“It’s a beautiful day…ya ya ya it’s a beautiful day “ here I was humming the song waiting for my friend. I was just trying to remember the next lines of the song, strong smoking smell distracted my mood completely, I looked at the smoker and made faces, trying to convey that I was getting a little uncomfortable. I wanted to walk up to him and say it wasn’t right (I am quite against passive smoking you see and of course public smoking is a fine-able offence) .
That however didn’t seem to make any difference. I started playing words in my mind as to how to go and talk to him about it, maybe request or condemn or just say something that it would stop . . Sorta felt it was better to seek help this time, maybe from someone who knew his way around with the words, I didn’t really want to antagonize a man who was a guest with us.
What my colleague went on to say was something this simple – he touched his shoulder, came close to him, separated him from the group and said “I am not sure if you know this, but smoking at public places is punishable, it would be a tough time explaining to the police and the procedures they might create” . Seems like our friend heard the message and the smoking stopped. It certainly was a very simple incident but something in the process stayed with me.
- It was about standing up to what you know
- It was about offering a negative feedback, the touching of the arms, singling out the person and giving it in private instead of a public one where he would be the centre of attention so that he would not feel offended
- The tone of voice, which was soothing and sorta felt like a friend talking
- The way it was said, I don’t know how the reaction would have been if he had said that it was making us uncomfortable but the choice to speak about something in a way they could relate to was commendable.
- End of the day, there was no winner, both of them smiled without a tinge of discomfort with each other and it seemed as though nothing really happened.
I guess there are better ways to handle some situations no matter how challenging they are, but probably in retrospect we all get a little cleverer than we are. But I guess there is a way to bring that out. Although it maybe a very small thing to write about, it certainly is something which I would watch out and vouch for.