5 Signs you are invading my personal space.

invading personal spaceMost people hate to offend others by not telling them they are invading their personal space, but there comes a time when you are offending yourself by being “politically correct”.    When you tell someone what they want to hear or withhold vital information from them you are doing them more harm.

Sometimes it is better to let someone know they are standing too close.

The issue of personal space varies from person to person.

Men and women have a different view.

I can speak for myself I treasure my personal space and I think most people do also.

Your personal space should be honored.

It is up to you to draw your boundaries.    Some people are verbal while others give signs.

I have listed the 5 most common signs of personal space invasion.

1. The step back

This one is funny to see, but it is the most visual sign.  If someone you are talking to take a step back they are trying to set up their personal space barrier.

It does not mean they are not interested in your conversation, but it is really hard to concentrate on your conversation when they are uncomfortable.

Please do not step forward.  

Stepping forward can be seen as a sign of disrespect.   Standing closer does not make your conversation more important.

2. Pretending to grab something

Sometimes we try to gain space by reaching for an object.  The most common object in the workplace is the telephone.

It does not have to ring, for some reason now seems to be the best time to ergonomically adjust your telephone.

You have suffered with bad ergonomics for weeks.

You can gain some distance by reaching for the phone.

3.  Covering your top lip

This is more of a sign that you have given up.  You place your finger between your top lip and your nose.  Personal space has become even more important now because you think you notice an awful smell.

The smell could be bad breath (halitosis) or body odor (B.O.).  You say this must be what “hot garbage” smells like.  It really does not matter you just need a breath of fresh air. :)

Unfortunately, your wish to stay P.C. has won over.

4. Facial twitching

You twist your nose so you might catch a passing breeze or maybe your nasal septum will close for a minute.

You get bold and ask them if they smell anything and the answer is always no.

You want to know why the answer is always no because they have become so accustomed to the smell they are immune. :)

5. The walk around

Sometimes people get a little more bold and they began to walk around the room.  They are usually smiling from your story, not because your story is entertaining but they are happy to be breathing freely.

If you notice this behavior a lot it is probably better you call first. :)

Here is a bonus sign

1. Circulate air by turning on fan

They are not opposed to offending you. They have given up being P.C..  They do not care if you walk away a little hurt but at least they heard your whole conversation. :)

I want to know what methods you have used to gain personal space?

What distance is comfortable for you?

Do you believe in being politically correct?



  1. Hi Michael

    I give utmost impotance to my personal, space. That can be result of the cultural differences. At times people tend to be friendly for no reasons, I really avoid them.


    • Yep, I hate it when people do not respect your personal space. Your personal space is just that personal. People that get friendly for no reason in America are a little spooky.

  2. Good article dude.By reading this many people can avoid the problem of the inferiorty complex. Thanks for sharing it. It builds up my confidence to great extent.

  3. My personal space is very valuable. As a female, if someone gets too close to me (even girls for that matter), I usually just take a step back. However, if they still keep coming near me for the second time, I just raise my hand forward in a ‘stop there’ fashion without uttering a word.

  4. I have been told I am intimidating as I am very tall and fairly introverted. This just seems to make people want to be my ‘close friend’ and so they don’t want to feel intimidated, they continually walk into my space and pat me on the back like I am their long lost friend.

    My wife finds it amusing because she knows how I feel and she steps in to give me back my space. Ah, for having such a beautiful, caring wife.

  5. Crystal says:

    It is an invasion of your space, and could even be considered harassment under the right circumstances. Unfortunately for me, I never figure this out until after the fact, because I have had someone do this to me, and it was very disconcerting. It scared me enough that I never wanted to see or talk to this person again. Unfortunately, it was a person that I have to deal with whether I like it or not.

  6. DynnaLou says:

    Well for me this is very important and I guess a lot of people should be aware with this.. Anyway, thank you for the great help here..

  7. Candice I think most people back up, I think that is our first instinct. thanks for commenting.

  8. I didn’t give this much thought. Very interesting. You know something like this happens all the time. There are some that can’t wait to get close to you. I wonder if they are being friendly or just want to get close to you.

  9. Of everyone I have ever met there is just one person who I know that feels the need to stand inches from your and almost sit on your. Its just strange how people react like this, I have read a lot about personal space and the invading of personal space but what I have never read much on and would like to is the mindset or personality characteristics of the space invaders, why do they do it? What does it mean when someone stands so close to everyone all the time?!

    • Laura, I know some cultures view this differently. I do not know why people think it is fine, but it is pretty close to annoying. thanks

  10. Generally speaking, I’ve probably used the step back one the most. It is a visual cue for the other person. Consciously or otherwise, they somehow seem to get the message. That one seems to work great

  11. Michael this is a topic of great interest to me. I read that different cultures have different perspectives on personal space. I also read that persons with certain mental disorders lack a sense of the “invisible” boundaries that most of us sense intuitively. I have a very good friend from the Middle East who just stands closer than other people. That’s cool, although it takes some getting used to. :) In other cases, such as standing in line with strangers, it works to put your hands on your hips and swivel. Don’t do it fast, obviously it would hit someone. But gradually sweep out a space for yourself. These other techniques sound good, too. Most blogs don’t address these interesting issues of personal interaction. Bravo!

    • That is a good technique to clear space. Americans are not use to the closeness of other cultures but we can get used to it. People standing in line are a special case they think the line moves faster the closer they are. :) Thank you for your kind comments about my articles. It is my hope to bring good articles, that is why I call it intelligent conversations. thanks