Personal space is something we take for granted; something that’s not truly understood until it’s taken away. We expect that under normal circumstances people understand the universal, un-written, common-sense law of personal space. However, on rare occasions you meet people that make the choice to violate your space, with reckless abandon. See exhibit 1, the most unforgivable act of personal space violation:
Exhibit 1: You arrive in a public restroom that’s completely empty – you notice there are 8 stalls – you feel pretty safe when you retire to the very last stall. You walk in the stall, close the door, and are completely horrified when a second person comes in the restroom, and chooses the stall right next to you. You’re even more shocked when they flail their hand under the stall to request toilet paper from you – not only are they infringing on your space, they’re asking you to assist!
DS Download: Violating a person’s personal space can send them into fight or flight mode, but luckily, there are tell tale signs that you’re doing it, so here goes: If your attempts to move your face closer to someone else’s face is met with an empty stare followed by the oddity that their face is slowly moving farther away from yours – that’s a sign. If you take a seat next to someone that results in them having to use both hands to pull their skirt or suit coat out from under you – that’s a sign you’re too close. Lastly, if you walk into a restroom and there are 8 stalls, and you choose the stall that’s right next to the only other person in the restroom then you are either a) taking your separation anxiety out on the restroom or b) planning that your wide stance will make a great first impression…just don’t do it!