Am I the only one to tell people when, in a public place, they do something that either offends me or antisocial? I just read Lynne Naranek’s post on her recent experience on a flight when somebody took a call on their phone while the flight was taxiing. A few years ago, when I used to fly regularly, I had a very similar experience with the guy next to me took a call as we were landing. I asked him to switch his phone immediately, when he would not, I call the flight attendant who was close to us and was trying to ignore the kafuffle. She eventually told the passenger to switch his phone immediately. The guy relented but not after giving me the dirtied look ever.
I remember one of my colleagues arriving in the office with a black eye. Having firsthand experience of black eyes, I knew this one was recent. On asking him what happened, he told me that on his flight over to visit our office, the guy in the seat in front of him suddenly reclined his seat and the full content of the breakfast they had just been served went on my colleague’s lap. His immediate gut reaction was to poor his glass of water on the head of the offender… A small scuffle ensued, hence the black eye. Probably not the best way to handle antisocial behaviour but at least he made his point.
I guess it is probably easier to ignore offending behaviour than to confront it. But then why should the offender get away with such behaviour? When telling somebody that their behaviour is not acceptable, there is no need to be aggressive or loud. A calmly delivered: “Do you mind?” has worked for me on a several occasions. I recently used one of those on the train back from London, when some kids sat next to me and a few of them put their feet on the seat opposite. It worked and I found it liberating!