Walk Like You Have a Right to Be There

by Eric Disco
Jun 29

You’re walking on the sidewalk, a little to the right as you normally do. It’s crowded with people to your left and right walking in both directions.

In front of you, walking in your direction toward you is a gorgeous woman. If both of you keep walking in the same direction, you’ll walk into each other.

What do you do? Do you move out of her way?

Most people do not consciously think about it. But if you live in a city like New York, it happens to you at least 50 times a day: Someone ends up walking directly toward you in your path.

It may not seem like such a big deal what happens next, but what you do is indicative of how you perceive your place in the world.

To change your direction in order to stay out of other people’s way communicates that you don’t have a right to be here, or in the very least, that you think other people have more of a right to walk on the sidewalk than you do.

When I walk on the sidewalk, I follow three rules.

  1. I don’t get out of the way of another person walking toward me. I look straight ahead and if I see someone walking toward me, I let them move out of the way. 98% of the time they do.
  2. If someone is stopped on the sidewalk, I need to walk around them. You’re not going to plow them over. (although if people are completely blocking the sidewalk, I will say, “excuse me”)
  3. If someone continues to walk toward me instead of changing my direction–which rarely happens–I slow down. On rare, rare occasions, I will slow down to a stop if they don’t change direction. If I’m stopped, and they keep walking, they will walk into me. If someone walks into me when I’m stopped, it’s their fault (see rule #2).

By following these simple rules, I maintain my own presence on the sidewalk.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

Sometimes there is a larger group of people walking toward me. A family is visiting town, or maybe even a larger group of tourists. They are all walking together. They are 3 or 4 abreast, next to each other. I do not get out of their way.

If it doesn’t look like they are going to go around me, I slow down–to a stop if I have to. I will not zigzag around the entire sidewalk trying to move out of the way of a group of people.

Most of the time, people sense your unwillingness to jump out of the way, and they change directions first. It’s unconscious. Most people don’t think about it.

It’s funny, but even extremely large guys will step aside, even if they’re 7 foot tall and full of muscle.

Let’s look at the worst case scenario here. Someone does not move out of your way. Let’s say they keep walking toward you at the same speed.

You simply slow down and make sure that you stop walking before they get to you. They’re not going to plow someone over who’s standing on the sidewalk. Then they’re being an asshole.

This tends to work better if you’re walking slowly, or else you would constantly have to slow down or stop to keep going in the same direction you want to go.

Very attractive women are one of the rare cases of people who sometimes do not change direction at first. They are used to other people noticing them and moving out of the way first.

It’s particularly funny to see them get flustered when you don’t get out of their way.

Two attractive women will be walking side-by-side. Crowds part like the red sea to let them pass.

Then they get to me.

I keep walking in the exact direction I’m headed. I normally walk slowly, but I’ll slow down even more if I need to rather than move out of their way.

They notice me and they split apart to walk around me. I keep eye contact with them the entire time.

You can almost hear it. Someone will say, “That’s an assholish thing to do.” But think about it. Why should I move out of someone else’s way instead of them moving out of my way?

Why does anyone else have more of a right than me to walk along the sidewalk?

You can almost hear a hot girl saying this, someone who expects others to give way to her.


Not me.

By leaping out of the way for other people, I am in a sense apologizing for my presence. I am saying–with my body–that other people have more of a right to be there than I do.

If someone is trying to get a picture of their friends or family in the park, I’ll graciously stop and walk around. I have no problem with that.

If there is construction and the sidewalk is particular narrow and a woman can’t get through with her baby carriage, I’ll let her through.

But I won’t scurry around the sidewalk trying to stay out of people’s paths.

I slow down or stop if I need to, but I don’t change my direction. Simple as that.

It’s a great thing to practice, just to notice what people do. Body language is a subtle communication, an interaction with the subconscious minds of people around you.

Who pays attention to whom. Who gives way to whom.

Most people are completely unaware how their body language affects the way others feel about them–and how their own body language affects their feelings about themselves.

Now that I don’t move out of people’s way as much, walking along a sidewalk is much more relaxing. I feel confident in my presence.

I don’t worry as much about people around me or what they’re doing. Let them do what they do. I just need to worry about what I do.

I don’t get anxiety when I see a huge ocean of people walking toward me at a crosswalk at rush hour. They can walk around me.

I sense each approaching person a human being now, someone I interact with, play with, and communicate with, rather than an immovable automaton to be avoided, lest they plow me over.

Art by Crayonmaniac.


posted in Body Language

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