Respecting people's personal space

Your personal space is like an invisible bubble that surrounds you. If people move inside this bubble when they are talking to you, it may make you feel uncomfortable. The better you know the person you’re talking to, the smaller the bubble may be.

Respecting others’ space is important to make them feel at ease with you.

The size of personal space may change

  • The bubble is larger if you are talking to a stranger.
  • The bubble is usually larger for two men than for two women.
  • The bubble may be very small for a man and a women if they are in a relationship.
  • The bubble may be larger than normal for a man and a women who are strangers to each other.
  • The bubble size may differ for different cultures.

Source: Your personal space @ Worsley School

Read more

  • What is Personal Space? @ WiseGeek

    Excerpt: Personal space is an approximate area surrounding an individual in which other people should not physically violate in order for them to feel comfortable and secure. The amount of personal space required for any given person is subjective. For example, one who is accustomed to busy city life, especially riding on crowded subways, is more tolerant of others impeding on their personal space than someone who may live in a more rural area. In fact one who is used to having their personal space respected may become extremely anxious and claustrophobic when placed in a situation where personal space is a luxury.

  • Personal space @ Wikipedia

    Excerpt: Personal space is the region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs. Most people value their personal space and feel discomfort, anger, or anxiety when their personal space is encroached. Permitting a person to enter personal space and entering somebody else’s personal space are indicators of perception of the relationship between the people. There is an intimate zone reserved for lovers, children and close family members. There is another zone used for conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions; a further zone is reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances; and a fourth zone is used for speeches, lectures, and theater; essentially, public distance is that range reserved for larger audiences.

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