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Most of us have a certain distance that we like others to keep from others, depending on who the other person is. This is probably skewed now in 2020 when we are told to keep a safe distance from everyone.
Nevertheless, personal space, the distance between two people in any social, family or work environment, is like a bubble that you must be in, always.
Personal space varies from one person to another, with many factors in play like how well we know the person, the relationship and trust, along with your culture.
People living in small towns and wide-open spaces prefer a bigger personal space, while new yorkers are probably used to having people in their bubble most of the time.
The factors that determine a comfortable personal space: the gender of the two people, the professional or personal relationship, nature of the relationship (friendly or romantic), one’s customs and culture.
Of personal space, distance is 0 to 20 inches for intimate couples, 1-½ to 3 feet for friends and family, 3 to 10 feet for acquaintances and office workers, 4 feet or more for strangers and about 12 feet while speaking to a large group.
Open offices are a personal space disaster, and we need to be extra careful about other’s personal space. Observe professional distance even if you know your colleagues really well. Other people watching you may take things in a different way.
If someone is invading your personal space, you can lean away if you feel offended, taking a step back. You can also inform the other person that you are uncomfortable being close and need more space.
We can tell our kids about personal space using the easy to imagine ‘bubble’ analogy.
Tell them the invisible bubble around them pops when people that they don’t know get too close. It is imperative that they know that we have to be informed if anyone tries to touch them inappropriately.
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