Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction.
The clever chaps in white jackets tell me that most people are comfortable with as little as 60cm distance when talking to strangers. Don’t know about that!
According to Ralph Adolphs, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, “It is important to keep in mind that personal space of course varies depending on culture and context, and that there are significant individual differences.”
I am not sure what “culture” I fit in with, but it would be one with a huge circle they consider personal space. But I live in Africa and without having to research anything on line I know that here, it seems that personal space does not exist in many of the cultures here! This causes me much distress when standing in any form of que, at the checkout in the shops, in the bank, at the licensing department…..
The psychologist Robert Sommer suggested we do it by temporarily dehumanizing those around us, avoiding eye contact and pretending they’re inanimate until the moment comes when we spot an escape route. “ After all”, he says, “ it’s not uncomfortable to stand inches from a wall.”
That is a sure way to get mugged, robbed and/or killed dead in South Africa, so is not an option.
The best I have come up with is to stand sideways in the que.
A Short Story by Wayne Bisset – eBook