Personal Space: The Final Frontier

This is Pierre McGuire – Credit:

Above, you have Pierre McGuire.  He’s an NHL Analyst who is known (around the internet at least) for really, and I mean REALLY liking Sidney Crosby.  Sidney Crosby is the Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Below, I’ve presented you Pierre and Sid.

It’s too perfect, it has to be Photoshopped.  Source


We’ll get to why those pictures mean something in a bit.

Have you ever stood in line at a gas station, or a grocery store, and felt like someone was right on you?  Not, “Hey cute thang, Rawr…”  more like, “Daddy, take me for a piggyback ride!” trying to climb up your back as they’re asking?  Sheesh, I have to work on my analogies.  Anyways, yeah, that happens to me more often than is comfortable.  What drives people to stand so close to you that their own bubble is intercepting yours?

I have a coworker who’s known to do this on a regular basis.  It’s similar to Pierre in the photo below.  It’s very uncomfortable.  I’ve rolled my desk chair in between us, I’ve leaned back against my work bench, and I’ve even taken a few steps back.  All that happens is he moves forward, like an electron trying to bind to a proton to make an Hydrogen Atom.

I’m gonna do some dirty things, shhhh, let me get closer first.

It’s worse when said co-worker decides that an ONION SANDWICH, yes, quite literally, a sandwich made of onions; is the best thing to eat for lunch.  Not only do you have the entire room that we share smelling like onions, and I have nothing against onions mind you, but the breath.  Can you imagine Pierre in the picture above, in your face, whispering sweet nothings about Sidney Crosby to you?  Yeah, that was my experience yesterday.

Here are your space distances, however they may vary by person. Source

Personal Space is limited to 1.5 feet out,  whereas Intimate Space is Pierre McGuire space, and Social Space is just perfect as a minimum for Onion Sandwiches and conversation at work.  Maybe Public Space would be best for that.   Here are the “norms”:

Interpersonal space is the psychological “bubble” that exists when one person stands too close to another. Research has revealed that there are four different zones of interpersonal space:

  1. Intimate distance ranges from touching to about 18 inches (46 cm) apart, and is reserved for lovers, children, close family members, friends, and pet animals.
  2. Personal distance begins about an arm’s length away; starting around 18 inches (46 cm) from the person and ending about 4 feet (122 cm) away. This space is used in conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions.
  3. Social distance ranges from 4 to 8 feet (1.2 m – 2.4 m) away from the person and is reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances.
  4. Public distance includes anything more than 8 feet (2.4 m) away, and is used for speeches, lectures, and theater. Public distance is essentially that range reserved for larger audiences.  (Source)

The problem that I have to be honest, is that it just doesn’t happen at work, like I mentioned earlier; it happens at gas stations and grocery stores also.  It even happens at the bar.  People like touching me, putting a hand on my shoulder, on my bar stool, poking me.  What is the social justification for these things?  I understand the poking, I’m pretty sure that was a form a flirting.  A handshake is one thing, but resting a hand on my shoulder for what feels like minutes is agonizing.  I personally like my significant other, if I had one, touching me, I request formally that this happens sooner than later also.

Okay, so here are some space things that you should know:

Neuropsychology describes personal space in terms of the kinds of ‘near-ness’ to the body.

  1. Extrapersonal Space: The space that occurs outside the reach of an individual.
  2. Peripersonal Space: The space within reach of any limb of an individual. Thus to be ‘within-arm’s length’ is to be within one’s peripersonal space.
  3. Pericutaneous Space: The space just outside our bodies but which might be near to touching it. Visual-tactile perceptive fields overlap in processing this space so that, for example, an individual might see a feather as not touching their skin but still feel the inklings of being tickled when it hovers just above their hand.  (Source)

I’ve determined that Personal Space is the Last Frontier, so please, do us all a favor and stay in the Extrapersonal Space for now people.  It makes others uncomfortable if you get into the Pierre Intimacy Space.  Unless you know, you’re hitting on me, and a cute female.  Then I might be a little more open to it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s