I bli neder follow the halacha of not taking 3 steps back from shmone esre until the person behind me (within 4 amot radius) is finished (Mishnah Berurah 102:18-19).

My question is - what is some practical (and ideally sourced) advice on how to achieve this without putting mental pressure on the person behind?

In order to see if they have finished, one has to turn around and take a decent observation of said person. If they are davening from siddur, they surely notice that a person is waiting for them to finish, and keeps on looking at them, and that can't be good for their kavana. I know it isn't good for mine when this happens.

Is there any given advice about what to do about this to minimise this awkwardness

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    I see people usually take 3 steps back to the side pretty casually, so that might work Commented Jul 2 at 19:45
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    @AvishaiTebeka if their starting point is outside the 4 Amos range of the person behind them, that is ok (although some poskim are more stringent given that one will be with 4 Amos diagonally). Otherwise, it is questionable
    – Yoreinu
    Commented Jul 2 at 19:52
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    @CuriousYid thanks for these questions. These are best asked separately, but as a quick answer - eyes closed makes no difference to this halacha, and you don't need to miss kedusha etc because once you have said the first, and especially the second "yih'yu leratzon", you can start answering these things even before you finish and step back (please look up the exact halachot for what you can specifically answer and when. Note also there is what to be discussed about not stepping back in general)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jul 2 at 20:35
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    @Yoreinu thank you. And some poskim are more lenient in general so I don't wish to cast aspersions on anyone on what they follow regarding this, which is why I started with the fact that I follow this halacha
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jul 2 at 21:12
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    @ba I'm fully aware... but it does not appear to me that turning one's own head around to ascertain the environment was ever legislated as being forbidden lest one distract others... there's no end to what could possibly interrupt someone else's concentration, but the halakhah has defined parameters. One can always go beyond the letter of the law, but at a certain point the onus of not getting distracted is on the person praying not those around him. Commented Jul 3 at 20:49


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