In my last blog “Coffee Space Invaded” I wrote about a personal space event at my local Starbucks.
Let’s look at the woman by the window again. What other options could she have chosen besides saying nothing and then leaving the building? Well, the possibilities are simply unlimited…
• She could have started a conversation with the two women. I’ve seen this often especially with the very social personality types or sales people.
• She could have stood up and moved her chair so she faced the window which would have forced the square table to be moved away.
• She could have asked the two women to sit on the other two chairs away from her.
• She could have started a coughing fit to annoy them.
• She could have directly stated that they move further back.
The possibilities are unlimited and each one takes a different inner power to enact; boldness, confidence, self-preservation, anger, an open awareness of the room and herself in it, etc. But none of those things happened and I can only guess at what was going on for this woman. What I saw might have been a shy easily intimidated and inwardly angry woman resulting in the the no comment, and the early leaving. Or perhaps she didn’t leave early and it only seemed that way to me.
What is my point? My point is this, it’s her business. It’s her personal space and she gets to do what she wants with it, or at least what she can do to the best of her ability at the time. Only the woman by the window knows for sure how this event affected her; did it make her uncomfortable, and uneasy or was she so consumed with her own world that she didn’t give it a notice? I will never know because I didn’t ask her. I only watched this play out and then drew my own conclusions which are again my business. Perhaps there were others in the room that also watched and had their own thoughts about what took place.
Bottom line; there is no right or wrong. There is only what happened and how it affected you personally and what if anything you would like to change about your response to it if it happens again.
Being aware of events around you means you have an opportunity for a more powerful life. Being unaware means you miss out on possible opportunities to learn, grow and engage the world. No matter which you choose, it’s your right in each and every moment. It is my hope for all of us that we become more open and aware about how powerful our choices are to both ourselves and to the people we encounter in our day.
Next time we’ll look at the two women at the square table.
Your Personal Space Coach©
I was working on a project last week at my local Starbucks when I watched a personal space scenario unfold.
Two women came to sit at the large square table which is normally in the center of the room, but instead was extra close to the window tables. Instead of sitting opposite from each other, they sat diagonal to each other. And instead of sitting in the two locations farthest from the woman next to them at a smaller round table by the window, they sat in the two seats closest to her so that the second lady when she sat down was directly facing the window woman with barely 18″ of space between them. This became obvious to her as she lowered herself into her chair saying self-consciously “Oh, I’m in your space aren’t I?” But instead of changing to the chair on the opposite side of her friend (which would have given the window lady her space back), she just scooted her chair 6″ away, then began to engage her friend in an animate conversation.
I watched as the woman at the window (who had said nothing at all) stiffened, squirmed and shifted in her chair and within 10 minutes she got up and left.
Next, another woman sat at the window table. Starbucks was packed and no other spot was open. She picked the other chair across from the one the first window lady had been in, which was right next to the “space invading” lady. They were practically shoulder to shoulder for a moment when the square table lady sensed an invasion to her space and shifted her seat away a few inches.
Even though this new lady had a better space created for herself, she only lasted in that spot long enough to notice a different spot open up. She got up quickly with here drink and moved leaving that small table open. No one sat there again until the two talkative women left.
Later I looked up from my work only to find a whole new group of people arrive to sit down at the square table, and wouldn’t you know it, they shifted the square table away from the round window tables two feet to gain greater comfort for both themselves and the pair at the window.
I am always amazed when I watch how people take up space and I often wonder if they are even aware of what they are doing. I wonder if that first scenario put a damper on the woman’s day and she didn’t even know why? If she had been self-empowered she could have asked the two at the square table to please shift the table over. But seldom do I witness this. Usually we just move out instead of declaring what we need to strangers. Yet both groups would have been more comfortable with the bold clarification. The two chatty ladies hardly had any privacy for their conversation sitting so close.
Well, perhaps one day we will all get it that we have a right to take up space and get our needs met and we can be bold about it while still respecting the space of those around us. We do this in two ways… first by being aware and asking for what we need and second by being aware of and courteous to the needs of others.
So, what would you have done if you were the lady by the window who had her space invaded? It’s something to think about. If you have an “eye-witness” story to share I’d love to hear it.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©
I am writing from Sedona, Arizona; one of my personal space spots. I needed to get out of my home office and create from a new space today because I recently crashed my website. I made a mistake when trying to do an update…actually more than one mistake (yikes) and the end result was so bad I needed to completely delete my work and start fresh. (Talk about clutter clearing! Ha) This was over 3 years of effort, much of it trial and error and needless to say I was upset. Since I was still in the development stage of my coaching business it seemed like a good idea to let it “die” and then give my program fresh new energy.
Since I teach that nothing wrong is happening, no matter what it looks like on the surface, I had to take this and apply it to my own issue. When I did I found an interest parallel. My site “died” on Good Friday and now it is “Easter Monday” and I am resurrecting it…new and improved. I don’t consider myself a practicing anything anymore, more of a free thinking-Zen-spiritualist but I am well aware of the meaning of the Easter message so it hit home and gave me hope.
That’s about all we can do when we “crash and burn.” Stop, reassess, and look for the silver lining – because there is always good going on in one form or another and we find the good when we look for it. So to enhance my website and its personal space message and to give new life energy to my work I got in the car this morning and headed to my favorite personal space spot…Sedona. In a few more years Sedona will be my home base so what better place to launch my updated website than in my dream home location?
Thank you for joining me on this quest where we explore, re-create and energize our lives by deliberately taking up space in our own unique way.
Your Personal Space Coach©