This morning I was late leaving my house for work. But it was a beautiful day in the city so I decided to walk across the river on my way to the tube station, soaking up the profound sense of calm and peace that washes over me whenever I’m near the water.
Arriving at the station I was gutted to read the ‘Severe delays’ notice predicting a tricky and turbulent journey. And from there, my morning went steadily downhill.
A poor lady threw up very near where I was standing on the platform, leaving me supportive and helpful but feeling more than a little queasy. Four trains came, and went, leaving me dejected on the platform, unable to squeeze myself between the people aboard, compressed like sardines in a tin.
The longer I waited, the faster my heart beat and the more panicked my breath became. My blood started boiling, my palms sweating, and my brain was a whirlwind of worry about the consequences of being late.
By the time I managed to force myself into a tiny gap in one carriage, I was huffing and puffing and pushing and sighing and caring very little about the impact on those around me.
Hot, sticky, fed up and overwrought, I was ready to explode.
And just then, someone moved to push their oversized rucksack so that it was digging into my back. As if that wasn’t enough, they moved their hand to hold the rail so that it was resting on the top of my head. On top of my head!? Literally, I had someone behind me invading my personal space in every possible way. And then he started to cough and sneeze directly onto the nape of my neck.
I saw red.
Anger started bubbling up from my very core; repulsed shudders shook my whole body...
But what did I do?
What would you do in this situation?
- Turn around and shout at the individual who’s invading your space; call them every rude name under the sun and threaten them if they don’t give you some more space?
- Stay silent, whilst inside you’re fuming, bubbling and boiling; you can practically see the steam pouring out of your ears?
- Push them back with brute force; whether using an elbow, foot, knee or back, push them to show that you mean business?
- Ask the individual nice and politely if they “would mind terribly removing their arm from the top of your head? You know you’re small but that’s no reason to be used as an armrest!”
- Move away from the horrible situation and squeeze into a new gap in the carriage; getting away from the annoying individual and the invasion of your personal space?
- Start laughing out loud at the ridiculous nature of it all?
What’s your natural reaction to this? And what’s the right thing to do? I’d love to from you.
In Part ii, find out what happened & what the best response is (the one you’ll benefit from most).