The NHSM Guide to Answering the Door to Strangers

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It’s disconcerting for most, and nerve-wracking for some. Here’s how to safely answer the doors to strangers.

There are no two ways about it: answering the door to strangers is disconcerting.

Take a read through our helpful advice and follow these simple measures when an unfamiliar face comes knocking.

Before opening the door:

  • Try to get a look at who’s at the door

If you can, take a peek at who is at the door before you take any further action. Either look through a window, use the peephole if you have one, or use your front door security camera if you have one installed.

  • Don’t be tempted to ignore them

If you’ve taken a peek and you don’t recognise the person, it could be tempting to ignore them – this is not recommended. There’s a chance that it could be a potential intruder trying to check if anyone’s home before attempting to break-in. Even making noise or switching on lights will signal to them that the house isn’t empty.

  • Make yourself heard

It might feel a bit embarrassing, but feel free to shout to the person on the other side of the door before opening. A simple ‘who is it?’ should dispel your fears. Also, if you’re home alone, consider shouting ‘I’ll get it!’ to give the impression that there are other people in the house with you.

  • Display a ‘No Sales’ sign

You can buy a ‘no sales’ sign to display on your front door to avoid having to answer the door to salespeople. Any reputable business will respect your request and those few that don’t, you can politely but firmly bring it to their attention and send them on their way.

When opening the door: 

  • Open up cautiously

Rather than swinging open the door to give the visitor a full view of your entrance hall, just open it slightly until they have made their intentions clear. A door chain could help out in this situation, giving you an added level of security.

  • Keep them on the doorstep

If you do open the door and the stranger is simply seeking answers to a survey or carrying out door to door sales, it can be tempting to invite them into the house. However, do not feel pressured to do this. It’s perfectly polite to answer any questions on the doorstep.

  • Don’t give away information

If the person at the door starts asking for details on your working hours, or when you’ll next be in, politely but firmly tell them that you won’t be answering their questions. If they continue to push for information, ask them to leave.

We hope these tips help you to feel that bit safer in your home when a stranger comes knocking.

image of person opening their door.

Do you have any interesting stranger-at-the-door stories? Let us know on social media using #NHSM19.