Buffer Zone

Shout Out

My littlest girl when she was a baby. We thought this was such a cute pose. We have used it on several occasions.

Have you ever been in a quiet setting and had someone rudely interrupt with a loud comment? I have. I find this highly annoying and equally frustrating. I imagine others might feel the same.

A recent homeschool outing to the Venice Type-In brought this issue front and center for me. Here we were in a quiet theatre, watching a film about the history of typewriters, when a lady in the audience starts making comments about the film.

The first comment didn’t throw me as much, I thought perhaps she didn’t realize how loud she was and that she would refrain from future comments. Only… no! Every few moments or so, she would comment on something else seen or laugh very loudly.

A week or so later, my husband and I were at the screening of yet another documentary and experienced the same occurrence. A few people in the audience felt the need to shout out a comment or two.

My opposition wasn’t necessarily to the comments, but rather to the timing of them. Every time these people made a comment, the rest of us were unable to hear or focus on the film.

I began to seriously wonder if these people had a “buffer zone”. That little place inside all of us that tells us when something really needs to be said or if we need to restrain ourselves.

My husband and I have a friend who seems to have lost his “buffer zone” pretty much all together. He has actually asked people, to their face, why they have gotten so fat lately. Really?!

I wonder why it, is that certain people don’t seem to recognize when a comment is out-of-place, either by its timing or purely by its existence.

Since these events, it occurs to me that perhaps I need to be taking better stock of my kids’ “buffer zone”. Do they speak at times when it is best to remain quiet? Do they say things that ought not to be said?

I would hate to be out somewhere with my children and find myself slinking down in my chair, due to the ridiculous nonsense that just came out of one of their mouths.

Thankfully this doesn’t seem to be a frequent occurrence and is often a teaching moment for all of us.

I hope that as my children grow, their “buffer zone” remains steadily in place.

How do you feel about people shouting out comments in a quiet moment?

14 thoughts on “Buffer Zone

  1. I completely agree. I think we have so much technology and we have lost our tact. We, as a culture, have lost decorum and propriety. Manners! With Johnny getting a trophy just for showing up, our culture in general seems to work overtime in developing self-esteem! It is so frustrating. Thanks for expressing something I am seeing more and more!!!


  2. Lack of self awareness, or the buffer zone as you call it is a huge problem. I’m not really sure of the solution for others, but I try to teach my kids to be self aware, thereby ring able to censor themselves a bit and be incontrol and aware of their actions. I also try to model that myself, but I think we’ve all had a moment when we realized we should have censored ourselves a bit better.


      • (Laughing…) I really dislike when I have commented on someone’s blog and I make a mistake. I usually try and proof it, but every once in a while something escapes my attention until too late.
        When I do make a mistake, I feel the need to instantly write an apology and correct my poor grammar.
        (Still chuckling…) I’m so glad that I am not alone in making these mistakes.
        I remember reading a book that mentioned mistakes are a good thing. It helps people know we are human. Being human is good. 🙂


      • So true, I’m usually much better about proofing, but I’m getting a cold and somehow it seemed like a brilliant idea to respond via iPhone. That is almost never a good call! It’s really a compliment to your post, I was so very inspired I couldn’t wait to respond!


    • I agree I think all of us have moments when, upon reflection, we ask ourselves, “Why did I just say that?”
      The key is to learn from those situations and not to repeat them. Unfortunately some people not only fail to reassess, but they find this character trait amusing.
      I am trying to keep my children aware of their surroundings and the appropriate decorum therewith.


  3. We live overseas and the language barrier, while frustrating at times, has been my saving grace on numerous occasions when my children have blurted out things like, “She looks old like grandma!” or, “Look at his bad teeth!” and I all I could think was, “Thank goodness these people can’t understand us” 🙂


  4. My children’s mouths are my best check on whether what I’m saying is something that really needs to be spoken aloud. My husband and I call it the “parent filter:’ before we make any remark, even in private, we consider how we would react if our little ones repeated it in public. That’s led to our theory that every member of the political class should be followed by a gaggle of preschoolers at all times 🙂

    Seriously, though, teaching our kids when to speak and when to remain silent has been one of our big challenges. They get good role modeling on that at home (to the point that if we’re watching a movie or concert at home, we recreate the theatre in miniature and work in an etiquette lesson) most of the time, but we still get those outbursts right in the middle of important phone calls or the, “Mommy, that silly girl forgot to put her pants on,” when our oldest (she’s 5) sees a fashion statement that should have remained unsaid. It’s a part of educating our kids, and the sad part is that too many parents don’t understand that good manners must be taught.

    I agree with the commenters who pointed out the prevalence of internet/smartphone communications is at least partly to blame. It’s tough to teach anyone how to properly interact with other people when all your communicating is done by text message or tweet!

    Thanks for the post. I’m adding this one to my “stuff I need to remember” notebook! Peace be with you — Kelly


    • I agree, being a parent is the surest way of making you “clean up your act”. I have readjusted much of what I used to think acceptable, since becoming a parent.
      I think the idea of having a group of preschoolers constantly around is cute, but sadly wouldn’t work on the half of society who don’t seem to mind their behavior in front of their own children!
      It is the heart of people that needs to change and that often proves the hardest obstacle.


  5. This is a huge peeve of mine. I find that the manners of children and adults has diminished in many regards. When I hold the door open for someone, they often look surprised. I teach my children proper manners and to respect their elders and peers as well. I agree with another commenter that social media has diminished the quality of adult personal interaction. Great post. And you are not alone!


  6. I wonder if the movie thing isn’t an ugly by-product of social media me-ism?

    On the other hand I admit I am mouthy about child abuse/child advocacy

    Children should be free to be impolite to anyone who hurts them and loud about anything dangerous

    You are a good mom


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