The Last Word:
“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.” ― Edgar Cayce
“ONE AND THE SAME?” 09/23/2017 (Saturday)
“We’re the same!” she said to me.
“We’re the same!” she said with glee.
“Oh, YES, my Love, we ARE the same –
But You and Me, we’re groom and dame!
‘Cause when we KNOW we ARE the same –
There’ll be no one ‘round here to blame!
For, when we KNOW “The Sacred Rhyme,”
For, when we KNOW we are the same –
We’ll be just one – no one to blame!”
She said: “That’s ‘lame;’ it can not be!”
But I was gone – She’s now in me! 🙂
When someone violates your personal space, your tendency may be to take a step back, or turn to regain your bubble. Defensive body language may ensue like crossed arms, a frown, reduced eye contact, or a downward gaze. You may exhibit limited body movement and look very uncomfortable and self-conscious with a slumped posture. In order to mask your uncomfortableness, you may exhibit an emotionless facial expression. You may stop a conversation or exchange with another who violates your space.
One thing is for certain. We all have a personal space, or the physical space surrounding us that encompasses the area that we feel safe, and where any threat to that personal space would make us feel uncomfortable. Some may call personal spaces their personal bubbles. Another thing is certain, the size of our personal bubbles depends very largely on our cultural background. People in the United States, for instance, have a larger personal space than people in Spain. But why do we have personal spaces, and why are they different across cultures?
There are many things that influence our behavior from internal influences to social norms. Social norms are implicit or explicit rules that govern how we behave in society (Maluso, class notes). Social norms influence our behavior more than any of us realize but we all notice when a norm has been broken. Breaking a social norm is not an easy task and often leads us feeling uncomfortable whether we broke the norm ourselves or witnessed someone else breaking it. Sometimes however, you just have to break a norm to see what happens.
One big implicit social norm involves personal space. In our society it is implicitly know that you give people enough space when waiting in line or when sitting next to them as not to invade their personal bubble. I thought it would be particularly interesting to see what people did the moment you crossed that “bubble line.” Periodically throughout the day I would intrude upon people’s bubbles. For varied results, this occurred in classrooms, the elevator, the lunch line, the lunch table, and at work. During classes and at lunch I would move my chair really close to that of the person next to me. While in the lunch line and in the elevator I would stand really close to the person, even if there was plenty of space to spread out. At work, again I stood really close to the person when talking to them.
The reactions of people when you break a social norm can vary quite drastically. Sometimes the reactions are quite large and other times they are rather subtle. The reactions typically vary based on what norm you break and how strong of a norm it is. In the case of invading people’s personal space, I did not receive and intense reactions. All of the reactions I received were subtle.
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