How to Handle an Accidental Bathroom Encounter

You've happened into the sum of all fears. Follow these tips to ensure you don't make a bad situation worse.

You will need

  • Quick thinking
  • Tact

Step 1 Don't panic Your worst enemy is fear-induced paralysis. If you’re the one whose privacy has just been mercilessly trampled upon, cover thyself.

Step 2 Act promptly If you’re the careless intruder, leave immediately; the other party has nowhere to go.

Step 3 Secure the area Find your own stall, lock the door to avoid a retaliatory attack, and do your business. Before exiting, take a few deep breaths, and prepare to pretend like nothing happened.

Step 4 Avoid contact Avoid all contact with each other. Resist the urge to apologize or make light of the situation, as this will only make things worse. Remember: The encounter never occurred.

Step 5 Learn your lesson Learn your lesson. Before entering any bathroom, knock forcefully and take a moment to listen before you proceed. If someone knocks on your stall, shout back firmly, “Occupied!” Anything less could leave you in the hot seat.