The Bledsoe Firm - February 2020

The Bledsoe Firm | 949.363.5551 FEBRUARY | 2020

Lessons From My Father THE 3-FOOT RULE

L ast month, I talked about losing my father, Charles R. Bledsoe, who passed on to the next life on Nov. 9, 2019. He was 85 years old. As parents do, he had a profound effect on my life, the way I view things, and even the way I act. The memories that keep coming to mind are those of accompanying him on the various errands he would run around town. I had seven brothers and one sister, and I’m sure my mom was anxious to get some time for herself. I can remember riding around with my dad and several brothers, usually on Saturdays, on normal errands, such as going to the market, the hardware store, or the auto parts store. There was always work to do, and my dad did not have the money to pay to get our cars fixed. So in addition to working two jobs, my dad would fix our cars. After going to various stores and doing whatever work needed to be done at home, most of the Saturday would be over. I was always anxious to complete my work so I could spend time with my friends. As I remember it, whenever my dad found himself standing within 3 feet of somebody else, he would say something to that person. It seemed like he felt uncomfortable standing too close to a person and not talking to them. We’d be at the grocery store, and he would inevitably start a friendly conversation with the person standing ahead or behind in the checkout line, or he might start up a conversation with another shopper in the grocery aisle. I don’t think these conversations lasted very long, and they were generally quite pleasant. As an adolescent and young teenager, I got frustrated at times or embarrassed, thinking, “Can’t we just get out of here?” In retrospect, my dad was just an outgoing person who enjoyed talking to people.

Several years later, I learned about the “3-foot rule.” If you Google the 3-foot rule, you will find various versions of it. The rule basically says that if you’re within 3 feet of somebody, you want to say something to them. Part of this is based upon the fact that once you’re within 3 feet of somebody, you are close to their personal space. The idea is to make the other person comfortable by saying something to recognize the fact that you are sharing space with them. If you are standing within 3 feet of somebody, it’s usually a good idea to say something, even just a simple “Hello” or “Good morning.” Done right, the 3-foot rule makes for a more pleasant encounter with someone you are near. I go to a group exercise class (Orangetheory) as often as I can, which is usually several days a week. I often find myself next to people who are within 3 feet of me on each side. So, as I sit down on a rowing machine or get the treadmill going, I make a habit of " My dad understood and taught me that it is important to make people feel comfortable wherever you are. "

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