We've all been there - that situation where it seems like everyone around us lacks awareness that we're on the same planet, let alone right next to them. You're in a hurry at the grocery store. You just need to grab a gallon of milk, and there's some lady with her cart blocking the whole aisle while she examines the labels on every container of almond milk and soy milk, trying to decide which one is the way to go. Or in the waiting room at the doctor's office, and some guy is watching a video on his phone with the volume turned up so loud that you could hear every word from down the hall...and they are not words you want to hear even though he seems to think it's the funniest thing he's ever seen.

What's wrong with them?!

It's so easy to get worked up about what jerks those people are. Why are they making it so hard for you to get ONE. LITTLE. THING. DONE. Or sit in the waiting room in peace? Why don't they realize how obnoxious they are being? But I don't think the problem is that they are jerks. I think the problem is that they are completely unaware - of what they are doing OR of how it effects people around them.

What if they showed some awareness?

I mean, doesn't it usually diffuse the frustration when those people look up, notice that you are there, and move the cart, turn the video down, or give SOME indication that they realize they've created an inconvenience?

It came to me at a conference that I attend every spring. Sitting in a narrow, conference hotel chair - you know how they like to pack them in there - and the lady next to me is sitting in this weird position, half out of her own chair, and every time she moves she's rubbing against me and practically elbowed me several times while typing on her iPad. And she had NO idea that this was happening OR that it was causing a problem for me. I realized - it's not that she doesn't care that she's invading my personal space and close to bruising me, it's that she hasn't even noticed I'm there.

I haven't decided whether this makes it better or worse. If a person is clearly just being rude, is it easier to just curse them and move on? Do we have an obligation to try to MAKE people aware?

I don't really have the answer. All I know is that there are times that I am the one who is unaware, but I'm going to try my hardest not to be that person.

So what do you think?

Have you been in a situation like this? Or have you been the unaware person? Tell us about it in the comments below!


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