Personal Space: Arms Length

Personal Space: Arm’s Length

January 24, 2016

Stick your arm out. That’s the distance anyone should be from me during a conversation. For males, add a couple inches.

The basic rules regarding personal space need to be taught in classes. Whether it’s a department store saleswoman violently spraying perfume at me, or peers that get so close while having a conversation that their pores are visible, people seem to think that they have every right to be so uncomfortably close, oblivious to the fact that I’m practically twitching with anxiety. It’s already hard enough as is to hold eye contact with people, but when there’s a face three inches away, it immediately starts to feel slightly too intimate for my taste.

There’s no nice way to tell someone that their face is causing my skin to crawl. When someone has entered that deep into my personal bubble, the conversation is dead to me. The only thing on my mind is planning a passive way to remove myself from being a flinch away from an unintended kiss. But unfortunately, I have yet to master the art of subtlety. I very bluntly back off if it gets too close; but somehow, the farther I back away, the more they inch even closer toward me, once again.

The feeling of someone hovering over me with their heavy, unusually warm breaths on my neck is not the best way to be engaged in a conversation. I would rather be dealing with an excessively touchy-feely person, than have to mindlessly watch someone’s pupils dilate throughout an entire talk.

I’ve realized part of it is my own insecurities, knowing that the other person is close enough to be able to be pick out every single flaw of my face is a rather uncomfortable thought. I also have this huge paranoia on how I smell; the closer someone gets, the more doubt I have in the five packs of gum and breath mints and four bottles of perfume I go through daily.

If I’ve ever let you closer than arm’s length to me—congratulations, I think you’re alright.

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