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Tag Archives: fear of strangers
I was on my way to music class this morning and the peak hour train was a little more crowded than usual. As I headed downstairs to find a seat, I came across a couple of men occupying two opposite-facing three-person bench seats. I wasn't keen on standing for a half hour while two guys occupied six seats, so I politely said "Excuse me" to the guy on the aisle end of backward-facing seat, and he kindly moved over to the window to accommodate me.
As I sat in the newly vacant aisle seat, I felt constrained by the man sitting in the middle of the bench seat opposite me. He was sitting forward with his legs spread wide in the classic genital display pose that male primates evolved to demonstrate dominance to other lesser primates. So wide in fact that his left leg and knee were taking up at least a third of the legroom in my own individual seat.
His behavior may have been unintentional and unconscious; but it didn't feel good to have my newly acquired space dominated by another man's knee.
I'm working on getting over my fear of conflict with strangers, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to be assertive with one who was overstepping my boundaries; albeit boundaries that I had just stepped into by requesting the seat.… Continue reading…
I want to share with you a recent victory I had over the fear of being assertive with strangers, and why it's so significant for me. A few days ago I was sitting on a bench seat in a popular park down by the beach near where I live, reading a book written by my father about his early life. After a few minutes another man walked up and asked “Do you mind if I sit here?”, gesturing to the other end of the seat.
“No, that's fine”, I smiled and said before returning to my book.
The beach in question is a popular tourist destination and attracts a lot of backpackers from all around the world. This guy looked like he might be one, and appeared to be by himself. While reading my book I started to feel a little guilty for ignoring him, as I imagined him being a lonely backpacker in a foreign land seeking someone to talk to.
In reality I wasn't “ignoring him”; I was just reading my book which is what I wanted to do. But my old caretaker conditioning of putting other people's needs before my own was kicking in.… Continue reading…