The Importance Of Personal Space

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Everyday, we are confronted with various situations that call for different uses of distance in our communication either without our consciousness or with careful choice. It can involve everything from choosing to sit on the other side of the library from a group of people we do not know to kissing our children when they are back from school and so on. Each one of these distances conveys diverse meanings and is interpreted in a particular way. For example, in an interview, a person would not engage their interviewer at a very close distance because it would be totally improper and quite awkward or standing face to face with a complete stranger on a bus may make us uncomfortable. Understanding these different distances will allow us to avoid…show more content…
185). In terms of degree of intimacy or formality of an interaction, Hall's (1966) analysis based on anthropological observations described personal distance in four distinct zones: intimate space (close phase: less than 1 to 2 cm, far phase: 6 -18 inches), personal space (close phase: 1.5 - 2.5 feet, far phase: 2.5 to 4 feet), social space (close phase: 4 - 7 feet, far phase: 7 - 12 feet), and public space (close phase: 12 - 25 feet, far phase: 25 feet or more). The first phase is for private interactions or physical contact, such as embracing, touching or whispering or in Hall's words - “this is the distance of love-making and wrestling, comforting and protecting” (p. 117). The second one is for situations involving less sensory involvement. The third one is for such exchanges as “impersonal business” or “social gathering” (p. 121). The last one is used for public speaking or distances from public officials. Despite not clarifying the personal space as specifically as Hall, Engleberg & Wynn (2006) maintained the four zones. Close friends, lovers, children and close family members are allowed in the intimate zone. The next zone is reserved for conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions. A further range is used for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances. Speeches, lectures, and theater which are for larger audiences are presented in the farthest

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