This space I’m talking about is the distance we like to have between us and other people and which makes us feel safe. Have you noticed the fact that we keep a smaller distance between us and our friends compared to the one we keep between us and strangers?
Based on the type of relationship we have with other people, there are several zones. These zones are also influenced by our core beliefs. For example, if we are insecure about ourselves (low self esteem, the lack of confidence and so on) we like to keep a bigger distance between us and people compared to us feeling strong and confident.
The first zone is the intimate space which is between 0 and 50 centimeters. In this space only our boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse can reach. I’ll call it the love zone. The second zone is the personal space which is between 50 and 150 centimeters. Here is where our good friends and family can come (excluding the spouse). Ok, we can let the spouse in too. We’re not that selfish. I’ll call it the “I accept you, but don’t f*ck it up” zone. The next one is the personal zone which goes from 150 centimeters to 350 centimeters. Here is the space we like to keep between us and people we barely know, but not complete strangers. I’m naming it the “Don’t come closer or I’ll bite” zone. The final one is the social space where we would like for strangers to be. It goes from 350 to infinite centimeters. It’s the “F*ck off” zone.
These distances are only the theoretical distances we feel the most comfortable with those types of people and we can test them. They differ from one person to another, as I said before. When an acquaintance steps into the “I accept you, but don’t f*ck it up” zone, we can feel some level of anxiety. Because these zones differ from a person to another, we are constantly trespassing into the wrong zone without realizing it so we can create some anxiety for other people without actually doing anything wrong.
I find this interesting because we sometimes notice when someone feels anxious around us and we’re starting to wonder why because apparently we did nothing wrong. We can make infinite stupid scenarios when actually it can be just about the fact that we went a few centimeters too close to that person.
Have you notice this happening for you? If so, in what circumstances?