Really... 6 Billion... That's A Lot Of People...

March 04, 2014

according to urban dictionary, which let's be honest is an excellent source of real information, a personal space bubble is "the area around a person, approximately 1 - 2 feet (depending on culture), that you should not enter without their (vebal or non-verbal) permission to do so."  my bubble might be a little closer to like... 5 feet.


hawkeye's version of a personal space bubble is more like:


i warn you now, hawkeye's version of a personal space bubble is only acceptable for hawkeye.  anyone else who gets that close to me... it makes me want to punch them in the throat.  i don't understand how they don't feel this desire to get more space between us.  if you're close enough to my face that i could lick you like my dog would, don't you think that that's a little too close?  seriously - why do strangers get so damn close to people?!  examples:

why are you standing basically on top of my heels while in line?  it won't make the line move any faster.  if i can feel you breathing down my neck with your gross germs and rank breath, i will, 100% of the time, turn around and say something nasty.  is it really that hard to take two steps back?  no one will cut you in line, i swear.

why must you stand almost touching me in an otherwise empty elevator?  even if there's 4 people, you go to your 4 corners.  i thought everyone knew this but apparently not the guy who decided to stand in the middle in the back, practically hugging me.

likewise, why must you be almost touching me in an otherwise empty movie theater?  never, ever sit directly next to someone who was already there with you have 200 other seats to choose from!!  that's just crazy.

why are you touching my shoulders or back?  pushy sales people are awful as it is but i hate the ones that touch you.  sometimes waiters do it too.  this is way too close, stop touching strangers, people - it's weird.

why do you need to be right next to me on the sidewalk?!  sure, there's a lot of people in this world.  i'm keenly more aware of that fact walking to or from work during rush hour in downtown chicago, near the train stations.  it's unavoidable that you'll be right next to someone on those occasions.  but if i'm strolling along at 10:30 a.m. and you insist on walking right next to me, i will clutch my purse like you're about to snatch it.  feelings be damned, you creep, move the hell over.  slow down, speed up, do whatever it is you need to but just get away from me.

is it just me, do i have some sort of social anxiety?  i have a deep fear of germs, i do know that.  shaking hands spreads the flu, dude.  and the plague.  just don't do it.  do you have a personal space bubble?  how big is yours?

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47 comments

  1. I feel just like you do! I hate all of those things you mentioned.

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  2. I definitely need my personal space. I actually don't like being hugged either although I've been trying to be better about that with loved ones.

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  3. Holy heavens, this post is so apropos to my concert experience this weekend...now, granted, I was standing in the general admission "pit" area but seriously, people, must you stand within one inch of me even between sets?! The girl behind me got quite the earful when she went to raise her hands up and lifted my jacket up with it. How do you know when you're too close? THAT'S WHEN!

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  4. I agree with Sara, concerts bring out the worst in people invading my space. That and definitely the lines!

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  5. I have no fear of germs (in fact I'm a big believer that the more exposure you get, the healthier you'll be in the long run). BUT. As a small woman, I tend to believe that people who invade my personal space are doing so to try to intimidate me and I get ragey about it. I make exceptions for cultural differences when I know they are there, but if you are just your average American and you stand so close to me that I can feel you breathe, you're being a jerk and you need to back the hell off!!

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    1. That's a good point, like they're purposely trying to tower over you and make you feel small. (Or they're trying to pass their germs, don't be fooled!) You know, it's never anything about different cultures, at least that I notice - when I'm getting angry about it, it's always just a typical, rude American. They should know, and they clearly don't or just don't care and don't have respect for anyone else. Drives me nuts.

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  6. dont.freakin.touch.me.

    ill cut you.

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  7. Not just you!!! I hate people in my space when I am in line or the people who are right next to you when you pay with a credit card!!! I evil eye all of them! Yuck!

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  8. I like to have a big space bubble as well but at times people here really get way to close for comfort. Just want to be like really back up!

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    1. You should definitely learn "back up" and "personal space bubble" in Icelandic!

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  9. I'd say by personal space bubble is of average size. I do hugs as greetings for those I know, which isn't how I've always been (I feel a post idea coming on; you always inspire me!) but I hate being close to strangers even though I live in NYC. If someone is standing to close to me in line, you can actually SEE my agitation before I boil over and decide I can no longer endure it quietly (read: 10seconds). I'm just not sure why with all this air around us, why you gotta share my breath? I can't deal.

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  10. Unless I am drunkity drunk, I get anxious in crowds/when anyone gets too close. I snapped at this lady the other day, I was paying for my damn groceries, and she was pushing my cart forward and it was hitting me. I said "Can I FINISH?!?!?!" Assholes.

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  11. You aren't the only one who feels this way. It's mainly old people that stand really close behind me in a line. I am ALWAYS quick to turn around and say: "EXCUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE MEEEEEEEE!!! GET THE FUCK BACK!"

    Another that gets me is when people come up and touch my children. Do you wanna pull back a fucking nub? I suggest you back up and go find some other kid to fuck with.

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    1. Who comes up and touches your kids?! Is that a real thing??? I would never touch someone else's child (and no, not just because I would never touch an icky child at all, though that's true.) What is wrong with people? How does someone not realize that's wrong?

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  12. i could make a dirty dancing reference here, but i won't.

    i feel the same way. there are a few close talkers at work and when they get all up in my grill, i take a noticeable step backwards and don't care if they get offended. they offend me in the first place by standing so damn close to me. back the hell up, bitch!

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

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  13. hahah I have a personal space bubble around the same size of yours. The sales people/waiters/anyone who decides to randomly touch you when you're strangers? NOPE. I'm perfectly fine with telling someone not to touch me, feelings be damned.

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  14. People all up in your space in the grocery store line drive me crazy!! Also the sales people who touch you are so gross...like you just made me NOT want to buy anything ever from you!

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  15. The people in line thing really bugs me. I usually just turn around and give them the stink eye. I am a hugger though, so if we know each other I am going to hug you! :)

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  16. I do have on and it's 3 feet, I don't like anyone at all in my personal space bubble without an invite. Sometimes I don't even want Tyson and Little K in my personal space bubble, I'm weird like that.

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  17. the line pushers! i can so relate to hating that. seriously, back up people. another one i can't stand is when guys touch your back, arm, shoulder in crowded bars when they're squeezing by. totally skeeves me out.

    xo,
    gabby
    www.likealittlefox.blogspot.com

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  18. oh i am 100% with you on this. i will stare someone down until they get the message (which usually takes a really long uncomfortable amount of time) why do people do this?!

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  19. I am the exact same way. I do NOT like people being close to me or even touching me. I never realized how serious I was about this until one time in high school, I was upset over someone threatening to kill themselves (they were drunk and stupid and thankfully didn't do it) and one of our friends came up to hug me but a girl I was closer to yelled "Don't touch her! She doesn't like being hugged, especially times like now!" I was astonished and said, "How did you know that??" And she said she learned the hard way. Haha. I felt like an asshole but I guess it is what it is.

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  20. My bubble is huge. I don't like unnecessary touching. My immediate coworkers know that I'm not much of a hugger and giggle when people (like the dean's wife!) come in for a hug and I have to suffer through it. What if I smell and don't know it/they smell/are sick/have bad breath? We don't need to touch. I propose the fist bump as a more acceptable method of greeting. Far more sanitary... And people in line who don't get personal space are the worst. I just can't. I should not feel your breath on my neck, ever.

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  21. I always feel like people who get close to me in line are about to snatch my purse. I hate it! People out at bars are the worst. Fatty's used to be the worst, people just didn't care. I'm surprised I never had to punch someone there. Came close a couple of times.

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  22. STEPHANIE FOR PRESIDENT!!! seriously, can we make bubble laws? back the fuck off, people!

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  23. 1-2 feet is wayyyyy too close for comfort. I need at LEAST 3. If I can feel your breath on the back of my neck I'm gonna crop dust you. Don't corner me, dammit!

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  24. i really can't handle when stragners/co-workers I hate invade my bubble....it happened just this morning actually!!

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  25. It isn't just you!! The girl at the gym that come into the class late then STANDS ON TOP OF ME during kick boxing. MOVE BITCH.

    The other day I went to brunch and the server greeted me and my friend by placing her hand on my friend's shoulder. My friend screamed, out loud, "AHHH!!" And the whole restaurant looked up at us. But really, maybe just don't touch people you don't know. Looking back it was really funny and the humor probably didn't translate to a blog post comment. But just go with me on this one :)

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  26. The line things drives me crazy! I absolutely can't stand it when people are standing on my heels, basically breathing on to my neck. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. I usually glance back at them and then try and step forward so they get the point. Most of the time they don't and usually take another step closer to me and I want to scream! I also feel this way about driving in the city - cars basically riding on your bumper. Like seriously, when we are driving on the expressway, there are 5 other lanes so you can easily go around me, no need to tailgate. Okay rant over!!

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  27. I just had the conversation with Emmy. For some reason she thought standing in front of me while chewing food was acceptable. It wasn't lol

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  28. I definitely agree with you, Stephanie! My grandmother is one of those 1 inch away talkers and I always have to move waaaay away. I also pretty much had to train myself to let my husband in my bubble regularly (he's one of those touchy-feely types and I am SO NOT). I'll let animals all up in my bubble's business but people in general need to stay the hell back. One of my personal worst nightmares is the people at work who stand in your work space (usually to gossip. Nothing, you know, WORK related) and just kind of stay there, behind you, watching your every move. GO AWAY. #1 you are too close and #2 i hate knowing there is someone behind me. Ugh.

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    1. I agree about the animals, they're allowed in my bubble! It's a human-free bubble besides myself ;) I let John in occasionally, but he knows I need to initiate it. I hate when people are behind me at work! I positioned my desk in such a way that it's no longer possible unless they want to be super awkward and uncomfortable and pretty much backed up against a wall. Best decision I ever made!!

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  29. Well since I'm convinced that everyone is a potential serial killer I am all about my space when out in public....at home poor Mark...he's like can I have 5 inches please :-)

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  30. I am the same way!!! I don't like my cool-a-hoop invaded. That is my turn for my personal space bubble. Like seriously, why do people feel the need to be so touchy feely? Ick. Stay away thanks! Standing in lines is the one that gets me the most. Just BACK UP! I will fake cough or sneeze to get people to move away from me. It works 9 out of 10 times :)

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  31. I am not a big fan of people invading my personal space if we're not friends. But I have zero germ fears. Haha maybe it was the three brothers or growing up on a farm.

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  32. I do find it a bit weird if someone is closer than a foot to me and definitely do not think you should sit in the seat right next to someone in a theater unless it is the only seat left. I agree on the 4 corners of an elevator, too. Mostly because I respect others' personal space and not as much that it would make me freak out or anything...because I'll be honest, I am a hugger...but not without consent! :)
    Eva Marie Taylor

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  33. I agree with you! I like to keep my distance with most people. I bet the ones we're talking about don't even realize they're doing it though. Maybe we should start speaking up when people invade our bubble, start a revolution!

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  34. Having my personal space invaded does really bother me, although sometimes I have to remind myself that it is a cultural thing. Sometimes I want to get grumpy but when I realize that that person doesn't realize that it is an affront because in their home country, that's not a thing. I guess I should specify that I live and work in a very diverse place, and I work with a lot of international students.
    -Rachel @ With Love, Rachel

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  35. Oh god I rode the el and the METRA today and you're right- people have no concept of personal space. Why sit next to me.. Why stand so close... Body heat? Because I'm ridiculously good looking? To read my texts? I don't know but I don't like it.

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  36. OMG yes I hate when people get in my bubble. I am not a touchy feely, want to be around people kind of person. I don't like when people touch me, ever!

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  37. I'm huge on personal space and am much closer to you with your 5' range than that 1-2' nonsense. That is WAY to close unless you're my niece or boyfriend.

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  38. You would have lost your mind in China. Seriously, I used to have a freak out about personal space at least once a day.

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  39. You are definitely not the only one, clearly. I need my space. I'm probably in the 5 foot range too. If I don't know you, you probably shouldn't touch me. If I don't like you, you probably shouldn't touch me. If you smell bad or have other characteristically bad hygiene habits, you probably shouldn't come near me. I've been known to say not nice things that come out super blunt when anyone violates any of the above. I rarely have a filter as it is, but these are a few things that makes me appear to not even know the meaning of the word "filter." I always remember my mom telling me it wasn't my duty to inform people that they smell bad or whatever. BUT little did she know, it really is. Sorry mom.

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  40. Yeah this here is EXACTLY why I hate flying. Give me like 10 feet of space to myself and I would be fine. And my dog and cats are the only things allowed to get that close to me too.

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  41. My personal space bubble is pretty huge. My husband annoyed me when we first met because he didn't understand what personal space bubbles were. We've obviously worked past that.

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  42. I hate it when people invade my personal space, so I take a step back and THEY TAKE A STEP FORARD! Hello?! Did you not realize I took a step back to get away from you?

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  43. Oh my gosh YES! I need at least 5 feet of space or I get really creeped out. And I agree, the only ones allowed to invade that space are my pets! And maybe my husband (sometimes).

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