Personal Space

marslight

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#31
As far as crowds on a beach go, other more mundane forces enter into the equation. Where is the beach? How is parking, or bus access? Is it a family beach, or a gay beach, or a volleyball beach, or a surfers' beach? Crowded conditions acceptable at Venice or Santa Monica would be unacceptable at a beach further up the coast, say past Malibu. How about if it were a nude beach?
 

Anome

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#32
I like my personal space, and the way other people seem willing to ignore it is a constant distraction. I have to say that I find London is far too crowded for me. (Although I do like the city, the number of people can be maddening.)

Then again, I feel much the same way about Sydney, and Canberra at certain times of week.
 
A

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#33
I live in a fairly small town, and walking down the High Street or just shopping winds me up terribly. It's so cramped; there's people everywhere blithely wandering around, stopping dead in front of you, bumping into you - it's ridiculous. You'd think the place was populated by the most ignorant, ill-mannered boors on the planet.

And yet, if I go to a place like Slough or Birmingham, there seems to be more of an effort to maintain your own personal space. And because everyone is trying to do that, you don't get so jostled or imposed upon. Even though there is obviously a hell of a lot more people.
 

EnolaGaia

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#34
Anthropologist Edward T. Hall discussed personal space issues in his classic book The Hidden Dimension, and he dubbed the study of such issues 'proxemics'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxemics

The book, though dated, is still an interesting read.

Back in the very early 1970's my college pals and I ran multiple experiments in proxemics and affiliated issues. We consistently found evidence supportive of Hall's ideas.

I don't see many illustrative examples of proxemics in daily life like I once did. I think a lot of it has to do with the proliferation of cell phones, which has resulted in everyone blundering around in a daze of situation un-awareness.
 

Yithian

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#35
For obvious biographical reasons I am interested in the national/cultural differences in the evaluation and assignment of space: not only the old chestnut that certain groups require/desire more or less than others, but also how distinctions and classifications of space as being public or private are made. In some localities, it seems, whatever is notionally 'everybody's' is in truth 'nobody's', while in other localities what is 'everybody's' is by default 'yours' as a member of 'everybody'. Cleaning is the classic example, but any activity within publicly or collectively owned/administered space seems to work the same way. Ever worked in a college or lived in halls of residence?

Such issues also seem linked to base divisions between groups and individuals. When a member of a group of which I am a reciprocal member (I am accepted by the group and in turn accept all fellow members) the requirement for personal space seems to be reduced, but when alone with strangers or groups of which I am not a member, the requirement increases. Public transport is a decent example of when such details come into play.
 

EnolaGaia

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#36
... Public transport is a decent example of when such details come into play.
Yes ... Public spaces within which locally routine space affordances cannot be maintained (crowded buses; waiting areas; etc.) usually force a temporary breakdown or suspension of personal spacing 'rules'. In Western cultures this is often accompanied by adoption of a somewhat zombified avoidance of eye contact or similar virtual disengagement tactics.

The 'normal' personal spacing behaviors are usually observable up to the point the public space becomes 'saturated' with too many bodies to maintain preferred interpersonal distance.
 

EnolaGaia

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#37
For obvious biographical reasons I am interested in the national/cultural differences in the evaluation and assignment of space ...
There can be sub-cultural / localized variations, down to the level of particular households, families, and / or social groups of all sizes.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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#39
I cannot abide people who sit or stand too close to me; strangers, I mean. I am perfectly content being as close as possible to Mr Zebra, but we both share the same need for personal space between us and strangers.

Several years ago I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery. I happened to be the only person in the waiting room, which consisted of two rows of plastic chairs I was sitting on the end chair of the front row. In walks a woman who gave her details to the receptionist then proceeded to sit... right next to me. Not on the five or six empty chairs further over, or the completely empty row behind, but right next to me. :mad:

I mean, why, for crying out loud? If she'd already been sitting there and I'd come in after, I would have probably sat on the exact opposite side of the empty row.

Of course, being British I was far too polite to get up and move to a different chair, but I spent the next several minutes sitting in complete uncomfortableness until I was called in to the doctor's room.


A good arm's length at least between me and the next person, thank-you-very-much.
 

Swifty

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#40
I cannot abide people who sit or stand too close to me; strangers, I mean. I am perfectly content being as close as possible to Mr Zebra, but we both share the same need for personal space between us and strangers.

Several years ago I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery. I happened to be the only person in the waiting room, which consisted of two rows of plastic chairs I was sitting on the end chair of the front row. In walks a woman who gave her details to the receptionist then proceeded to sit... right next to me. Not on the five or six empty chairs further over, or the completely empty row behind, but right next to me. :mad:

I mean, why, for crying out loud? If she'd already been sitting there and I'd come in after, I would have probably sat on the exact opposite side of the empty row.
Of course, being British I was far too polite to get up and move to a different chair, but I spent the next several minutes sitting in complete uncomfortableness until I was called in to the doctor's room.


A good arm's length at least between me and the next person, thank-you-very-much.
That is a bit weird (of her), I agree .. I'd have felt uncomfortable as well .... that's almost the same thing as the unwritten law that us men must do everything we can not to stand next to another man at a urinal unless it's unavoidable.

Was the seat you sat in closest to the doctor's door? .. maybe she was being British by sitting in a Que?
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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#44
That is a bit weird (of her), I agree .. I'd have felt uncomfortable as well .... that's almost the same thing as the unwritten law that us men must do everything we can not to stand next to another man at a urinal unless it's unavoidable.

Was the seat you sat in closest to the doctor's door? .. maybe she was being British by sitting in a Que?

The seat I'd sat in was furthest from the door actually (thinking about it, I don't really like to be the closest to a door... just another strange Zebs quirk :) )

And the other daft thing about it was, she never even spoke to me. So it's not like she sat next to me to strike up a conversation or anything.
 

Swifty

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#45
The seat I'd sat in was furthest from the door actually (thinking about it, I don't really like to be the closest to a door... just another strange Zebs quirk :) )

And the other daft thing about it was, she never even spoke to me. So it's not like she sat next to me to strike up a conversation or anything.
Very odd .. you should have farted ..
 

mikfez

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#46
That is a bit weird (of her), I agree .. I'd have felt uncomfortable as well .... that's almost the same thing as the unwritten law that us men must do everything we can not to stand next to another man at a urinal unless it's unavoidable.

Was the seat you sat in closest to the doctor's door? .. maybe she was being British by sitting in a Que?
http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/the-10-rules-of-urinal-etiquette/

My brother will go out of his way to make people uncomfortable by sitting next to them in empty buses, waiting rooms, cafes etc. - the problem is he does it when he's with me too but it does lead to some interesting conversations.
 

Mythopoeika

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#47

Schrodinger's Zebra

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#48

blessmycottonsocks

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#50
At my previous job, I was seconded to a project team for a short contract. The PM was a woman in her 30s who, when talking with me, would move in to stand typically less than a foot/30 cm from my face. The first time she did this, I had the incongruous thought that she was going to kiss me in the office.
I had to fight the urge not to back away. Not because she was physically unattractive. She was tall, quite fit, affable and enjoyed a laugh. Quite apart from breaking the unspoken social etiquette of not invading people's personal space though, she was a yellow-fingered smoky girl, and smelt like an over-used ashtray.
 

Iris

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#51
I often think I have a little light above my head as strangers will often come close and start to chat if I am looking at something or sitting on a seat at the shopping centre.
On Friday a Balinese lady who used to live in our court saw me and chatted for quite awhile giving numerous hugs and cheek kisses although when she lived here we only said hello as we passed.
 

Swifty

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#52
At my previous job, I was seconded to a project team for a short contract. The PM was a woman in her 30s who, when talking with me, would move in to stand typically less than a foot/30 cm from my face. The first time she did this, I had the incongruous thought that she was going to kiss me in the office.
I had to fight the urge not to back away. Not because she was physically unattractive. She was tall, quite fit, affable and enjoyed a laugh. Quite apart from breaking the unspoken social etiquette of not invading people's personal space though, she was a yellow-fingered smoky girl, and smelt like an over-used ashtray.
I had a female boss like that once, just after I started working for her she told me that that was one of her tricks to intimidate people .. to stand uncomfortably close to their faces.

When it came time for me to move on to a better job, I told her I was handing in my notice. She was angry so she tried to do the same thing to me .. "I just calmly said "I'm not afraid of you ********".
 

Bigphoot2

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#53
One of the many great things about being retired is that I don't have my personal space invaded so often. We had one person at work who always wanted to know what people were reading or looking at on the computer and she would insist on resting her chin on that victim's shoulder while she ate. One thing I hate more than having my space invaded is listening to someone chomping, crunching and lip-smacking - especially in my ear.

After a few sudden shoulder raises she got the message - "Oh dear, I didn't see you there, did you bite your tongue, oh what a shame... etc etc"

We had another bloke who would stand right in front of people, toe to toe and then he'd start mumbling away and never looked anyone in the face, he seemed to be having a conversation with the person's left elbow. Couldn't understand a word he said as he spoke so quickly and quietly, then he'd wander off and bother someone else.

Ah the joys of being retired :)
 

Shady

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#54
I do not like people invading my space, so i back away and if they follow i push them away, and tell them straight, you are in my space, sod off and stand over there, or, get away from me.
Family and friends are not so bad, but even then there is still a little room needed sometimes.
In shop queues it can get annoying, but usually throwing them a dirty look makes em back off, as for cash machines I don't get them standing up to me, there is sometimes a mark on the floor where they have to stand and they don't go over it
 

Swifty

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#55
I do not like people invading my space, so i back away and if they follow i push them away, and tell them straight, you are in my space, sod off and stand over there, or, get away from me.
Family and friends are not so bad, but even then there is still a little room needed sometimes.
In shop queues it can get annoying, but usually throwing them a dirty look makes em back off, as for cash machines I don't get them standing up to me, there is sometimes a mark on the floor where they have to stand and they don't go over it
A friend of mine's used the line "If you get any closer, we're going to need to use protection" in the past :)
 

Swifty

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#59
From the Urinal Etiquette page:

"Do not sing or whistle. Ever. You’re just making it more awkward for everyone."

Especially if the song was "Strangers in the Night!" :lalala:
I was walking through a Morrissons store with the CEO one day, the customers were doing the usual stop and start then shuffle stuff and we were in a hurry so I told him I often started whistling when trying to walk through the customers .. it makes them part like the Red Sea ..
 

escargot

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#60
I was walking through a Morrissons store with the CEO one day, the customers were doing the usual stop and start then shuffle stuff and we were in a hurry so I told him I often started whistling when trying to walk through the customers .. it makes them part like the Red Sea ..
We cycle on the official offroad paths where you're supposed to ring a bell to warn pedestrians. Unfortunately they always jump out of their skins at the sound and start clutching each other in panic. It's easier to START TALKING LOUDLY TO TECHY ABOUT WHERE TO STOP FOR COFFEE and let them notice us naturally.
 
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