No… I am not into space wars!
I am talking about invasion of personal space.
How do you feel when somebody puts their face closer to you during conversation (sometimes with bad odor) or some unknown person stands behind you almost touching your body?
In the office cubicle?
During Black Friday sales?
How about the stranger next to your seat leaning on your shoulder during flights?
You may or you may not know that we all have an invisible bubble around us known as ‘personal space’.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines personal space as, “The distance from another person at which one feels comfortable when talking to or being next to that other person“.
Why Personal Space Is Important?
Personal space is a comfort zone.
We experience annoyance if the personal space is violated, a sort of discomfort when someone stands too close.
Either you turn away or avoid or stop the conversation. This reaction is an instant human instinct.
Animals have it too, they scent-mark their territory.
“Personal space is something that isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity like air or water”. Sabrina Choquetty-Tully
Zones Of Interpersonal Interaction
All of us maintain a certain distance from other people, depending on the settings we are in According to Edward Hall, who pioneered this subject describes four zones.
- Intimate distance (sexual intercourse, breast feeding an infant), 0 m to 45 cms (0 to 18 inches). I can add here pets and our children where we tend to be closer.
- Casual-personal distance (conversation with family and friends)… 45 cms to 1.2m (18 inches to 4 feet).
- Social-consultative distance -1.2 m to 3.6 m (4 feet to 12 feet).
- Public distance (talking to a group of people)-3.6 m to 7.6 m. (12 feet and even more).
So the whole thing depends on the closeness & personal relationships. (Source: Adian Sammons, psyclotron.org.uk).
Can Invasion Come From People Who Are Very Close To You?
Yes. But it should not suffocate you.
“I need space away from you so that I could love myself more, and so that I could love you even better”. Enki quotes
Are Women More Prone For Personal Space Invasion?
Yes and no, but I feel it can happen to men also.
Have you ever traveled in crowded buses and trains?
How about small but crowded lift?
And the busy tourist locations?
How close you were to the unknown people in terms of distance?
I understand many times women are subjected to groping if opportunities are ripe. Example: new year celebrations.
What Precautions You Can Take So That You Are Not Blamed Of Invading Others Personal Space?
Some of my thoughts:
- Stand 120 cms (4 feet) from strangers.
- In relationships (family, friends, spouse) respect the personal space. Everybody needs this sacred space.
- Don’t touch unknown people.
- Never reach for other’s children.
- Don’t slap anyone from the back side unless you know the person.
- Maintain the standard etiquette all the time.
What Is The Deadliest Item Invading Our Personal Space?
I guess it’s the cell phone.
I can also add drone photography.
“Camera phones threaten to turn everyone into amateur paparazzi. We are witnessing our personal space shrink because of the way technology is being used”. Daniel J Solove
What is your experience? Do you give a stern warning or are you OK with it ?
Please share your views on ‘personal space’ .
Check this video clip.
About the guest author:
Dr. Sridhar is the man behind Philosophy Through Photography.
This deep thinker from India wears many hats; he is a physician, a blogger, a philosopher and an amateur photographer.