’ve put together a list of 7 ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ when it comes to approaching tattooed strangers. Read on, and learn how to be cool when asking strangers about their tattoos.

Do's and Don'ts Infographic

1. Don’t Touch Their Tattoo

Remember that you’re approaching a stranger, and that touching them is invading their personal space. Plus, tattoos don’t have any interesting texture, so why touch them?

2. Do Be Polite

All of the etiquette that you’ve learned about how to act around strangers should apply to those tattooed strangers you’re approaching. Don’t forget to be courteous, respectful of their privacy, and friendly. Even if you know that your own intentions are innocent, the person you’re approaching doesn’t. In this case, first impressions do matter.

3. Don’t Pry About the Tattoo’s Meaning

Many people get tattoos that have a personal meaning. Even though the tattoo design is visible to the public, not everyone wants to share the story behind it, and their wishes should be respected.

4. Do Ask About Their Tattoo Artist

Asking about where they got their tattoo and who did it is mutually beneficial: on the one hand, if you’re interested in getting a tattoo, you can get a contact or go to an artist whose work you’re interested in; on the other hand, the tattoo artist who inked their design is having his or her name spread around, which is good for growing their business and credibility.

5. Don’t Be Critical

They say that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. This rule applies to comments on tattoos as well. Maybe you’re not a fan of someone else’s style choices, but you don’t need to insult someone for no reason. What they do with their body is their choice.

6. Do Be Respectful of Time and Setting

If you’re in a crowded bus, it might not be the best time to approach someone. Be mindful of the time of day and the setting that you’re in. If the environment is relaxed and casual, then you can consider whether it’s right to approach them.

7. Don’t Talk About Your Own Tattoo

If you’re approaching someone to ask about their tattoo, this doesn’t give you the right to start spilling your own tattoo stories to them. Remember that they’re a stranger, and they’re not necessarily interested to stop and listen to your opinions and personal experiences.

Tattooed people are regular people, and so deserve to be treated with the same kind of respect. When you’re interested in approaching someone to ask about their tattoo, remember to be polite, mindful of time and setting, and respectful of their space. If you know of any other good rules to follow when approaching tattooed strangers, let us know about them in the comment section below!

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