Need to Make a Call? Check Your Spacial Hygiene

check your spacial hygieneYesterday, before a grueling dental appointment I stopped for a bite to eat at Whole Foods. When I discovered all the tables were occupied I headed for the long counter–somewhere I would not normally sit for lunch.  As it was a high counter it took me a few minutes to position everything.  My handbag–not appropriate to be on the counter…think of the germs –not good Feng Shui to set it on the floor, so the only spot left was hanging from my bent knee. Grocery bag on the floor, food in front of me, knife and fork ready, napkin on my lap…I was settled in for a nice lunch.

It would be hours before I could eat anything as my mouth would be numb from my dental work, so I was going to enjoy it!

Just as I began enjoying my meal a woman stood behind the counter two seats away from me. She plopped her food down and slid into the chair, talking on her phone the whole time. I wondered if she had gone through the check out line like that—with phone propped to her ear, chatting away. OMG!

Over the next five minutes, myself—and all the others around me—were privy to this beautiful young woman’s (who I now refer to as the pirate) personal conversation about a real estate deal.  Whether we liked it or not, we were “in on the deal.” It was too much. There came a point when I couldn’t take it any longer. I was tired of being hijacked and was about to say “no more” and when I looked up, the woman on the other side of the pirate looked up at the same time. Our eyes met for a moment, and no it wasn’t love at first sight, but it was an instant knowing that all of us seated (or standing) near the pirate was being disrespected. “Seriously!” the woman exclaimed as she picked up her lunch and moved to a seat to the left of me, farther away from the pirate.

The woman, whose name I learned was Amelia, and I began a conversation about how disrespectful some people are. Amelia said she felt that some people had no community hygiene–or awareness of spacial hygiene. I quickly agreed. What an interesting way to phrase it.

Eventually the pirate ended her call and Amelia went over and shared her insights. “Did you know when you were on the phone you were speaking so loudly it disrupted our lunch?” she said to the woman.  Amelia s tone of voice was non-threatening and she smiled as she spoke to the woman. The pirate was a clearly a little embarrassed and offered an apology. She then slumped over her plate and began eating her lunch as if it that, along with the awareness of her loud-talking disruption, was also hard to swallow.

Amelia gracefully and graciously did what I’m sure many of our readers would like to do- and that is to tell a person know when they have violated our space with their verbal chatter. An act that says (loud and clear) that: “What I am doing, or who I am, is more important than you.”

Here are three things we can learn from Amelia and the way she addressed the space pirate:

  1. When confronting your pirate about their loud talking, posing your comment as a question allows him or her to save some face — after all we do have manners. The question gives that person a reason to pause and think about his or her action, rather than just be TOLD that they were being disrespectful.
  2. The tone of your voice is critical in preventing a potential drama.
  3. Smiling helps the person understand you are informing them rather than ridiculing them or challenging them.

Try it out next time you encounter a space pirate and let me know what happens.

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