Having a baby with you seems to give genuine strangers a license to make a bee-line for you and interrupt your current conversation with a friend so they can interact with you and your baby. I'm learning to be more open with folks like this as I know they do this with a fondness for children (although I still get an automatic response of feeling rather irritated by their lack of regard for my or my baby's personal space).
If I had little control over my body and I was still in the survival mode that I believe babies are in, during their first stage of life on the outside, I too would probably be horrified if I was taken away from my protector/s. In fact, force me into a room now, with someone I don't know and you're putting me into an extremely uncomfortable position. Get me to embrace them? Haha, my inner hippy wants me to say yes but being honest I'm too reserved for it to be genuine. Cringe.
I've come to realise that many of us expect quite a lot from babies. In fact I bet some mothers have been made to feel awful, that they have 'created' this whingy 4 month old, by lack of socialization. Not me, thankfully as I have caring people around me and anyone who would attempt to imply this to me wouldn't get taken notice of anyway, but I do hope these other mothers gain the confidence they need to take no notice and keep doing their thing.
Having had little to no experience with babies in the past, I tend to think "how would I feel if I was him?" regarding my baby in certain situations. One of these situations I include here is when he is tired. I think, 'ok, no noises too loud, although some noise is good... erm, let's see... not too much "in your face" stimulation, certainly no intense playing of any kind'. This has worked well for me so far. Something that surprises me then, is the behaviour of the other mothers or grandmothers who I don't know that come up to me. For example, if I say "Oh he's tired at the moment" suddenly a big grin and an "Oh! You're tired little one are you? Oh! Lovely! La la la la goo goo gaa!" aaand cue the discomforted noises of my little one. Sometimes I've even had "oh let's have a cuddle then if he's tired!". So what I would like to know is, what is your experience? Is this what worked for them when their babies were tired? Or do they just want to be close to this baby knowing that they don't have to handle the consequences of an irritable baby? It's only strangers that do this, so perhaps there's also an element of them getting the most out of this (likely only a) one-off event. Maybe it's been that long that they've forgotten? Unless they are simply just not thinking at all?
For now I'll give these folk a break and embrace (ha!) their friendliness. And to all the mothers out there; give yourself and your baby and break and just keep doing your thing. Let's stop expecting too much from our little ones, after all it's a pretty dangerous image; a baby on a pedestal.