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Even psychology suggests that we are wired to feel uncomfortable about instances of people invading someone’s personal space, such as in the infamous incident of Joe Biden seemingly making women uncomfortable at the swearing-in ceremony of the former US Secretary of Defense. Gulf News readers share their own experiences and discuss why they continue to occur.

Personal bubble

People shouldn’t cross invisible boundaries

Personal space as we all know is a distance that we like to keep yourself from others to maintain a level of comfort. Let it be personal, public, intimate or social - space plays a major role. Space is like a bubble which encompasses the area where we all feel safe and I won’t let anyone enter it. We all allow some or the other person to enter our personal space like our partner family and our kids. But that is a personal decision, whether we want someone to enter it or not. If any person or even animal for instance says ‘no’ it means one is not allowed inside that bubble. It’s like an invisible boundary where no one can enter without your permission.

When someone wants personal space that’s doesn’t mean they are lonely or antisocial, it means you know exactly what you want. Initially I didn’t know the importance of personal space and was bit scared to express it thinking I might hurt other person if I say No but in long run l learned everyone no matter if it’s human animal or a small little creature we all need our personal space.

From Ms Vidya Rajeev

HR executive based in India

Everyone faces it

Make it a part of common culture to respect space

Living in multiple, densely populated, metropolitan cities throughout my life, I have experienced people invading my space time and again. My only question is: How have people not learned to behave better? I think that going forward, as a collective society, we need to promote a culture that is clear on what invading one’s space means. This would also help people voice when they feel uncomfortable or violated. I think this goes hand in hand with some of the positive changes in society that are currently taking place. Like the promotion of holding people accountable and social movements like #MeToo.

Also, being a man, I would like to highlight that usually the idea of someone invading your space is cited by women, but we, as men, too get our space invaded on the regular. It has nothing to do with age, gender or social status. It is basic courtesy to keep a comfortable distance between one another and It is high time people understand that.

From Mr Hassan Ahmad

Business consultant based in Sharjah

Happens in crowded areas

People need to be careful in public spaces

Like many other people I have repeatedly experienced people encroaching on my personal space. Invasion of space more specifically occurs when the invisible boundaries of space surrounding a human are unethically crossed by another person. It usually happens due to an excessive sense of crowding which can be a negative invasion of space for example, at a concert or a crowded train or bus during rush hours.

However, I have also encountered positive invasions of space when my consent is given to another person to cross the invisible boundaries; a hug for instance. However, these boundaries are set by the individual. Other common scenarios where I’ve experienced invasion of space are usually libraries where I’ve felt the other person peeping into my book or touching my pile of books. I believe that, personal space is every individual’s personal entity and for it to be invaded deliberately can result in an anxious and unpleasing experience. However, many times space is inevitably invaded as a result of many situational variables such as human density in crowded areas.

From Ms Aymen Ali

Pupil based in Ajman

Poll results

Have you ever experienced someone invading your space?

Yes: 66%

No: 34%

Have your say

Is the concept of ‘personal space’ different in each culture?