I compiled this list in good humor based off my experience with dealing with touts in various touristed areas of the world. Much of it is self-explanatory and is what all travellers already know anyway. I just thought it would be fun to write down.
Of course every traveller wants to be able to move in and out of a culture, make friends, and get really close to the folks they are travelling amongst, but, simply put, there are many people out there who feed off of good intentioned travellers and would suck them dry in an instant. Unfortunately, these are usually the people that are, for obvious reasons, most accessible for travellers to meet. Some people call them touts, I just call them assholes.
I have always found it very difficult to find a “human” basis of understanding with someone who views me as nothing other than “money on legs” (thanks Andy www.hobotraveler.com). I now find it a great impertinence to even try.
If someone yells “Hello my friend ” to you as you are walking down the street, they are not your friend.
If someone tries to pressure you into going into any shop, restaurant, hotel that you do not really want to go in, they are not your friend.
If someone tries to charge you more for something than the stated price, they are not your friend.
If someone tries to make you walk in a direction that you do not really want to go in, they are not your friend.
If someone tries to make you feel guilty for not wanting to talk to them, they are not your friend.
If someone calls you a racist because you do not want to hire their service, they are not your friend.
If a cab driver does not start his meter as soon as you take off, he is not your friend.
If someone walks up to you in a highly touristed area speaking many languages and trying very hard to be your friend, they are not your friend.
If a produce vendor in the tropics tries to charge you two dollars for a few bananas, he is not your friend.
If you tell someone to leave you alone, and they do not follow your directive, they are not your friend.
If someone tries to get you into a shop by saying “Just have a look. No buy. Just have a look,” they are not your friend.
If someone comes up to you and immediately starts talking about how “all men are brothers,” they are not your friend.
If it seems like someone is trying to get something from you, they probably are, and are not your friend.
If someone is not my friend, I feel no obligation to them.
So this is my piece of advice to all of you beaten and battered wanderers.
As always, take it or leave it.