Ponderings on a friday afternoon

This is an old post, written about 3 months ago, that I forgot to post. But I think it’s still important for me o went these thoughts out loud, so here we go.

A quick warning – this have nothing to do with sewing or anything like that, so if that’s why you’r here (which I guess it is) considered yourself warned.


Today after work, I dropped by the grocery store to pic up some items for dinner. When the person behind me in the check-out line stepped in way to close.
Have you ever had that feeling – someone’s just a tad bit to close for comfort, and once you move to fix it, they keep stepping after. It’s not like a conscious threat, just something they do without thinking.
– They invade your personal space.

This happens to me – a Lot.

480826931Way to crowded for my taste…

I read some wear that the scientists managed to pinpoint the exact inch of peoples “personal space”.
with some variations in different countries and cultures, they know exactly how far away we comfortably stand to a stranger or our dear friend (much closer) when interacting.
We are all hardwired to feel this line in between two people and to place ourselfs accordingly.

Well I guess some people just did’t get that memo…

Or rather, I think my “personal space” are somehow bigger then the average persons.

As a Swede, who’s basically known for standing orderly in line, without ever making eye-contact with other people, I often rage at myself for not speaking up, even when I’m literally pushed into a corner.

I’ve been “pushed” out of check-out lines, seats on busses and lovely spaces on the beach countless of times, and I never say anything out loud (though my body language shouldn’t be to hard to read, you’d think).

Last week one of my co-workers (totally oblivious of personal space) kept following me when I step by step backed away from him, since he was way to close (in my mind). It ended when I hit my back against the wall and literally dowe under his arm in panic, to get away from him.
And no, this have nothing to do with sexual harassment, flirting or something like that. We were discussing a work thing, and my skin just started crawling with panic, just because he didn’t realize he was “in my space”.

Not even then did I say something.

Afterwards I always ponder over what I should have said (because just standing still, holding my ground just don’t work when the panic rises inside).
– Excuse me, but I feel uncomfortable when you/people stand to close, can you back up a step please?
– Sorry, but you are standing to close for me to be comfortable, can you give me some more space?

It sounds like a simple thing to say/do but somehow I never dare to.
Perhaps I’m afraid of peoples reaction, should they feel insulted and say something like: “I never hurt a woman
in my life! Is’it because I’m a man?” or something like that.
Because, lets face it, girls/women often take the hint when you step away the first time, and if not, a raised eyebrow and a look will do the trick.

Susanna_and_the_Elders_(1610),_Artemisia_Gentileschi“Susanna and the Elders” (1610) by Artemisia Gentileschi
Ok, maybe this picture is a bit overkill, but sometimes you literally feel like this.

What do you think?
Does this ever happens to you, and what do you do then?

I think I’m just worried I will pass this on to my child, since it looks very much like insecurity and self-degradation compared to other people.
And I wish I will find the courage to speak up next time.

And don’t even get me started on my fear of the “Oh, lets pet that big baby bump of yours”, I feel might come now the weather are warmer and the jacket are thinner (and don’t closes anymore).
I hope I will give those people (often older ladies) a nice right hook… put again, I probably won’t 😦

3 thoughts on “Ponderings on a friday afternoon

  1. I completely recognise this! I am a very old-school English type, I feel very uncomfortable when people get too close. I completely froze when one of my team (whom I do like!) hugged me the other day. My mum taught me a really good trick. If you are facing someone, keep one foot forward but step back with the other. They can’t move closer without stepping on your foot, but you open up some space.

  2. As a British person, I’m all about queues and personal space. I recently moved onto the continent and it’s somewhat stressing me out that people get so close! I’m far too polite (afraid, conditioned?) to say anything, but I’ve found that standing my ground works quite well, at least in queues. Often they’ll get so close that I make a natural movement, like flicking my hair, turning with my elbows out a bit, or lifting my arms to rummage in my handbag. This usually means they get elbowed or flicked, and they get the idea they’re standing too close and back off!

    I’ve only had one person not back off after that, and in that case I very firmly put my bag of groceries between our bodies and let him put up with being poked by a carton of milk. He wasn’t getting any closer to me!

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