Monday, January 6, 2020

List: Ten times to request personal space.

I have a brief story to share today.  I know, I know.  Big surprise...

It all started with me minding my own business while working in my office.  A colleague of mine that I haven't seen in a while stopped by to say hello.  I cheerfully returned his hello and welcomed him back.  During the course of this exchange, he walked through my office door, around my desk, and leaned in to kiss my cheek.  As he got closer, I moved further away until there was nowhere left to go.

While the greeting was not welcomed or wanted, it was innocent.  It was also unprofessional and inappropriate.  ...not to mention a little creepy....

Caught off guard, I politely reminded him to respect my personal space.  He apologized immediately.  I blushed, accepted his apology, and nervously giggled.  He also hasn't stopped by to say hello or spoken to me since.  

This exchange got me thinking.  If some people don't know that work is a place to respect personal space, what else don't they know?  No worries, I'm here to make it clear.

ten situations when you should request personal space

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Ten times to request personal space.

1.  You should request personal space any time that you're uncomfortable.
While this should be common sense, many people are afraid of coming across a certain way.  Please don't be and politely ask your personal space intruder to back up.  If they get upset, explain that you feel uncomfortable.  If they still don't give you your space, walk away.  Remember that they didn't respect your request so don't go feeling guilty!

2.  People need to keep their space during meal times.
The absolute worst is when you're ready to eat, and someone shoves their nose into your dish for a whiff.  You have every right to tell that person and their nose to take five steps away from your plate.

3.  When you're at an ATM machine, personal space is vital.
There is a lot of confidential information shared between a consumer and the ATM machine.  Be respectful of that and stand at a reasonable distance from the person using the machine.  Does anyone else feel real vulnerable every time they stand at an ATM?  Ugh

4.  You should request personal space when you're emotional.
Certain people don't like to be crowded when they have any heightened emotions.  Whether you're angry, sad, or frustrated, you should ask for alone time to deal with your mental state.

5.  When you're riding on a crowded train, it's OK to ask for space.
It can be difficult to get space when you're on a crowded form of transportation.  While it's true that free room may be limited, you're still entitled to a personal, grope free space.  Don't give me side eye until you've been groped on the subway!  It happens and it's gross.

6.  You are even allowed to ask doctors and nurses for some personal space.
Some doctors lose sight of the fact that a body isn't just a body.  Don't be ashamed to ask them for privacy or to question them if you feel violated.  Typically it's our modesty that causes embarrassment, but sometimes it's the doctors that are inappropriate.

7.  You can ask for space when someone's touching your laundry.
Your laundry, clean or dirty, is a very personal thing.  If you don't want somebody touching it, just tell them that.  I almost died when somebody tried folding my family's undies recently.  Put my thong down!

8.  When you're shopping with a eager salesman, tell them to you need space.
I often find myself in boutiques hunting for unique clothing.  As much as I love the clothes, I hate the clingy salesman that's all in my business.  They don't let you take one step without trying to be overly helpful or sell you something.  I've even had one follow me into a dressing room to try to convince me something fit that didn't.

9.  If you're in the bathroom, your personal space bubble just grew.
In the bathroom you're allowed to tell people to please leave you alone, even if you're in a stall.  Pee pee time isn't a time to have a conversation.  Please wash your hands and go.

10.  When you're raising your children, you should ask for some personal space.
As a mother to two young children, I can confirm that unsolicited advice & judgement is everywhere.  Raise your children how you feel they should be raised.  Reprimand them how and when you feel they should be reprimanded.  Praise them how and when you feel they should be praised.  Take advice when you feel you need it, and tell everyone else to shove save it!

Have you ever told someone to back up?


  1. Poor guy! You offended his feelings, you must send him chocolates! I'd never say hello to you either if you did that to me :) especially today when so many women have gone crazy seeing intrusion and offence in everything. I always kiss with my editors and their secretaries, even with my former secretaries, but our people likes to kissy kiss (we kiss three times in the cheek here).

    In one of our hospitals where people go to get health check ups for driving license and working permit, they herd nekkid people all together in a room like animals, it is horrible, and if you complain they think you're a sissy or pussy. I know that gynaecologists here also don't really cover up their patients and put screens in front of the doors like in your country :)

    1. I didn't take into account cultural differences. He isn't American. He's from Poland. Maybe he was offended at the time, but we have since run into each other in the lunch room and made up. lol!

      We kiss family and friends on the cheek to say hello, but this is considered inappropriate at work. We are taught at a very young age the importance of a firm handshake. In the company I work for, we're mandated to take a (3) HR training course every quarter on workplace harassment... most of which is BS. I think it goes above and beyond what it needs to. Example - I hug my employees when I go to other offices because I've become so close with them through the years. According to this training, I could get in trouble if someone decides to report me. You need to know your audience because it is scary!

      Oh my!! I couldn't handle that. We have private rooms at all doctors. For our driver's license, we just have a vision test and that's it!

    2. OMG they don't check out if you're crazy? When we are getting drivers' licence we visit a shrink too :) and when we want to get a job, or a working card, we need to do all examinations, I mean you cannot have some leper lady or junkie guy teaching in schools.

      Yes, if he is from Poland he is Slavic and us Slavs kissy kiss a lot and hug too. And we drink a lot... I mean a lot...

    3. Nope, as long as you can see, you can drive! My mother is completely disabled, and she still has her driver's license (although she doesn't drive as she couldn't get out the door or into the car). Certain jobs I'm sure require certain testing, but not the basic jobs. My cousin had to prove she could lift 20 pounds being a care aid.

  2. Has that guy tried to kiss your cheek before? I agree, it's not appropriate in the workplace. I agree with all your rules. I'd also like to add that I want personal space when paying at the grocery store. I constantly have people either ramming their cart into me from behind or they stand too close while I'm inserting my credit card into the card reader. I don't need strangers seeing my card number or my name. Back off!

    1. Agreed with the card reader!! Except, that person is usually my daughter.. lol Does that count?? You can't ever be too careful with your cards. I've had my information stolen countless times, but it was most inconvenient when it happened while we were in the process of closing on my house. It delayed closing by a few weeks because the criminals stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry on my credit card.

  3. I never attempt to kiss anyone (non-romantic) on the cheek ever. I think it would usually fall on borderline creepy as well.

    1. We kiss friends and family on the cheek to say hello, but never at work. With my luck, I'd get reported!

  4. That thought wouldn't even go through my head at work, or anywhere else. Let's just randomly kiss someone. Umm nope. And breathing on someone's food, yeah, nasty too. And agreed with the kids, they can shove it up their arse. Even had people try to tell me what I should be doing when I've had the boys out. Pffft.

    But he could have just not known. Could be common where he was last, etc. You know some people don't realize things until they experience getting peed on lmao

    1. There was a witness and he said it was the funniest 30 seconds of his life. Apparently I was making facial expressions as he cornered me b/w the desk and the wall. Oh well, it was innocent but totally inappropriate. One day someone won't give him the benefit of the doubt and he could get in trouble. lol @ getting peed on. You really love that..

    2. haha oh to be the witness. Too bad he couldn't have got a pic. Could have been an internet hit hahaha

  5. Pretty awkward - you should be able to ask for personal space whenever you want. And I feel like you shouldn't feel guilty about doing so

  6. Remember way back when i took that cooking class and one of the guys made me super uncomfortable because i SWEAR he sniffed me/ smelled my hair?! 😳😳 i think sometimes people don't always necessarily understand that stuff is not normal but you should always stand up for yourself even if it makes someone else feel uncomfortable, it made YOU feel uncomfortable so maybe they should feel uncomfortable too 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

  7. The older I get, the more personal space I want. I'm even bad with my husband. When we get into bed, I draw an imaginary line. You stay on your side and don't think about crossing onto mine. Don't even breathe on my side of the bed LOL.

    However, I am a hugger and will hug friends and family almost any time I see them. Co-workers would be a big no-no for touching though. That cheek kiss would have freaked me out too!


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