How close is too close?
Do you know your boundaries? Are you aware of the boundaries of others?
I love being around people, don't get me wrong, and I have fairly "liberal" boundaries----I'm huggy, affectionate and love to talk intimately with others. I do NOT, however, prefer to have you in the bathroom with me. Twice in the past month, this boundary has been tested. Once, a workshop participant said she had several questions to ask me. Having just finished teaching a workshop, I begged, "I need to run to the restroom really quickly and then I am all yours." "No problem", she sweetly agreed, "I'll just walk with you." Okay, I thought, we will talk until the restroom door closes. Au contraire, mademoiselle. The conversation continued well past the point at which I was INSIDE the stall using the facilities. What should I have done? In retrospect, I should have said, at the restroom door, "Alrighty, well, how about we meet back at the booth in 10 minutes and we can talk then?" Lesson learned.
Example #2: My husband, Dave, and I moved cross-country in the last few days, originating in Florida on Thursday and "landing" in Tucson, AZ this morning. At a McDonald's in New Mexico, we had stopped for a diet coke (please recall my previous miscommunication about diet coke in North Dakota) and a restroom break. As I was in the stall, I hear a lovely voice speaking Spanish. I listen but I am not brushed up on my Spanish as of yet and was unable to translate. No one answered her. A few seconds later, she "repeated" her statement, as best I could tell but this time closer to my stall. And then she KNOCKED on my stall. Did I mention I was IN THE STALL??? "Hello? Yoo-hoo, I"m in here!" I called out politely, as if she might not know. Again the repeated statement, at which time I was finished doing what I came to do and was exiting the stall. Wide-eyed I looked at her as I exited. She had toilet paper in her hand and said, "You need paper?" Wowee, not now I don't. I politely excused myself and exited, wondering to myself, "Do I have a sign on my forehead (or perhaps my shoes) that says, 'Talk to me while I am doing my business'?"
In the end, I learned a good lesson today----I need to brush up on my Spanish.
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