How close is to close?

zebrasI think we’ve touched on this subject before but I wanted to expand on it a little since I saw this on the news.  I know I may be alone here but I can’t stand it when people get to close to me.

I try and be polite about my personal space but why is it that some people have to get so close to you?  Have you ever been talking to someone and they just inch closer and closer to you that pretty soon you can feel their breath on you?  Or they are practically standing on you?

Can you get on a really crowded elevator where everyone is touching?  I would wait and catch another one.  What about escalators?  Some people get so close to you, where do they think your going to go?  When I’m sleeping in particular, I can’t be touching anything.  Even my dear little Maddie isn’t allowed to sleep with me.  I let her once and she laid right on my feet and I couldn’t move.  That’s it with me I think.  I have to be able to move.  I’m not sure where this comes from.  Did you ever play “hogpile” when you were kids and everyone picked one person and everyone jumped on them and pinned them on the bottom?  That’s when I knew it bothered me.  I thought I was going to pass out.  I have a panic attack.

Another thing, why is it you can be in an empty room with one other person and they stand so close to you that you almost trip to move?  Why is it that some people are like this?  I had a girlfriend like that once and I couldn’t even move when we’d be talking.  Is it maybe their hearing?  I don’t think that’s it but what is it?  Some people always have to be touching you also.  What’s with that?  I’m not saying that I mind when someone touches me but they’ll hold your arm or grab your hand or even touch your hair.  I have never been able to understand that.

When your waiting in a doctors office or some other place that you have to wait, why does someone have to sit right next to you when every other chair is empty?  First of all those waiting room chairs are to close together to begin with.  I would never sit right on top of someone else.  I’m wondering if this is why I can’t fly.  I just can’t stand being that close to that many people.  

Some people do things like this in cars too.  Have you ever been sitting waiting at a red light and someone gets so close to you that you can’t even see the front of their car?  Or they are tailgating you so close that it scares you yet they won’t pass you when they can? At a light, you can’t move?  Why do people do this?

Am I just weird (be kind!!!) or are you like me?  Or are you one of “those ones” who have to get as close to someone as you can possibly get without standing on their feet or touching them somewhere??

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23 Responses to How close is to close?

  1. javajunkee says:

    oh yeah I pretty much wear a “don’t touch” sign on my forehead. Cant’ stand it. I’m not a hugger or touchy feely person and I kind of find it irritating that there are those that feel the need or inbred right to just get on you. We have a receptionist in our office (not for much longer)..who wants to hug for ANYTHING. NO! I’ve already pretty much told her…pretend there is a box around me with no door! Not to be rude..but yeah that’s not in my comfort zone..ask my family.
    I don’t want anybody in my space unless they are invited in…which doesn’t often happen. I do give my kids hugs when they act like they want one (remember they are 17 and 21) the hugging isn’t as often. Husband can’t be hugged because a hugging would only lead to the hoping of something else that is not to come.

    I think people need to be more sensitive that a LOT of people do not find that a comfortable situation. I think you pick up on a person’s vibe on that.

  2. javajunkee says:

    oh so the bumper sticker…”I brake for tailgaters” isn’t enough of a warning on my van? Ok..I’ll stop even quicker so you can read it real good. I HATE that too. I drive slightly over the speed limit most of the time..just enough to get there a little quicker ..not enough to be dangerous (unless really really late) and not enough for a ticket…maybe a warning but not a ticket. …yeah so anyhow I feel ANYBODY who is tailgating me NEEDS to be slowed down. I feel I’m doing the public a service by slowing my ass down to a crawl! Then they can zoom around me and we can give the mutual “you’re number one sign” 🙂

  3. Joy says:

    You so crack me up Java!!!! Tell us how you REALLY feel!!!!!

  4. javajunkee says:

    LOL a little strong? 🙂 Did I mention PMS?

  5. mullygrub says:

    I totally understand you! I am really not a touchy feely person. I hate it when people in the grocery store feel the urge to move so close to me that I can barely move without touching them. I’ve been known to glare at them and make very obvious gestrures… and here I was thinking I was alone with my brand of craziness. Good for you! Although the pair of us may sound as though we need therapy to the rest of the world 😉

  6. shane says:

    I’m exactly like you Joy. I feel like I have to have an out wherever I am and if I don’t I panic. I hate elevators, crowded rooms, and even huge crowds. “Like going to a Vikings game” I also can’t stand being a passenger in a car, I really get freaked out because I can’t move and I have no control. I don’t know why some people are like that, I really don’t. Also I can’t stand tailgaters, or how about those people that switch lanes in a traffic jam,riding everyones bumbers and there not moving along any faster.

  7. I completely understand where you’re coming from, Joy. I’m just the same as you. I don’t mind crowded spaces when I absolutely have to be in them, and when the pros outweigh the cons of being there – as a concert-goer, I would pass out all the time if I hadn’t managed to get a grip on my panic attacks when oxygen is scarce.

    However, people who get too close drive me INSANE. I have this one friend who when you walk anywhere with her is constantly leaning on you and pushing you sideways as she walks – she’s also one of those people who talk AT you, not WITH you, so she’s constantly making sure you’re paying attention, by leaning in too close and pushing you. It drives me up the freaking wall.
    People do that doctor’s office thing in parking lots as well – the whole parking lot is empty, but someone will park RIGHT next to your car so you can hardly open the door to get back into it. I’ll never understand this…

  8. Tosha says:

    Im really bad about needing my personal space. I don’t like many people that close to me. I don’t like people touching me. Even more so people that I do not know. I can’t stand crowds and elevators kinda freak me out.

  9. stormsneverlast says:

    As you know, I’m “one of those people”. Mine is the panic attacks. I need a lot of personal space. I can hug, kiss & cuddle Ricky. I hug my dad, and the kids. Otherwise – don’t touch me. Funny, I generally have animals sitting on me or near me all the time. They don’t bother me a bit. At night, I snuggle with hubs, Cujo lays against my other side, and the cats are usually somewhere on my legs.

  10. Laura (LS) says:

    I’m selectively “personal space protective”…

    Sparky’s family is a ‘kissy’ family. Drives me NUTS!!! When I first met them, oh, 20 (good God!!) or so years ago, the FIRST TIME, they were kissing and hugging me!!! “Laura, this is my uncle Joe”.. KISS!!! What the HECK is that???? Get away from me you lecherous…. nevermind.

    They are still like that. Every time we go to a family gathering, they spend the first 20 minutes hugging every.single.person in the room. I manage to fade away quickly, getting involved in the football game on tv, or getting Hot Rod involved with cousins. Anything to avoid being touched on anyone else’s terms but mine.

    My father-in-law is like Slightly’s friend – he INSISTS on being close to you, and maintaining eye contact at all times while he’s talking to you. Yeah, he’s a bit alpha. Just to irritate him, I swish my eyes around and stay *just* out of reach. What’s really funny is when he and my dad talk…. FIL insists on that eye contact – being directly, and closely, in front of you at all times. But my dad is nearly deaf in one ear, so when the conversation is important, he will turn so his good ear is closest to the speaker, thereby breaking all eye contact. I watched them talk once – they just kept going in circles!!! My dad trying to hear, kept turning, and my FIL, trying to maintain that eye contact, kept moving in front of him. I couldn’t stand, I was laughing so hard!!!

  11. SanityFound says:

    Oh boys for me this depends on the person entirely – I am the type of person that gives others space, if there is a free chair open I go sit there rather than next to someone – especially in a doctors waiting room, I don’t want to catch what they got I mean come on (scary yes)

    If it is someone I know well and we are comfortable around each other then I’ll sit next to them and chat, share some cookies etc… depends on the person, some I’d rather just not have close to me at any cost.

    Elevators – germ magnets, hate them and the smells coming from armpits just bothers me

  12. SKL says:

    I’m not a “touchy-feely” person except with kids. I don’t like hugs and the thought of being kissed by anyone who isn’t super-close is a horror. I don’t even like to be huggy with my parents – they never were either when I was younger – but in their old age, they like to do that a bit more, so I allow it.

    That said, I tend to adjust to the people around me and the situation. If I’m in close quarters with a lot of people, it does not bother me to be close and even touching. The point is that nobody is intentionally wanting to touch me, so it doesn’t bother me. If there is more space, I give space and expect others to do the same. I do have friends from many cultures, and I adjust to their space rules. They will feel I’m cold or stuck-up if I insist on a distance that they are not used to with friends. This too doesn’t bother me, because I know it isn’t them being weird.

    I haven’t been around that many people who invade my space when they aren’t drunk. (Lots who have done it when drunk – gross, get away.) One woman who did this turned out to be a lesbian who wanted to hit on me. I guess that was enough for me to be on guard with other “touchy feely” people after that.

    Another factor, though, is that I don’t want to give people the impression that I’m avoiding them. For example, if I go into a waiting room and there’s a person with an obvious disability or a member of a minority group, I won’t sit “all the way across the room” because I don’t want it to look like I am afraid to sit closer. Does that make sense? So even though I do like my space, and the more the better, I adjust to others in many respects.

  13. Doraz says:

    I have learned that it is not worth my having a heart attack over some things in life, such as this, so I just tell people if they are bothering me. I would just look right at the person who is bothering me and ask them to kindly step away. I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings, so I would make up a lame excuse as to why I thought they should not be close…like maybe I have a cold or I just ate onions! As far as the crazy drivers go, I just ignore them and they usually pass me when they have a chance. I just do not want to waste my emotions over something .I feel. is not really worth it. I am storing them up for what I consider ” a biggy.”

  14. Just a Mom says:

    People being in my “bubble” does not bother me too much. My oldest daughter can not stand it! She will flat come out and tell you “Get Out Of My Bubble Or I Will Hurt You!”
    My youngest is the complete opposite but she respects other people’s bubbles.

  15. DM says:

    This one really depends- we NEVER hugged, touched, etc. growing up as a family…not until mom got cancer in her early 40’s. (she just celebrated her 75th yesterday BTW). After the run in w/ cancer, my parents, and sisters especially found it easier to say “I love you”, give hugs, Problem was, I was in my early 20’s by then and it’s hard to go from a non-hugging German immigrants son who never hugged to that mushy stuff…but as our kids came along, I saw the importance of giving them physical touch and affection- so I have worked at it. Now when it comes to other relationships…it really depends. Wife’s family was much more demonstrative that way, so I too have had those family gatherings where I quietly slip off to the side. As a guy, I am always a little suspicious when I meet a guy who is all touchy and feely w/ my wife or daughters-

    most of you’ve probably seen this video clip before- wish I had a little more of him in me. 🙂

  16. zingtrial says:

    I am suffering from personal space invasion by unwanted oafs that have no idea what the concept means.

  17. mssc54 says:

    I was in line at the movie theater a couple of weeks ago waiting for my large popcorn with extra butter (actually it’s butter flavored oil) and medium frozen coke (free refills on the mediums so why pay for the large) when this woman came up behind me and stood so close that there wasn’t even two inches in between us. I could actually hear her breathing! I turned around and said, “Would you mind giving me some space? You’re invading my area here.”

    Well an arguement insued. I rather enjoyed it. lol

    She eventually backed up.

  18. Joy says:

    That’s just what I meant by this post mssc. I don’t want anyone to think I don’t like to touch people. It’s people I don’t know or people who just have to get right on top of you. I hate it the most when they are strangers but like that friend of mine, I feel like I have to keep moving back. She makes me feel trapped and I don’t need her spit hitting me because she’s standing so close to me when we’re alone in a house. It’s not like she’s whispering a secret to me.

    Red lights bother me more than a tailgater to be honest. You can see them inching and inching closer and closer to your car and the light hasn’t changed yet. I’m not about to be inching forward so…my insurance is paid, go ahead, hit me I guess.

    As far and my grandchildren and my kids, any kids really, I love holding them and hugging and kissing them. This post wasn’t meant to mean I’m not affectionate. It’s about my personal space, not showing love. I think they are very different.

  19. nikki says:

    Wow it looks like I’ve miss quite the party here! Great post Joy, look at all these comments!
    I don’t mind people touching me I guess if I know them. Why it is they need to touch is beyond me. We have a friend that is this way. The nicest guy in the world and loves to smack you every 2 minutes or come up and stand right under your nose. Drives Jason nuts and one other friend ever crazier because he’s like you Joy, it freaks him out. I’m used to it with him so I don’t mind.
    If I’m in a small room, I’d rather not have any people right by me. Especially my bathroom, ask Jason…I freak out! For some reason this gets worse when I’m getting ready for something. I start to sweat and panic. A packed elevator? NO WAY! That’s not only because they might touch me, you don’t want to get too any people in something that (in my mind) can easy break and you go falling to your death!

  20. SKL says:

    This reminds me of a guy I used to work with. He was the worst for so many reasons, but one was his tendency to come up and touch you, to put his hand on your arm, back, or shoulder for no good reason. A woman working under me said it best – he gave us the CREEPS! It wasn’t sexual or anything, just creepy. I was always this close to telling him off anyway, and being touched was NOT likely to make me feel nicer! Icccch.

  21. Natalie says:

    “so close that there wasn’t even two inches in between us. I could actually hear her breathing! I turned around and said, “Would you mind giving me some space? You’re invading my area here.”

    For none smokers there is nothing worse than someone standing so close to you that you are over powered by their stench of stale tobacco. Why dont they realise they stink?

  22. megan says:

    When I was in college I lived very close to my grandparents and uncle, who would drive me to the airport when it was time to go home for Christmas. One year (before 9/11 when you could park up close and personal next to the airport itself) my uncle and grandfather drove me into the near-empty parking lot. As we pulled my suitcase from the trunk, I could hear my grandfather’s voice, usually so docile and sweet, suddenly irritated: “Damn it, Rich, you had an entire empty parking lot. Why the hell did you have to park next to someone?”

  23. mssc54 says:

    Natalie: whenever I smell those smokers I tend to ask them, “So are you a two or three pack a day smoker?” Or, “Is that Marlboro Light or Camel I smell?”

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