Ms. Manners – Column

Ms. Manners Breakout on Personal Space

Now there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand the meaning of personal space…at school, at home, and most certainly at work, but please take heed to the words that are to follow:

 Let’s breakdown the meaning of Personal Space: Personal (as in one person, one being) Space (distance, zone, area) is the space in which one person is exhibiting. Some may call it their comfort zone and it can be physical or mental, but in any event it exists. The #1 rule all people on EARTH should adhere to is that of never entering another’s personal space. Sometimes people don’t have enough common sense to understand this, but this will help to better clarify:

 Do NOT come in another’s person’s face. To explain anything, to ask for anything, to joke for anything….never not never. Not only is getting in someone’s face rude, it can be misinterpreted as “stepping to someone” more commonly known as “agitating an altercation,” and no one needs to get slapped because  of it.

 DO give a person an arm’s length distance when speaking and or approaching. ESPECIALLY if you do not know the person. It makes people highly uncomfortable to have another person’s body enter their sphere of comfort. It’s an unwanted intrusion.

 DO NOT touch, feel, grab ANYTHING in another person’s personal space. This can be as simple as the pencils or trinkets on a co-worker’s desk to the hands and fingers of a blind date. It’s just all kinds of creepy.

 DO remember that entrance into a person’s personal space is only given with time AND permission. Some people will never allow others who they may know for YEARS into their personal space because they’re just plain ol’ line-stepping oblivious no boundaries having people. Always gauge a person’s comfort level and if you’re not sure, ASK.

 *EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE* The ONLY time I will give this exception to this human-right of a rule is for when personal space isn’t an option…for instance…a packed bus or subway station. But even then you can adhere to personal space rules i.e.:

 *try not to breath hard on your neighbor

*bring your conversation down so that your loud voice doesn’t hurt your neighbor’s eardrums…and so the spit doesn’t fly

* cover your mouth when you sneeze, cough, or anything that’s just nasty

*say “EXCUSE ME” if you have to bump and or touch someone and DON’T take advantage of the fact that you’re touching someone either. Appear completely uninterested…you can get arrested for feeling up someone and blaming it on the train.

*keep your head down and your eyes away. Staring at someone in the back of their head while you’re pushed up on their back for a few stops is something out of Creepersville.

* and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: Don’t start a conversation, or make any kind of unruly comment about an individual that you do not know. It’s bad enough that you’re in their physical personal space…don’t agitate the situation to create further discomfort.

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