Spin-Off With a Poll: Would You Ever Knock on a Stranger's Door?

Would You Seek Help at a Stranger's Home

  • Yes - In an emergency.

    Votes: 40 64.5%
  • No - I would be afraid to.

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • No - I wouldn't expect a stranger to open the door.

    Votes: 1 1.6%
  • Other

    Votes: 7 11.3%
  • Yes - I would in an emergency but no, I wouldn't answer my door for anyone.

    Votes: 10 16.1%
  • No - I the people in the home could be dangerous.

    Votes: 1 1.6%

  • Total voters


I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
May 4, 2006
I don’t answer my door for anyone I’m not expecting. I say it’s for safety, which it technically is, but truthfully I just don’t want to deal with whatever they’re trying to sell or whichever candidate they’re trying to promote.

Whether I would knock on a stranger’s door depends on the situation. (And I’ll also say that I have the benefit of looking like a non-threatening, middle-aged white woman, usually with small kids in tow. I realize others will be perceived differently for their appearances and what may be a reasonably safe situation for me may not be for them.)

I’ve knocked on neighbor’s doors before, even if I don’t know them, to give them mail or packages that have been misdelivered. I’ve gone door-to-door in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language looking for help after being stranded. I’m sure there have been other situations I’m forgetting.

I will say though, it’s not something I would do anymore without giving it some thought first. I think the increased use of cell phones along with a society that is… I don’t know, becoming grumpier? more distrustful? means people tend to first think the stranger at the door is there for nefarious reasons instead of innocent reasons. It’s disheartening to see how many posts make it to Nextdoor, sometimes accompanied by photos or video, wanting to know “Does anyone recognize this person? Why were they at my door?” For every person that responds that the visitor was probably just selling something or mistakenly at the wrong house, there’s another suggesting the OP should buy a gun and learn how to use it to defend themselves. Just a few weeks ago, a man posted that a woman rang his doorbell at 1am in the pouring rain saying something about “hospice” and her GPS bringing her to his address. He aimed his gun at her from the upstairs window and told her he was calling the police and she left. The 2-3 respondents who were horrified and tried to explain that she was probably an on-call hospice worker who was trying to get to a patient’s house were drowned out by the dozens of respondents who were overwhelmingly supportive of his actions and telling him that she was probably there to commit a home invasion, and that he was lucky to be safe. It’s scary.

So yeah, I might knock on a door in broad daylight in an area I’m comfortable in if I thought there was a good reason, but I’d avoid other situations if I could. In a true emergency, I imagine I would knock on a door because what other choice do you really have? But I would nervous about doing it.
Oh good gravey, Tipsy - I don't know whether to like this, give it the WOW face or the sad one. Thanks for the thoughtful expression of what now is a truly complex issue.


Question anything the facts don't support.
Dec 15, 2003
I voted other because my answer is Yes I would knock on my neighbor's door, and I would expect them to answer the door if they are home. I have grown to dislike Ring door bells where people can see who it is, they don't open the door, and they "get back" to you a couple days later to see what you wanted. Same with texting. You get ghosted for days. One particular situation that brought this all to a head was when we needed to replace common fencing with both neighbors last year. 25 years ago when those fences were replaced it only took a few days to get everyone on the same page. This time it took 6 months to get a new fence up on the side where the fence was due to be replaced. On the side where the fence blew down, it took 9 months to get an agreement on who would do the job and get it done.


I was a click-clack champ!!
May 16, 2006
I would, and I have.

Granted, it was before cell phones, but my car broke down with nobody around, and I walked across a field to the nearest house with lights on to call home.

Obviously, I lived.


Tagless by choice!!
Jun 16, 2001
As someone above answered, I chose other because I work in Child Welfare so I frequently go to people's houses unannounced or unplanned. I'm surprised that folks actually answer the door and let me enter. I absolutely hate unplanned visitors and yes, I see the irony, lol. I will answer reluctantly but usually it's someone looking for a neighbor since our house numbers and streets are too darn similar. It's a hassle for UPS and Amazon deliveries as well.


DIS Veteran
Apr 3, 2005
I didn't exactly knock on the door, I was invited. But I did end up using a stranger's phone once. Wrecked the car a couple of miles down the street from my parents' house. It was a heavily wooded area, and I hit a board in the road, spun out, and went off the embankment into the trees. I was 15 with a learner's permit, the over-18 licensed driver was thrown out of the car, it was about 11pm, and to top it all off we were on our way to see Rocky Horror and I was in a full Columbia costume. I crawled out the passenger door (driver's door was against a tree) and couldn't see a thing (headlights were pointing straight up and the car was facing into the woods). A minute or so later, I saw a beam of light and heard a male voice yelling, "Walk toward the light." Which totally freaked me out for a minute, cause I thought I was dead lol. Anyway, it was a guy I'd never met who lived in a house just up the road, who heard the accident happen and came to help. He sent me to his house to call my parents while he went to look for my friend. His wife had already called 911. They turned out to be the nicest people, with a sweet little boy about 4 or 5 years old. I'm not really one to ask for help from strangers, but when it's an emergency, yeah, I'll take help anywhere I can find it.

Shelley Chiarats

May 27, 2008
This was back in late 80s and I was only in Junior High.

But we were the first house across the street from the school and behind the school was a back road that was only used by folks up to trouble.

Anyway one morning about 2am there was banging on our front door and Mom looked out the window and saw a "buck naked" lady hollering for help. She opened the door and let the lady in and immediately locked the door. She tells the story that when she went to call 911 she dialed 119 and was frustrated it would not work.

But then she got the number right and an officer arrived. She let him in and locked the door. The lady said she was on the back road with some guys and bad things happened. Mom says each time a cop showed up she would let them in and lock the door till about the 4th cop and then she figured she would be okay with the door unlocked at that time.


DIS Veteran
Nov 25, 2015
I'm a little startled to hear how very, very few posters here would open their door (for any reason) if someone they didn't know rang the bell. It begs the question - would you, under any desperate circumstances, ever approach a stranger's house for help? Especially in light of most people here implying they wouldn't answer?

I would certainly look for help anywhere I could find it, if I was in an emergency.

Sure. In 1989 my parents' house was being built; we frequently drove out to look at it. My dad's car broke down a few minutes away. He knocked on a stranger's door to use the phone to call my grandfather.

When I was 10 I lost hold of my dog's leash after he stole a donut out of my hand and took off into the woods with it. I chased him through the woods until I ended up in another neighborhood about 1/2 mile through the woods. By this time it was dark out and I had no idea where I was. I looked for a home with a light on and knocked and asked to use a phone to call my parents. I would not enter the house but the lady brought a cordless phone to the porch for me to use.

Cell phones were not a thing in either instance so not sure what else to do besides knock.


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