Personal space

keep it or leave it!

The term “personal space” generally refers to the physical distance between two people in a social, family, or work environment. Think of your personal space as the air between your body and an invisible shield, or bubble, you have formed around yourself for any relationship.

General Rules of Personal Space

These rules vary according to culture and location, so they're not etched in stone. They're here as a guideline for social and professional etiquette.

Here are some basic rules:

  • Never touch anyone you don’t know.

  • Don’t reach for anyone else’s children, regardless of your intentions.

  • Stand at least 4 feet away from a person unless you know him or her well.

  • When someone leans away from you, you are probably in that person’s space that makes him or her uncomfortable. Take a step back.

  • If you walk into an auditorium or theater that isn’t crowded, leave an extra seat between you and the next person. However, it is acceptable to sit next to someone if the room is crowded.

  • Never lean over someone else’s shoulder to read something unless invited.

  • Never go through anyone else’s personal belongings.

  • Don’t allow your dog to go to the bathroom on someone else’s property.

  • Acknowledge personal space on the road. Don’t tailgate when driving.

  • Don’t fling your arm around someone’s shoulder or slap anyone on the back unless you know the person very well.

  • Don’t enter a room or office without knocking first.

  • Don’t cut in front of people in line.

Find out more here.


Here are some of the benefits of defining your personal space by Nathan Segal:

  1. You will have greater freedom of movement in the world

  2. People will know how close they can come to you

  3. People will know what kind of language to use when they are with you

  4. People will know what will happen if they violate your space and what consequences you will impose if they do so

  5. You will say NO when necessary

  6. You will have more self-respect because you are taking care of your most pressing needs

  7. You will be assertive

  8. Your intimate, personal, and business relationships will improve

  9. Other people will have more respect for you

Personal space and personal experience

by Ekaterina Sukhanova

Hi! I'm Kate, I'm a teacher of Chinese and English born in a tiny village of Siberia. Now I live in Italy. But it wasn't always this way - not about teaching, yet about Italy.

Everything had changed this summer, when I finally had a rare possibility to rejoin with my (now) husband after 5 months of being apart because you-know-what (maybe if we don't talk about that anymore, it will go? Sorry, just a joke).

So, I've become "la Signora Giordano" living in Imola, 30 km from Bologna in the north of Italy. 

I bet when you hear "Italy" there is a thought like "Good food, good wine, the sun and dolce vita!" in your head. This is what almost all my friends think my life looks like. 

If it were true, you would not be reading this text. 

Wow, don't be afraid, there are still tasty wine and good food. However, with the "dolce vita", it's a bit more complicated. 

Actually, I'm just going through a tough period of my life, which smart people call "cultural shock". I'd like to share with you how to listen to yourself and create your warm and peaceful tiny world, even when you had to cut off every single thing from your "old" life. 

It was unbelievably hard for me to accept that I wasn't ready to live in Italy. 

I pictured myself as an independent and organized person, who has been to different Italians cities many times. 

"Hey, I've been traveling to Italy for 7 years, not just like a tourist, I have a family and friends here. I know what it means to live like a local! I know!" 

Never let the arrogance trick you.

I did.

The life here is entirely different. I was shocked when I went food shopping for the first time, and the only thing I recognized was Nutella. 

It takes a huge effort not to convert the prices in rubles all the time. 

To make this long story short, after 1 month here, I found myself with no energy, lying in bed, staring at the wall in a rented apartment.

Covid-19 had ruined my wedding ceremony in Sorrento, I had spent 5 months alone stuck in Moscow, I had left all my belongings, my family and friends, I have no job, my Italian is not as cool as I wish it could be, my husband spends the whole day at work.

I was not "me" anymore at that moment. I didn't know what to do and I didn't really want to do anything. I just wanted to stay in my bed.

I had to face the reality - I'm an immigrant. And I have no idea how to be Italian.

In other words, the only option I had was to become myself. Again. 

I needed to create a space in which I can feel whole. 

I think bits of advice like "occupy your time, make yourself busy" to deal with the cultural shock are not reliable nor obvious. 

We are so different; everyone should find their way out. I want to share my way, maybe it will help an alone distracted soul in a distant place. 

1. Cry. It helps to get rid of stress and to clear thoughts. 

2. It won't be like that all the time. Just remember that nothing lasts forever. 

3. Tell your friends and family the way you feel. Make them understand that you are not just "sad." Tell them that every call from them cheers you up. 

My friend calls me on her way to the office. We have 15-20 min, but it means the world to me. 

That’s all by now,

stay amazing <3

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