01/14/2015 09:15 am ET Updated Jan 14, 2015

Getting Out Of Our Own Way: How Much Is Too Much?

Peter Cade via Getty Images

One recent evening while taking the subway home, in the same week the reprehensible “slap her” video surfaced, I witnessed a minor but bothersome exchange between strangers. As two young women boarded, an older gentleman who had taken the only open seat at the previous stop, gestured to one, asking her to sit beside him in what was no more than scarcely a few inches of space. “Please,” he said. The young woman responded simply and matter-of-factly, “No.” The man was taken aback—as was I, briefly. He flapped his palms in the air and snapped, “You’re welcome.” To which the young woman, after some consideration, replied flatly, “Thank you.”

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