It means at least a 3 ft radius around me at all times whenever people are around, unless we are in an area that does not allow that…like an elevator.
But COME ON, why do we have personal space in the first place? I will tell you why…
- so we do not have to hear strangers breathing unnecessarily close to our necks
- so we do not have to smell a stranger’s disgusting smelling cologne/perfume
- so we do not have to hear a stranger’s loud chewing
- so we do not have to feel a stranger graze past us
- so we do not have strangers trying to read over our shoulders
This list can go on forever, but you get the point.
If we are in a cramped elevator, fine, I can deal with not having any personal space, but if we are in a Starbucks waiting for our drinks and the Starbucks is empty, please do not stand within inches of me. It is freaking creepy and uncomfortable. Same goes with sitting on a bus, if there are empty seats everywhere don’t sit next to me! or on a plane or a train or in class. Personal space exists for a reason!
I wish there was a polite way of telling someone that they are invading your personal space. Maybe someone can come up with a universal signal that means you are too close to me, go away — just like there is a universal symbol of wiping at your face if your friend has something on their face. If someone can come up with this sign, please let me know.