If a person you are with walks a distance in front of you, they aren’t respecting you enough to let other people know, “Yeah, we’re out in public together.” That disrespect needs to be addressed quick like.
Kids and parents, parents and kids, siblings, youngers and elders.
If you’re a couple, you can watch the progress. One step in front, two steps—two yards. If you haven’t said anything, speak up and see where the conversation goes. No matter the person’s response, keep watching. Relationship termination if you’ve discussed it and it is more pronounced or a resentful look comes across when they turn to wait for you.
If you’re the one who walks two steps forward—or two yards—best be asking yourself why.
“She’s always fussin’ something in her bag when she could have done that in the car on the way here.”
“My parents are always so LOUD and whatever they were saying in private keeps on coming when the move into public space.”
“My son is five and he still can’t keep up so I practically drag him everywhere. It’s so much faster to do errands without him.”
Perhaps the only reason I would accept is “It’s part of my culture.”
I once dated a Latino who would always switch sides—my left hand, then suddenly my right hand. I couldn’t see the pattern.
As a man, parent or older sibling, many cultures keep their treasured person(s) farthest from harm, such as traffic. If conditions are close-quarters, exiting a theatre or a busy sidewalk, a child is kept closely at hand and in front while persons of a similar age lead with the stronger or older and the younger, less experienced follows.
Makes sense to me and I’ve trained my dogs as treasures capable of maneuvering from my left or right side within expectations. Nature often bears out this same logic with elephants encircling facing out and the weaker members protected in a circle of tails.
At the very least, one should expect another to walk beside them.
The saddest scene I’ve witnessed recently is a wife walking eight feet in front of her spouse, who used a walker. She kept her shoulders square, her chin level and her gaze straight ahead. Should something have happened to her spouse or with his walker, I’m not sure she would have been the first to notice let alone the first to aid.
What begins with one foot may very well need to end with you at a standstill as the other person walks off.
©2013 Sandra Davidson