Q: At the doctor’s office, a stranger tries to strike up a conversation with you. You’re not in the mood to talk. Do you tell her so?
A: There’s no harm in indulging someone with a short conversation. But if you’re incapable because of nerves or illness, a polite deflection is what’s called for: “It’s been nice chatting with you. I need some quiet time to prepare for this appointment. Thanks for understanding.”