Skip to content
September 26, 2012 / diannegray

Give me space – man!

Conga line dance, Albert Hall, Canberra – circa 1960s

I don’t know about you, but I have an invisible space that stretches out about an arm’s-length from my face. I keep this space between myself and people I don’t know. It is my ‘personal space’.

If I’m speaking to someone I don’t know and they move into this space I usually move back slightly. Most normal humans understand this shift in body language and comply. If I can smell their bacon and egg breakfast, I move back even further. If they spray when they speak, the distance is widened.

Why, oh why, don’t people at supermarket check-outs understand this?

You’re not going to get your groceries to the car any faster by doing the Conga line dance with me! If I take a step back and head-butt your nose or squash your big toe with my heel, don’t complain – it means you are too close! If your trolley hits me in the Achilles tendon, please don’t be surprised if I swear loudly because this kind of pain automatically produces four-letter-words.

Supermarket check-outs are not like parties or concerts where loud music brings us closer and they are not ‘personal’ moments where I enjoy sweet nothings whispered in my ear about your preference to apples over bananas!

Rant over :D

Is it just me – or do you dislike people invading your personal space?

About these ads


Leave a Comment
  1. 1girl4adamwest / Sep 26 2012 12:03 pm

    I can’t stand it either especially at the work place with gossip mongers. Keep your distance & if you can’t say whatever with space between us then don’t say it at all. Whew! that felt good to get out!

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 12:13 pm

      Hahaha – love it! I felt good when you said it too :)

  2. Maddie Cochere / Sep 26 2012 12:04 pm

    Dianne, you have just hit on my number one pet peeve of all time! Why are people in such a hurry to get their items out of their cart and onto the belt beside my items? They aren’t going anywhere. I try to keep my cart behind me so I am able to keep it between me and the person behind me. I’ve had people ask me to move up closer to the person in front of me! Oh, crikey, don’t get me started. :-) Thumbs up from me on your rant!

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 2:16 pm

      So glad I’m not the only one, Maddie :) And I feel really sorry for the people who are trying to work there as well because people can be so rude to them!

      It’s like their life depends on getting their stuff on the belt – but when it comes to paying they’re really slow. I saw a woman recently who was trying to shove everyone forward and when it came time for her to pay she fiddled around with change for ages. If she was in that much of a hurry she should have had the money ready!

      Oops- now I’m ranting again…

      I’m going to try your cart trick next time :D

  3. John / Sep 26 2012 12:07 pm

    I totally understand this. You have a large space bubble as do I. Seems everyone has a different size bubble that when perforated, causes an equal but opposite reaction: retraction.

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 12:15 pm

      Very clever, John!

      I know people whose space bubble is at the end of their nose and others at the end of the block! :D

  4. jmgoyder / Sep 26 2012 12:07 pm

    It’s not just you!

  5. susannairn / Sep 26 2012 12:14 pm

    I completely agree….personal space is not just a theory. Excellent rant!

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 12:18 pm

      Thanks, Susan – it just felt like a bit of a ranty day for me today. My once a year rant is done (until something annoys me next week) :D

  6. EllaDee / Sep 26 2012 12:16 pm

    Love your thoughts :) Personal hygiene issues aside, up close & personal is not something I do with strangers and anyone who knows me knows I like my space. My pet hate atm is having my heels stepped during the work commute. I can’t even say what I usually would… that so many people in train stations have the mentality of sheep, because it’s now recognised that sheep are quite smart.

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 12:25 pm

      Very well put! Even sheep try not to step on each other’s heels (and I’m sure they apologise if they do). I’m so glad I don’t have to do the train commute every day. I did the tram commute in Melbourne peak hour once and that was enough for me :)

  7. on thehomefrontandbeyond / Sep 26 2012 12:18 pm

    I do not understand people who invade your personal space – it makes me very uncomfortable

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 12:29 pm

      Exactly – and I think it’s because everyone’s personal space is calibrated differently. People just need to realise that just because they like talking or standing close – doesn’t mean everyone likes it

  8. bodhisattvaintraining / Sep 26 2012 12:27 pm

    It’s not just you :-) Love your line in the comments about space bubbles at the end of the nose and end of the block…I think mine goes around the block – don’t pop it peeps!!

  9. Kat / Sep 26 2012 12:53 pm

    People running into the back of me with a trolley is not something I like either. :|

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 1:43 pm

      It seriously hurts like nothing else (and it gives you a fright as well!)

  10. Denise Hisey / Sep 26 2012 1:04 pm

    Yesssss!!! Ack I hate it when that happens! Claustrophia sets in and I can’t even concentrate on what they are saying! I just keep thinking ‘back off, dude!” ha ha ha Love it!

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 1:45 pm

      That’s it! ‘Back Off, dude!’ I’m saying that next time :D

  11. Rick Mallery / Sep 26 2012 1:46 pm

    I can think of a few exceptions I’d allow to the personal space rule for strangers. But short of Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow, I say BACK the **** OFF!

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 2:03 pm

      Hahahahaha!!! I MAY allow the rule to slip if Brad Pitt was standing behind me and wanted to talk about his fruit and vegies (as long as I wasn’t slapped down by Angelina) :D

  12. lexiesnana / Sep 26 2012 2:15 pm

    I am the same way and while we are at it I also hate the huggers.Please don’t try to hug me if you are just a person that I happen to know.

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 2:36 pm

      OH! YES!!! and the kissers! YUCK! I met some guy the other day with his wife at lunch and when I went to leave he leaned over and tried to bloody kiss me! ARGH. I just about caught on fire getting out of the place :D

      If I don’t know you, don’t touch me – full stop.

      So glad you came by – great comment :)

  13. faydanamyjake / Sep 26 2012 2:20 pm

    The worst case of this ever was in line for immigration at Barcelona airport. Two ladies behind us got so close the only conclusion we could draw was they were either after very cheap thrills or trying to plant something on us. Dan was gritting his teeth and kept rolling his eyes at me. I found a different method. At every pause in line I would half turn to face the said ladies. this kicked in a slight back off response. So in this strange dance we proceeded slowly to security and once past had the pleasure of never seeing them again :)

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 2:40 pm

      Hahaha – I love this! After cheap thrills or trying to plant something on you – now that IS close :D

      I can actually visualise this dance and can’t stop laughing now!

      • faydanamyjake / Sep 26 2012 5:02 pm

        It was mad :)

      • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:30 pm

        Oh dear, I’m still laughing! :D

  14. Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Sep 26 2012 2:22 pm

    Oh my goodness – it is sooo not just you! :)

    I can’t tell you the number of times I have done that very same dance! You say this: “Most normal humans understand this shift in body language and comply” and I say amen girl! But there are some who don’t and after the annoying, peevish feeling, when I realize a person just doesn’t get it. It’s interesting – I will become aware of it, and keep shifting ever so subtly to keep my personal space, and they will keep shifting WITH me, moving back into the zone where they should not be. It astounds me when that happens, and when it does, I have no idea what the conversation is about because all I can think about is my next shift!

    Sorry you had a little too-close-for-comfort moment at the store!! :)

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 2:48 pm

      It’s amazing how they shift WITH you as you try to move further away from them! What are they thinking??? ‘This person likes moving backward so I’ll just get closer until they’re against the wall and have nowhere left to go?’

      If I’m at work or out and I walk towards someone and they pull their head back (even so slightly that no one else notices it) I stop. I know I’ve reached the edge of their bubble and theirs is bigger than mine :D

  15. Janna G. Noelle / Sep 26 2012 3:14 pm

    I have a funny story about personal space: As many people know, the “personal bubble” in Asia is much smaller than in the West, most likely due to greater population density. During one of my past park jobs, one of my duties was to lead groups on educational nature walks. One group that came one time was an ESL school with children (probably about 10-years-old) from Korea. There was probably about 30 kids in total.

    They were really into the hike, and every time I stopped to point out something, they would all crowd in close (in some cases, literally climbing over their crouched-down classmates) to see. Naturally, it was all a little too close for my North American standards. All day, I found myself constantly backing up and them constantly moving forward. I even asked them numerous times to stay put and give me a bit of room while backing up, but I think it was such a foreign concept to them, they just couldn’t comply.

    This all came to a head near the end of the day when I was standing on a tent platform with about a 2-foot drop behind it. I started to tell them something, and as one, they surged in to better listen. So there I was, essentially at the edge of a cliff with 30 kids standing about 8 inches away from me. I raised my hands (they were squished against my body, for that’s all I had room for), and begged them to please give me space – that it makes North Americans nervous when you stand that close to them. Off to the side, the ESL teachers were all laughing. “We’ve tried to tell them,” one of them said. It actually was pretty funny, or at least it is now. I can only imagine the look on my face. I’m sure it would have made a hilarious photograph.

    So, I’m feeling you in the don’t-crowd-me rant.

    Incidentally, I do most of my grocery shopping at 8am in the morning, on my way to work. The stores are empty.

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 4:45 pm

      Oh, Janna – what a fantastic story! I can just see it now :D You on the edge of the precipice and the children all running at you. There have been a couple of responses to this post that would make fantastic short films and this is definitely one of them! Absolutely love it!

      You’re very clever for shopping so early.

      I’m putting this response in the Memories and Dreams link above if that’s okay with you :)

    • faydanamyjake / Sep 26 2012 5:21 pm

      lol brilliant :)

  16. Nicole / Sep 26 2012 3:21 pm

    Personal space becomes important to me when I’m in line at the store paying for my purchases. Once in awhile, you get that person who keeps standing closer and closer to you as you are trying to pay. In this day and age, I’m very cognizant of personal space when paying for items and you never know if the person next to you is trying to watch you enter your pin number or if they are just unaware of the concept of personal space.

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 4:48 pm

      Good point, Nicole. You never know, People don’t do it at the ATMs so they shouldn’t do it in the shops.

      The person who moves closer and closer is the most annoying. My daughter usually swings her handbag around as she’s getting the money out and this usually works :)

  17. Drew Merten / Sep 26 2012 3:30 pm

    Absolutely Dianne. I open carry alot. For those who don’t know, that means I slap a firearm in a holster, clip it to my belt, and go to the supermarket (or walmart, or wherever). Personal space is very important. For me, I look at it as a safety thing, aside from the breath, body odor, or overwhelming perfume or cologne that the man or woman on either side of me is wearing. It sometimes amazes me how close people used to get before, but now don’t when they see the gun. I recommend trying it sometime. I guarantee you’ll see a difference :D

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 4:56 pm

      *asta la vista banana* :D

      Thanks for the tip but I’d be arrested immedialty in Australia if I looked even remotely like I was packing a piece :)

  18. Dragongirl0818 / Sep 26 2012 4:17 pm

    So recognizable! Especially the trolley-bumping-into-your-Achilles heel part! Hate it when people do that! And very often they don’t even apologise or realise they’re too close *sigh*

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 4:58 pm

      That really hurts – I don’t think people realise how much. It almost feels like someone’s shot you in the back of the leg.

      It happened to me and I did swear out loud (which is very unlike me) because it almost dropped me to the floor :(

  19. justinwriter / Sep 26 2012 4:18 pm

    Thank you for this post, Dianne. I totally relate to it. I am guilty of giving other people ‘death stares’ when they get too close. One recently gave me a gentle nudge to move up. Arrgghh! I know ‘space invaders’ do this because they lack manners and have no sense of etiquette, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could carry a force field that gives these people an electric shock every time they come too close? :)

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:00 pm

      What a great idea! I love that :D

      But we’d just have to make sure we turn it off before we get home :)

  20. harulawordsthatserve / Sep 26 2012 4:21 pm

    Ha ha he h a – love it! The comments thread here is really fun too. I have very expressive and uncontrollable eyes and I’m afraid ‘the look’ comes out if people get too close. Problem is sometimes it just makes people laugh but at least that breaks the ice and then I can more politely ask for my space to be respected. Then of course there’s tailgating…

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:04 pm

      I’d love to see your ‘look’ – it sounds hilarious! :D

      Grrrrr, tailgating – not good at all…

  21. pennycoho / Sep 26 2012 4:29 pm

    Yes! Someone who thinks like I do. I am a space – nut Dianne! I taught my kids about the importance of space and explained how and why it worked. That it was very rude and to always allow that arms length distance between you and another person. And I explained that the space allows each party the luxury of expression with their limbs (so no elbows in the eye for example). Actually I’ve come up with a whole bunch of “nice” creative ways to get space in a store, and it’s just by your posture and how you look at the person. I guess I should do a video and share, huh! :)

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:10 pm

      Please do, Penny. That would be fabulous!!!

      Our personal space is so important and it’s wonderful that you’ve taught your children how significant it is in everyday communication and relationships. I’m so glad you stopped by and hopefully you can make this video so we can all see how to take back our space the ‘nice’ way :D

      • pennycoho / Sep 26 2012 5:15 pm

        I don’t know my daughter says my voice is soft and friendly but my eyes are, I think she used the word “specifc”, but the body posture is the trick, it is actually (lol) a bruce lee posture (no kidding) hey it worked for him and I don’t even have to make any funny sounds, :)

      • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:50 pm

        I like the way your daughter describes your eyes as ‘specific’. My daughter always knows when I’m not happy about something because she say’s I’m wearing my ‘snake eyes!’ (no matter how hard I try to hide them!) :D

        I totally understand the Bruce Lee stance. It pushes an air of confidence through the aura. When my children were young I used this technique to help them boost their confidence. I would do little plays where there was no speaking, just looks and how I carried myself and I would ask them what kind of ‘feeling’ I was giving off. It worked every time (and they thought it was a great game) but as they grew older they learned to master it well and they’re all very confident, balanced adults now.

        That’s it, you’ve convinced me! I’m going to try it out (I haven’t it done this for years – it’s going to be so much fun!) next time I’m in this situation I’m doing the Bruce Lee stance. :D :D :D

      • pennycoho / Sep 26 2012 6:04 pm

        Yaaaaaaaa :)

  22. Admin / Sep 26 2012 4:33 pm

    “You’re not going to get your groceries to the car any faster by doing the Conga line dance with me!” I really liked this part the most. It is globally noticed and it is not understood why do people insist on doing this :) . For me I really tend to keep that space even if I was with my friend/bro etc … .

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:14 pm

      Thank you for dropping by and commenting, I’m really glad you liked this post :D

  23. maggiemyklebust / Sep 26 2012 4:36 pm

    Don’t even get me started…
    I hate when people invade my space.
    If they’re close enough that I can smell their breath, I back up!
    I also hate sitting next to strangers on airplanes, especially when they don’t stay on their own side of the arm rest. You know how some men sit with their legs wide open? Well, I recently flew next to a man who had his leg up against mine the entire flight!
    Rant over :)

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:25 pm

      Oh – good grief, Maggie!!! How awful!

      My husband hates flying for exactly the same reason. A couple of times I’ve picked him up at the airport and he’s said, ‘the bloke next to me thought it was okay to stick his pointy elbow in my side for the whole flight!’

      But the leg thing is taking it much too far (I showed my hubby your comment and he was totally grossed out). I don’t know how to get out of that one because you’re in a confined space so you can’t just get up and walk away. And it would be embarrassing to have to say to someone, ‘please close your legs!’

      And the breath thing? If I can smell their breath they’ve either got an oral hygiene issue or they’re way too close :D

  24. Bonnie at {PaperKeeper} / Sep 26 2012 5:12 pm

    Laughing…yes, exactly! You are very perceptive!

    And in the ‘shift dance” how do they NOT realize they are creeping closer and closer to you, or that the two of you have made at least three little rotations in the way you are in the room!?

    I just love how you took something so simple, and yet so human and turned it into a great post. Very Seinfeld of you my friend! :)

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 5:35 pm

      *Not that there’s anything wrong with that* :D

      I absolutely love Seinfeld, I think we should do a post one day where all the comments are taken from that show :)

  25. Vikki (The View Outside) / Sep 26 2012 5:21 pm

    Ha ha ha, I totally agree! :)


  26. jahnosecret / Sep 26 2012 5:55 pm

    Just take Larry David with you on your next grocery visit, and sic him on the zombie shoppers….

  27. bulldogsturf / Sep 26 2012 6:09 pm

    How I agree with you…. people that invade my space in the supermarket suffer the consequence… I turn quickly with a raised elbow… it’s a sickness I have… so when one ends with a black eye I am sorry… but its a sickness… called Getoutofmyarse… trolleys receive a sudden push back… also a consequence of the sickness…

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 6:42 pm

      HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I love the Getoutofmyarse sickness! Oh god, I’m in tears from your comment – just too funny! :D :D

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 6:51 pm

      And for some unknown reason WordPress must have found this funny as well because they decided to put it in six times :)

  28. ramblingsfromamum / Sep 26 2012 6:53 pm

    Di Loved the rant – so rant away whenever the mood strikes ‘ya!! :-)
    I agree with the Conga line, my pet “getoutofmyarse” eloquently written by bulldogsturf is lining up at the ATM.
    Why oh why must you hover behind me?
    Back off, can’t you see this is a private matter?
    I have to retrieve cash, stop looking over my shoulder?
    Isn’t it enough I have to cover the damn pin pad keys with my wallet..
    by then it’s a turn around stare with my “Are you serious”?? look.
    Thanks for popping in and liking too :-)

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 7:03 pm

      He’s a very funny guy, that Bulldogsturf!

      ATMs are horrid places, particularly when people are breathing down your neck. You cover the pinpad in case there are cameras in the ceiling (yes – this has happened) and then you glance around quickly as you rip the money out and then rush away clutching the purse. But as Penny pointed out, we need to do the Bruce Lee stance and show some confidence so people ‘back off’ :D

      • ramblingsfromamum / Sep 26 2012 7:31 pm

        Jen does the praying mantice stance… instead of Bruce Lee…I’m tipping that would scare the buggers off :-)

      • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 8:40 pm

        Or they’d laugh themselves to death :D

  29. seakist / Sep 26 2012 8:12 pm

    Oh man, I hate when people shove their shopping carts into me. I always turn around and say something sarcastic like, “Thanks, I love getting rammed in the ass with a shopping cart!” And it’s a shame because food shopping, to me, is such a pleasure. I actually find it relaxing and don’t mind waiting in a longer line if the cashier is pleasant. People are too much in a rush and since I’m a petite girl I always seem to get the brunt of it. (My husband said, “You’re such a small target, how do these people always bang into you?) One time a women, even shorter than me, was carrying boxes, running around and rammed right into my stomach! People just don’t watch!

    • diannegray / Sep 26 2012 8:41 pm

      OUCH! That’s really bad :( You poor thing…

  30. Job Conger / Sep 26 2012 9:03 pm

    In checkout lines at the supermarket, I keep a respectful distance from the person ahead because I don’t want the person to even think I’m too close. And if I start to hear sounds from the backside, I step back even rurther. :)

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:04 am

      Hahahahaha! Oh, that so funny! What a thought! :D

  31. danpentagram / Sep 26 2012 9:11 pm

    I totally get what your saying! I hate doing the shopping in the day time, it is far too busy and people don’t seem to care whether you were at the sausages first. You suddenly get a wave of sweaty arms shoved around you left, right and centre.

    I have to do my shopping very early in the morning at about 6am, otherwise i know i’ll burst a blood vessel.

    I honestly think sometimes, NO i am not moving out of the way this time, but sadly i always do.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:07 am

      This seems to be a recurring theme here, Dan. A few people have said they go shopping early in the morning. Our local store opens at 7am and I like to be at work at 7am, so I miss the good time to do it :(

      Sweaty arm pits and sausages! LOL :D

  32. Virginia / Sep 26 2012 9:27 pm

    Definitely not just you! I’m actually surprised some people don’t find this annoying :)

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:10 am

      So true, Virginia! I like my space and there are just times and places where its invaded (like shopping or on a plane). I guess other people don’t have that space around them so they don’t really care how close they get :)

  33. mcwoman / Sep 26 2012 9:36 pm

    When I was in college as a communication major, we studied the aspects of personal space. The distance we require differs from culture to culture. For instance, Americans tend to want a bigger distance around them, while Japanese people want less. I love that you brought up the topic and especially love the photo you used. If someone gets too close, I think we all step back. It’s the way we’re wired.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:16 am

      That’s really interesting, Barbara. In Australia we like more space too and it’s probably because we are born with so much more space around us (like Americans). When people come to visit Australia from the east they are overawed by the enormous stretches of land where you don’t see a living soul! America would be the same. In this sense we get used to having that large bubble that we know is our ‘personal space’
      Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting. Much appreciated :)

  34. Don't Quote Lily / Sep 26 2012 10:34 pm

    You’re not alone! I don’t know why people think the “personal space” rules don’t apply at checkout lines.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:19 am

      I’m not sure why either. Maybe they grow up like that with their mothers trying desperately to get them past the lolly section and they end up thinking it’s normal :D

  35. Britt Skrabanek / Sep 26 2012 11:06 pm

    Diannne…this is hilarious! People behave horrendously in grocery stores in general–impatient, frantic, and ill-mannered. It all comes to an uncomfortable finale at the check-out stand. Goodness! P.S. I like that you say “trolley”. : )

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:24 am

      Hahaha – thanks Britt! I think it’s called *cart* (that’s what someone else here called it). Don’t you love the difference in what things are called in different countries? Even in different states names for things change and sometimes people don’t know what you’re talking about :D

      You’re so right – I don’t know what it is about grocery stores, it’s almost as if people go primal because food is involved! :)

  36. Jacqui Murray / Sep 27 2012 12:07 am

    When I traveled the world right after college (so long ago), I came to realize this is a cultural thing. In Russia, people crowded together in lines and that was normal and acceptable. Drove me nuts.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:27 am

      I could imagine – it would drive me nuts too! We live in a multi-cultural world now so I guess we need to learn patients and try to understand that this is normal behaviour for a lot of people

  37. ocdreader/Elisa / Sep 27 2012 1:08 am

    I had that exact thing happen to me a couple of months ago. Each time I moved up 2 inches, she moved up 3 inches! Argh. I was so upset that I started thinking of myself like a tree or a wall and that just gets my ire up even further when they keep bumping into me. When I finally turned around to give a bit of a glare I realized she wasn’t “from around these here parts” so I let it go. Blegh…

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:31 am

      Okay – trying hard not laugh here! I’m glad you recognised the situation and understood her stance. Well done, Elisa :D

  38. MR Graham / Sep 27 2012 1:24 am

    Good grief, yes. I admit that my personal space is considerably larger than most people’s personal spaces, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask people to respect that. And when I take a step back, it is not an invitation to follow me, nor is it necessary to shout at me as though we were speaking across the Grand Canyon.
    Another thing I don’t understand is when someone in the checkout line feels the overwhelming need to tell me everything about his colonoscopy, her ex- husband, their recent efforts at IVF treatment, or something else about which I was NEVER CURIOUS.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:36 am

      Hahahaha!!! Love it :D You’re so much like me. I have little interest in strangers sprouting their problems at me and as soon as they start a little voice goes off in my head saying ‘get me out of here, now!’ Meanwhile, outwardly I smile and nod :D

      • MR Graham / Sep 27 2012 8:03 am

        I think you’re too nice for your own good. I only smile and nod if I can’t pretend I don’t speak English. xD

      • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 8:24 am

        :D I just choked on my coffee when I read that! :D

      • MR Graham / Sep 27 2012 10:11 am

        Whoops, sorry about that. xD

  39. adinparadise / Sep 27 2012 1:36 am

    I also need my space, Dianne. In Africa where living conditions and transport are so crowded for the majority, people do tend to stand much too close, especially at checkouts. I can get a bit paranoid, and stand at the side of my shopping cart, so that they can’t get too close to me. If I have a hand basket, I hold it slightly behind me, so they can’t run their cart into my heels. I have it all worked out :lol:

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:39 am

      Well done, Ad. It’s the ‘science of shopping’ and it sounds like you’ve got a masters degree in it!

      I’m using your techniques next time :D

  40. 4amWriter / Sep 27 2012 1:41 am

    Oh, I’m very protective of my personal space. It’s probably a combination of the introvert in me as well as I have no interest in smelling the breath of a stranger. :) Supermarkets are notorious for that. I have no idea why people need to cram themselves into the queue.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:40 am

      …and cram themselves so tightly! As if they’re going to get out any faster. It’s really odd

      I don’t like smelling stranger breath either! :D :D

  41. some stolen moments / Sep 27 2012 4:14 am

    I agree completely! The other place I can’t stand is the NYC subway! You literally have to leave your notion of space on the platform.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:42 am

      Lol – there should be a sign there – *please leave your notion of space on the platform*

      Well said! :D

  42. Photos With Finesse / Sep 27 2012 5:08 am

    Wal-Mart last Saturday night, this woman nailed me with her cart and then said ‘excuse me’. I actually told her had she said those two words first, I would have moved. Yes, I require space too. You are not alone. I hate unloading my trolley, then having to get them to back up so I can get between mine & theirs to move my own cart down the aisle. I’m always polite and say it with a smile, but some of the glares I get back just want to make me smack them.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:50 am

      It reminds me of driving. People get road rage and then they get trolley rage! I saw an exact incident that you mentioned about a month ago where a guy ran into a woman with a trolley and just as he hit her he yelled ‘look out!’ She turned to him and said, ‘you just hit me’ and he said, ‘I said look out!’ I went to see if she was okay and he just barged past swearing under his breath – what a ratbag!

      I love the way you want to smack them! Me too :D

  43. Jesssica / Sep 27 2012 6:43 am

    I’m right there with you. If I can feel you breathing on me, you are way too close! =) I thought it was a natural human reaction, to keep a personal space. Guess not.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 7:52 am

      Seems like it’s not. Some people must like ‘close’ unfortunately :)

  44. jmmcdowell / Sep 27 2012 8:41 am

    Well, you’ve struck a chord with this post! :) Yes, please respect my personal space, and I’ll respect yours. As an anthropologist, I KNOW the amount of space varies from culture to culture. But people of my culture should understand the same norms! And don’t get me started on the people who think they can touch me just because they’re talking to me in the line!

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 9:01 am

      Ewww! No touching please! It’s like random people who like to hug you – *give me space to breathe*!

      It’s great to hear from you on the anthropological level – nicely stated :)

  45. starproms / Sep 27 2012 8:41 am

    I think most people would agree with you Dianne. Not everyone has sweet breath do they! In England where we are a little squashed, it is hard to keep that space but I’ve noticed over here in the southern United States, that it is a lot easier. In fact, surprise, surprise, people actually apologise if they step in front of you while you’re looking at some books on a shelf in the bookstore of some cans of food in the supermarket. The first time that happened, I was amazed.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 9:02 am

      WOW – I’m sure all the American readers on here will be chuffed to hear that! Well done for sharing this with us :D

  46. agjorgenson / Sep 27 2012 10:33 am

    You’ve got my vote… I ride the bus to work most days and when it is wall to wall, everyone takes a deep breath and puts up with it, but my sense is most people really like a little distance.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 10:48 am

      Most people do like a little distance and I’m glad when they all ‘suck it in’ on the bus to make it more bearable for others :)

  47. jannatwrites / Sep 27 2012 3:59 pm

    I hear you. I can’t stand people in my space. Why is it that the person with dragon breath wants to lean in like they’re telling you a deep, dark secret. Sheesh, I can only hold my breath for so long!

  48. Spider42 / Sep 27 2012 4:32 pm

    A most honest rant you have here! :)
    Rant-y though it may have been, true nonetheless. I’m laid back and easy-going and rarely have issues with people but I agree that everyone should respect the personal space of others unless invited or unavoidably thrown in, it’s not hard to do.
    What you talk about regarding the closeness in the supermarket though, that in particular I liken to the bumper-to-bumber traffic jams I see : it’s crawling along and if I inch slower or the gap is too big between me and the guy in front, the guys behind will be honking and their cars will be trying to shove themselves up my tail-pipe, there are some things in modern life that just lend themselves to a shocking lack of patience.

    • diannegray / Sep 27 2012 5:52 pm

      Oh, so true! Car rage is very similar – and if you leave a safe space between yourself and the car in front, some idiot always thinks they can jam in there ;)

      Thanks for coming over to read and say hello! :D

  49. Anna Scott Graham / Sep 27 2012 11:30 pm

    Oh my goodness this ticks me off to no end! What I don’t understand is why others don’t want their personal space? Great post!

    • diannegray / Sep 28 2012 6:51 am

      It ticks me off too, Anna. Too true :)

  50. / Sep 28 2012 1:39 am

    LOVE this! I so am there with you.

  51. Daphne Shadows / Sep 28 2012 4:06 am

    Oh personal space invasion irks me. And people who it DOESN’T irk, do seem to like hanging around stores! Why, oh why, do they think that standing half an inch behind me is logical? Weirdos….

    • diannegray / Sep 28 2012 6:58 am

      Hahaha – they are weirdos! :D

      • Daphne Shadows / Oct 2 2012 2:36 am

        And they always seem to find you when you’re grumpy! ;)

  52. SJ O'Hart / Sep 28 2012 8:08 am

    DEFINITELY not just you. What gets my goat the most is men on buses or trains who insist on sitting with their legs so widely spread that I end up flattened against the window or sitting in the aisle. I guess I’m always going to take second place to their testicles’ personal space. Such is life.

    • diannegray / Sep 28 2012 8:44 am

      HAAAAAA! Love it! But isn’t that true for everything they do? :D

  53. dennisberry / Sep 28 2012 9:54 am

    Dianne–Therre are good rants and bad rants. That’s a two thumbs up rant.

    • diannegray / Sep 28 2012 4:28 pm

      Aw – thank you so much, Dennis! :)

  54. Zen / Sep 28 2012 5:09 pm

    You’re not the only one! I’m really picky when it comes to personal space, even with family and friends, let alone complete strangers. People who spray or have bad breath are the worst. =[

    • diannegray / Sep 29 2012 12:19 am

      Hahaha – I hate the sprayers! :D

  55. ellykurnia / Oct 2 2012 10:42 pm

    I don’t like people invading my personal space that’s why I try not to invade theirs. But you know people usually take a mistake in this action, the say I’m way too ignorant. Yeah different culture here in our eastern country

    • diannegray / Oct 3 2012 7:34 am

      Thanks for coming by and commenting. Nice to hear from you :D

  56. Pagadan / Oct 3 2012 3:29 pm

    And then there are the huggers. There aren’t that many people I enjoy being hugged by–and some of them are so tall! And I love your photo! Perfect.

    • diannegray / Oct 3 2012 5:48 pm

      Thank you! Random huggers are the worst! but then there are the kisses (YUCK!) :D

  57. FlowerMeNow / Oct 3 2012 10:19 pm

    We have a more or less wide personal “bubble”, that sometimes we are forced to reduce, when we are all packed up in the tube for example as we have no other choice. But man, how uncomfortable it feels, especially when the peope around you smell, or worse, touch your hand, I totally empathise with you! ;)

    • diannegray / Oct 4 2012 6:49 am

      This is so true – it never occured to me that our bubble can become bigger or smaller depending on where we are :) Thank you so much for commenting

  58. Subtlekate / Oct 5 2012 2:14 pm

    Oh yes, hate it. I get very cranky and am not backwards in showing my distaste for their invasion of my own little world. There is a mother of a little boy that plays with my son, she has no understanding of this space. She comes so close she actually touches and I had to tell her a few months ago to stand back. She was extremely offended. .

    • diannegray / Oct 5 2012 3:12 pm

      Oh dear! She shouldn’t have been offended – she was too close! Good on you for speaking your mind and not just constantly steeping back :) Well done!


  1. Circle of life? | patwoodblogging
  2. sisterhood nominations « some stolen moments

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,912 other followers

%d bloggers like this: