The Safe Zone With People

There is a “Safe Zone” that exists with the people we know. It is the level at which they feel comfortable toward us about what we’ll do at any given moment. Depending on how safe someone feels toward us, they will or will not engage in dialog. In fact, if someone does not feel in a safe zone with you at a very severe level, they will probably ask you to not contact them at all. This is useful to understand people.

Crucial Conversations

A book I read recently, Crucial Conversations, talks about the safe zone with people. Whenever there is a rift or difficulty among people, it usually boils down to that one of the people feels threatened or does not feel safe or comfortable with what the other is saying or doing. When this occurs, it’s impossible to have any kind of reasonable discussion or dialog.

I look at myself in my own life and kind of say, “Oh crap” :). I’m very much into retrospecting from within and writing my deepest feelings and thoughts here on my website. It now occurs to me that, hmmmm, I can’t tell who is reading my website, but there’s a chance that some people could read it and feel a bit unsafe by how personally I am sharing things.

I don’t know this for sure, but inspiration struck me today to write about this – the things I say, do, and write likely impact what other people think and feel – and what they decide to do, especially if they read my website. It’s something to think about anyway – how can I think about what I’m about to write in such a way that it brings safety to my audience of readers.

I think what I can retrospectively learn here is that I need to think of two things before I write – what I want to share fearlessly and courageously and then find a way to do it that wouldn’t ever violate the safe zone of another person reading. This will require me to harness my inspiration and channel it in a more safe and creative way – which I think I’ve been doing pretty well at.

Part of my philosophy of life is to act on inspiration when it strikes. And I felt today to write about this subject. It’s useful for understanding people and also for those in leadership positions who want to better gauge how people on their team are doing and why they are acting a certain way.

What Does the Safe Zone Mean?

I’ll use a little analogy to talk about the safe zone. Think of yourself laying down on the grass. You’re just laying there reading a book and enjoying the nice summer breeze. As you lay down and enjoy your book you see off in the distance a big spider – let’s say it’s about 10 feet wide and it’s just scurrying along and causing a ruckus.

Chances are, seeing this spider is going to give you a feeling of not being safe. If it’s not immediately coming toward you, you will probably be less inclined to run away, but still, you’ll probably become very cautious of it as you see it hovering in the distance. The closer you feel the spider closing in, the more likely you are to high tail it out of there.

The more the spider distances itself and you feel its presence leaving, the more safe you will feel. But what if the spider gets close and doesn’t do anything harmful? What if the spider simply plops down – how do spiders plop down anyway? Do they lay on their bellies or do something else? I’m going to figure this one out, hang on a moment.

Sleeping SpiderAh, there we go, someone has taken the liberty to do the research to find out what a sleeping spider looks like. It seems they just stop moving and then fall asleep. I think if I were a spider, it would be kind of hard to sleep. I’d be trying to get my 8 legs to rest properly, but because my underbelly is not totally flat, I would wobble a bit when I slept.

Maybe spiders just go find their web so they can stick to it and not have to worry about the logistics of how to sleep and be comfortable. But if I were a spider and didn’t have a web, I’d be a little afraid – hopefully I wouldn’t be a spider wandering around in somebody’s bathtub, sink, or by a water spout, that wouldn’t be very safe.

So I think spiders are just really trying to find their webs and get a nice warm meal like most of us life forms on earth. There’s no harm in that right? Now, if you are a spider and you’re scaring someone, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

If you happen to be a spider reading this, let me share a few key tips for you to make us humans feel a little safer.

Do Something Silly

If you spiders would just do something really silly, like spin around on your bellies or make a web that wasn’t so uniform, that’d be cool. Like make a web, but make it look like the number 2. Then we’ll just stare at it and think how cool it is. We might even take you as a pet and feed you ourselves. If you could find a way to walk on just 4 of your legs and raise the other 4 in the air, that would make us feel really safe around you too.

Show Us We Are Safe

If you are a spider who maybe lost a few legs in an accident or haven’t been able to spin your webs very well, you can still make us humans feel safe. Just let us know we are safe. If we see you, just nod your head ever so slightly and then hobble away. The worst thing you can do when you see us humans is to scurry toward us. I’ve seen some of your comrades do this and usually, it doesn’t end very well for them. I know you have eight eyes and maybe you see us backwards instead of forwards so you think you are scurrying away, but this is important advice as many of us humans like to take a book to spiders that are crawling toward us.

Let Us Know You Understand

I know you spiders can’t talk, but it might be good if you found a way to learn English and spin a web and write to use when we talk to you. Sure, it might take you your whole life to respond to our one question, but isn’t it worth it to learn numbers, letters, and how to write… err in your case web?

If you could just make a web that says, “I’m not going to bite you or crawl on you,” that would do it for 90% of us I think. We’d let you stay in our room with your own slotted piece of land and feed you too.

Encourage Us

Finally, if you could just encourage us humans sometimes, that’d be great. Sometimes we humans need to know that we’re headed down the right track and doing good. I don’t know how you’ll do this as a little spider. Maybe you’ll have to get a few thousand of your friends and come up with some way to spin a web of a giant heart or something. But then again, it might be scary seeing 1,000 spiders at once, but you get the idea.


Perhaps at one time or another, we all become a big scurrying spider to someone else. If so, just learn what I’ve been telling the spiders who read my website. Then I think we as humans and spiders can all live in harmony, peace, and even do some really cool things together!

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