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When To Tell Someone Is Invading Your Personal Space?


mylolita

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Hi everyone, again, ha!

 

Just a general question for everyone on ENA. When, for you, is someone TOO CLOSE? You know, when you're talking to a stranger and they step forward, what are your personal boundaries?

 

I have been having an experience now and then at work with the director of the company I work for. Whenever I've got a file out and he wants to look at it too, instead of waiting until I've finished, he stands right next to me so that his hand is brushing mine on the file.

 

Just today, I was trying to arrange some folders of his from my computer, I asked him something and he took the mouse of me, leaned in so close when he spoke his breath was brushing my ear!

 

I was stiff with awkwardness and uncomfortableness!

 

I don't think he fancies me, but I'm just thinking, this is too close! I don't protect my personal space with a vengence but at the same time, I don't want someone who's not a friend 'on top' of me like that!

 

Any opinions appreciated!

 

- Lolita

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I tell people they're "in my bubble" with a smile. No one wants to invade your personal space...especially at work. That's a misconstrued lawsuit waiting to happen lol.

 

Haha! Thanks faraday

 

I like the guy but really there's no need! When he's been drinking I can practically smell the booze on his breath from the weekend! NOT GOOD! I always end up taking a step back, it feels really obvious but what else can I do apart from actually say give me a bit of breathing room!

 

- Lolita

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This can be cultural. Is your boss from a place where people tend to stand close to each other? I knew a girl from here in the USA who went to Italy for year. One day she was talking with someone in a park (I cannot remember why) he would step towards her and she would take a step back, basically he slowly chased her accross the park, lol.

 

Try non-verbal communication first and see of that works (stepping back in a obvious way) and if it doesnt work a simple, "Hey could you move back a bit?" should send the message.

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Since this is an unusual problem for you I suspect your personal boundaries are completely normal, and he's over-stepping them.

 

Sometimes people have different boundaries for cultural reasons. Other times people sub-consciously or consciously overstep boundaries to exercise power or dominance (hell, I do it too on occasion).

 

Soft signals like stepping away are good.

 

If that doesn't work I reckon you have two options:

 

If you two have a good tone you could make it a funny comment, like: "you keep getting this close to me and people in the office will get suspicious" or, react and add "sorry, except my fiancé I'm not used to people getting that close to me". If the tone is good it's a softer way to send the message, but it can also come accross all wrong if the dynamics are different.

 

If this approach is risky then say it straight and matter of fact. I suspect it's not the first time he gets the feedback.

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Thank you everyone!

 

I think he also does it to another much older lady I work with, so it's not an attraction thing, I think he doesn't realise he's doing it!

 

Seriously, he was blowing in my ear today it was way too much!

 

I think I will definitely take a bunch of advice from this and just move back. I really don't want to have to say anything to him. He's the under boss and we get on quite well even though there's a big age gap (I think he's 40ish). It's just a little too much!

 

Much appreciated,

 

- Lolita

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This can be cultural. Is your boss from a place where people tend to stand close to each other? I knew a girl from here in the USA who went to Italy for year. One day she was talking with someone in a park (I cannot remember why) he would step towards her and she would take a step back, basically he slowly chased her accross the park, lol.

 

Try non-verbal communication first and see of that works (stepping back in a obvious way) and if it doesnt work a simple, "Hey could you move back a bit?" should send the message.

 

Oh my god haha!

 

Okay, hopefully we won't be doing circuits around the office in this way Moontiger!

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Next time, abruptly pull back a little bit, as if you're surprised. Then say "sorry dude you're just a little bit too close for comfort!".

 

Thanks for your input but I don't know whether I can be too casual with this guy, he is the director and we do still have a very formal, business relationship in many ways.

 

Maybe I need to get some pepper spray haha!

 

- Lolita

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