Now, I'll admit that I learn significantly towards favoring safety, but as a single woman who works in a rather crummy area of town, I don't think that's unfounded. If somebody sets off my creep-meter, you can bet I'll avoid them, whether or not it's nice or polite to do so (and I've read that unscrupulous people will often use people's training to be polite against them). I don't engage panhandlers, and, when the person starts raving and swearing when I fail to give them money or attention, to me that just reinforces that not engaging them was the right decision. And sweet light of Elbereth, if you reach into my personal space, all bets are off and you should count yourself lucky if you don't get a shoe to the groin or a knuckle to the throat. I've experienced people banging on my driver's side window, following me for a block and yelling after me, and pointing at my bag and insisting that I must have some money in there, which, again, just adds evidence to the case for refusing to deal with strangers who accost me in public.
How do you deal with such people and incidents, and do you feel that it's incumbent upon Christians to always be polite and friendly, even when you think you're being taken advantage of?