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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Do you own your own space?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30874points) March 29th, 2010

I’m perplexed about this. I consider my personal space to be anywhere I can reach with a limb from any one given position. Enter that realm, and you are in “my space”.

I may offer my space to you, perhaps even encourage you to enter it.

Your space is the same. I will not enter it unless invited. At that point, we’ve decided to share our spaces with one another. A new level of intimacy is upon us. Our voices become more direct, and our thoughts may be communicated between only ourselves.

Likewise, even a fist fight, or athletic endeavor, is an extremely intimate encounter, yet one of warding off intrusions upon our personal space. In these situations, we are fighting to regain control our space. It’s like our little kingdom is under siege. Our freedom of movement has become limited. This challenges our freedom of physical expression. We are oppressed at the hands of another.

Yet, while on the bus, or in the theater, we come together with an understanding that we must share portions of our personal space with one another in order to receive the benefit of whatever we believe that situation will provide to us individually.

So here’s what I’m perplexed about. We all presume that our homes and property are “our space”. Yet when you invite me to your home for dinner, I must bring my “inner space” in to your “outer space”. Who owns that space shared between my “inner space” of bodily reach, and your “outer space” of property line?

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7 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

In many psych texts there are noted differences that are both race and gender based with regard to what a personal space encompasses. Southern Europeans seem to allow the closest approach without feeling “invaded” and women in any demographic seem to accept closer approaches than men do. You always need to own your space and be quite easily made uncomfortable if there is any obstruction to you maintaining that space.

SeventhSense's avatar

I’d say many of the nomadic tribes of the Mideast have a very good grasp of this. Generally there is an inherent hospitality and a mutual respect of any stranger who comes across your space and is invited in to share your home. Now there is the understanding that the space whether it be a tent or a hut is the owner’s but there is a deep respect for the one who has crossed the threshold and an obligation to be hospitable.

Now there also have been many different cultural views as to who one “breaks bread” with and to what that means to the one invited. Personally I am very conscious of partaking in a meal with someone whether it be family or not where I feel there may be an unspoken distrust or ill feeling. I do not want to be under the roof or share in food. It feels somehow disrespectful even if the other doesn’t acknowledge this.

I do not like to go where I feel that my natural self is compromised. Of course not that propriety or ceremony is not important. I recognize the need to be formal at a wedding at serious at a funeral, but there’s a deeper consideration for me. I need to protect the integrity of my border it seems. It can be vulnerable and I feel the need to protect that.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Makes perfect sense.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My personal space is about two feet from my face and closer if side by side or from the rear. It’s not uncommon for people I know well to walk while touching some part of their bodies or sit very close together without it being considered intimate.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Neizvestnaya
Or maybe it is intimate but you and your friends are just comfortable with the intimacy of it.

sherrill's avatar

Someone says that personal space is psychological, not physical; it has less to do with the space outside us than with our inner space.Find a way to stay alone and find your peace when you feel invaded.

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