The Etiquette of Personal Space

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Personal space is something we all need, whether it’s at our jobs, in our homes, with our partners or wanting some space while waiting in a public line…it shows a bit of respect. Being territorial is part of nature; animals as well as people all require a certain amount of space that directly surrounds their ‘air’ space (measured circumference), around their body, and…or their possessions’. When thinking of driving an automobile on the road, we are supposed to leave a car length space in front, while applying the 3 second rule when driving at higher speeds; we must allow enough space in the event of an emergency, but also it’s a mutual respect on the road. No matter how you look at this, everyone requires a bit of space regardless of where, what, or who is nearby. This is all about the etiquette of personal space, and it’ is real.

I’ve often referred to my own personal space as my bubble. So when I approach the checkout lane at the store, I make sure I allow the person in front of me adequate space to feel comfortable while doing their transaction, as I hope the one behind me will do the same; that’s not always the case though. Usually I feel the cart behind me, hitting my legs, butt or the back of my ankles! This is disturbing, and it shows no respect. Thinking about retail stores, many have pharmacies today. These types of counters actually had to place tape (or possibly paint a line) a few feet back, so that the person at the counter is allowed privacy. It’s an invasion of their personal space, not-to-mention just plain ‘rude.’ Think about banks today; they have a roped-in area for their customers to form a line in, allowing them privacy at the teller window, and the same goes for doctor offices. Businesses have had to put signage up asking people to stand behind the line, so they may call the next person in line forward at the appropriate time.

What the heck happened to society here? Why do people continue to invade others’ space? I’m beginning to think there should to be a handbook on general etiquette these days. Let’s say you are approaching a group of friends or co-workers… do you walk up to them at such a close range that your body is touching them? I don’t believe so, because you will normally stand around an arms-length of someone; hence the verbiage of ‘arms-length.’ Maybe the crowding of others is impatience…or feelings of entitlement. Speaking of entitlement, this reminds me of lines at the airports around the gate area. There are several types of lines found near the gate, but I’m going to refer to the First-Class line. These people always line up before they’re called, as they have a need to actually be first when entering I guess, but glancing at the majority of them…their faces read, “Do you know who I am?” It is the entitlement attitude, and it’s not nice. They put their clothes on the same way as you and I, and so…the story goes. We should be aware of others when having to be in public and allow everyone personal space; it really is the right thing to do. Nobody likes to feel invaded, especially when doing transactions or any other type of business, whether it’s personal or not. So next time you find yourself in a line… be respectful. That’s all anyone wants today, and we all deserve it.

Make your week count.


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