Life, Musings, Travel

Personal space

I don’t like to touch strangers. I would never sit on top of one. I wouldn’t open a newspaper or book and not notice how my elbow digs into the person next to me when I turn the pages. I wouldn’t open my legs so wide they touch the other person, forcing them to press against the window in a desperate attempt to get some space. I think these feelings ar pretty normal but maybe I’m wrong.

Getting the train to and from work everyday, I find someone sitting next to me with no regard for personal space. They don’t care if they hit me or press their legs against me, they’re quite happy to take up as much room as they like willfully ignoring my eagerness to move away from them or my balant sighs, tusks and eye rolling. It’s so annoying!

Have some consideration people please!

Any advice for stopping people cramping on my personal space?



56 thoughts on “Personal space”

  1. You can stop washing and just lift your arm when invader comes.
    I hate those space invaders too, the other day a woman smacked my face with her hair when she was shaking it to make it look nice.

  2. Ugg.. shudder.. I always sit on the aisle side that way I can hang over the arm to get a bit of space.
    Eating raw garlic might help, that way when some one asks if the seat is taken breathe out while saying no sure help yourself 😀
    I have been elbowed in the head by a girl who was applying her mascara on the train oh how I wish the train had jolted.

    1. Haha yeah terrify with my bad breath! They never ask, they just plonk themselves down lol. Oh no she didn’t – yeah pity she didn’t get a poke in the eye 🙂

      1. Ah that’s where you’re going wrong.. put your bag on the spare seat. Or better still I have witnessed on many occasions some one pretending to be fast asleep accross both chairs just before calling into a station and then when the train moved off they ‘wake’ up.

  3. I have a habit of stepping backwards one step if someone is talking to me really closely. It is embarrassing but I can’t help it! Well, mainly it is just with the customers at work. I suppose we all have to take a risk of letting people into our personal environment, in order to get intimate or make friendships. Maybe.

  4. I totally understand what you’re upset about! I’m always on the train, for lengthy times, between home and university. Usually I’ll just plug my iPod in and sit in the window seat and keep to myself. I always leave a reasonable amount of space so I ensure i’m not invading the person’s space next to me. But as you say, not everyone has that same respect. As much as it may not sound nice, I just give as good as I get. Plus I always have my bags or suitcase with me from university so that’s my secret weapon! Great post, I can definitely relate. Rebecca.

  5. Hey Vixter.
    When I catch a packed train and manage to get a seat, I sit down and try to occupy a bigger space than I need until someone else sits down. e.g extend your elbows our either side a bit so that once they have sat next to you (and bumped against your elbow) you can let your elbows drop back to your sides and remain sitting comfortably. It’s worked well for me so far! 😛

  6. I don’t travel by train much (one of the major flaws of the USA) but of course having just flown, I couldn’t help but relate and giggle. I always get an aisle seat on planes, and I try to curl myself up as compactly as possible. But that doesn’t always work. I wish I had the power of an invisible bubble that could not be popped or crossed unless I allowed it.

  7. I feel exactly the same way! ugh! It totally creeps me out when strangers are touching me on the train. I have no idea how to handle it either. This morning a woman sat on my… literally! I tried saying excuse me to her and she looked at ME like I was the weird one. I guess she was enjoying my hardcover book up her butt!

  8. Oh my goodness, I am so with you! When I lived in China I just kinda had to get over it because they have no such thing as personal space, but since I’ve been back in the States I’ve gotten very happy with having a small bubble around me which strangers aren’t allowed to enter. 🙂

  9. When my interests and desires clash with the expectations of others, and the storm clouds of confrontation appear on the horizon, I want to hide under the bed until the thunder and lightning pass out of sight and sunny skies return.

    Then I remember that I matter too.

    So I take a deep breath, say what I have to say, and hope that any ruffled feathers relax in short order.

    Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. Life goes on either way.


  10. Oh I completely agree! With people I know like my friends and family, I don’t care how much they bump into me but if a stranger touches me I hate it! I don’t know why it doesn’t bother some people but I feel like it should bother everyone!

  11. I would hate that. I think that’s one reason I feel weird about taking public transportation. I don’t know if I would be able to deal with it. I think I would either nudge back or say I’m sorry am I in your space (either way that puts that person on notice, just in case they didn’t really realized it, but you know they may not care), and if they were just being a jerk about it meaning that didn’t deter them, then I think I would either move or if they really just bugged me I may instruct them to, “Get up off me.” Yeah, I really don’t like strangers touching me.

      1. I don’t think public transportation isn’t so great here unfortunately. I think it would be really hard to live in Southern California without a car.

      2. I did law school in Los Angeles without a car, and it actually ended up working beautifully for me. I had extra study time while my classmates were stuck in traffic cursing. 😀

      3. I should say “hypothetical study time.” I wasn’t such a fabulous law student. Ahem!

  12. I get what you mean and I am exactly like you! No ideas on how to make it better though because I have only very few encounters with such invaders. Sometimes its just basic manners to keep to your personal space, I think.

  13. It’s been a while since I took public transit, but when I took the bus during law school, I got pretty comfortable asking folks outright to keep their bodies on their half of the seat. I got some grumbles, but I also got my space. Totally worth it!

    In Japan, of course, the only time I had my physical space invaded was when the cars were really, really full. That’s another matter altogether, of course!

    1. Of course, I don’t think I necessarily, of course, used that comment to flaunt my ability to use the phrase “of course” to my fullest capacity. Of course!

  14. I know what you mean! I have always needed a lot of personal space – I have often ended up in the side of the road because I’m avoiding touching the person walking next to me (friend or whatever, doesn’t matter) 😉 I hate having people invading my personal space and have spent many hours feeling annoyed about it…
    Still, one good advice that my (far too) wise boyfriend tells me when I feel annoyed about something: Either do/say something about it – or decide that it’s not worth fussing about, accept it and forget about it. Hope it doesn’t sound harsh, because it has really helped me recognising the things that i can change versus the things I just get stuck in moaning about (not just personal space 😉 ). So if someone sits themselves beside me with their stinky leg in my personal space, I have three options:
    1. Do something about it, i.e. kindly ask them to move their leg
    2. Decide that it’s not worth fussing about, perhaps squish a newspaper between me and the leg and then forget about it (it might be an old lady that already looks kind of sad, or this could be someone that’s really self-conscious about their thighs 😛 – or maybe I just don’t feel up for a confrontation today)
    3. Do nothing about it but continue to allow it to annoy me

    The third option is by far the worst one… But the thing is if that we have these three choices in all situations (do/say sth and see what happens, do/say nothing and accept the situation, do/say nothing and not accept the situation), so if we decide to do nothing about it we can also tell ourselves that we do not have the right anymore to let it annoy us…
    Sorry about the lengthy comment, just wanted to share since this was like a revelation for me when I realised this, haha:) TOTALLY get the personal space annoyance though!!!

  15. My sister and I had this problem of personal space invaders when we went to Disneyland. We solved it by buying souvenirs, and then swinging our bags behind us while in line. Rude of us? Rude of the space invaders!
    Get yourself some shopping bags! LOL!

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