I (Donna) just got back from a trip to Disney. I expected crowds. I expected long wait times and having to be patient in lines. What I didn't expect was to be invisible.
I'm not quite sure when manners in a crowd stopped mattering. They still matter to me, but in a sea of people, I seemed to be in a minority. I was pushed, stepped on, made to move by people walking straight into me, forced to stop by people crossing directly in front of our path, banged into with strollers from behind me and cut in line. All week, we joked about the fact that we must be wearing invisibility cloaks to survive it, but it really wasn't all that funny. We weren't the only invisible people. We even saw a near fist fight break out between two fathers pushing strollers. Don't even get me started on people walking and texting. I think that in addition to areas for smokers, that Disney should provide and enforce areas for texters.
So, hello everyone still in Disney! Some social tips for being in a crowd (pretty similar to the rules of the road when driving):
As much as possible, stay to the right. Move to the right when someone is coming towards you.
Check over your shoulder before an abrupt change of direction or lane.
Slower walkers, do not stretch out across the entire pathway or lane so that faster walkers can't get past you.
If you must stop, don't stop short. Pull over to the side of the walkway.
Don't walk through people. Go around them.
Say excuse me if you need to get by. Respond in turn to the words excuse me if someone needs to get by you.
Look up, around and use your peripheral vision for navigating purposes.
If you bump, bang, step on, cut-off, yell in someone's ear accidentally or any other intrusion on the personal space of someone, a simple "I'm sorry" goes a long way to keeping tempers from flaring in large crowd situations.
None of these 8 steps will take up much time but all go a long way to making crowd experiences a lot more enjoyable.
Donna Shea and Nadine Briggs are both accomplished social-emotional education specialists. They each facilitate friendship groups at their respective centers in Massachusetts. Both Donna and Nadine are parents of children with special needs.
Donna and Nadine offer consultation services for schools, parent groups, and human service agencies. They are seasoned public speakers who travel across the country to bring workshops and seminars to schools, conferences and other venues.
Donna and Nadine are certified in bullying prevention through the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center and are creators of the How to Make & Keep Friends Social Success in School Bullying Prevention Initiative that is used to provide classroom training and team-building activities at many schools.
Donna and Nadine would love to hear from you or your child if you have feedback about our books. They are also happy to speak with you about providing programming for children in your local area or just to keep in touch with you about new books and materials.