I Love Personal Space

Personal Space With Kids

As a mother of three young children I don’t get a whole lot of personal space. In fact, much of the time it’s more like a deeply philosophical question than anything else; what’s the meaning of life? What is personal space? Somewhat like that.

So, when I get the chance to be alone I really enjoy having my body and the area immediately surrounding me all to myself. I enjoy having all my bits and pieces to do with what I will.

Yesterday, I went out to get milk. Jasper was asleep and, for once, the girl’s weren’t interested in begging me if they could come. It was lonely. I did my quick shop without having to hurry anyone up, call anyone back or entertain a baby while getting around. It was a little bit of shopping bliss.

As I went through the check out, a lady lined up behind me and unpacked her trolley. Once she was done she stood between her trolley and the counter, ridiculously close to me. I would inch away only to have her close the gap I had made. As I tried to find a place for myself which would give me some space only to be crowded again I started to feel a nervous discomfort which often precedes my anxiety attacks.

It’s not that I don’t like people …

… Or maybe it is, but she was WAY too close.

When I went around the end to put my plastic bags into my own trolley she moved into the space in front of the eftpos machine so that when I needed to pay I had to say “excuse me”. She looked at me a little like I was an alien, as if she didn’t know why I would need her to stand back, so I did a weird little side slide thing in order to pay. I thought that once she knew why I had needed her to move she would do so. She didn’t.

If anything, she got closer. I could see her standing there, in my peripheral vision as I did my thing. I am pretty sure that she could see my pin number, but she was in a position where shielding what I was inputting was practically impossible.

I sidled out, relieved to be able to breathe and get my heart rate down a little. And have my own space once again.

Thankfully, my shop was only small and the whole ‘interaction’ didn’t last all that long, even if it actually felt like hours. I’ve never left the shop so fast.

To top off the whole situation, as I was putting everything into the car, this same lady arrived at the car next to mine and gave me looks as she put her child in and put her groceries in. If I didn’t know any better I would say she probably loved me, as they weren’t nasty looks… just, constant ones.

I was thrilled to come home to be squished, fondled and constantly touched by chubby, sticky little hands.

I wonder if, maybe, I am a little over sensitive and at the same time I am pretty sure it’s normal to not want strangers standing so close you can feel the heat coming off their body. Right…?

Linking up with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBot

16 Comments

  1. Oh, wow… It is totally normal not to like people that close!!!!

    I am an affectionate, social and outgoing person. I have a wide group of very close friends. Having said that… I have been in this sort of situation before. Seriously, if I don’t know you, and we are in a non crowded situation (on a train, on a bus crowding is understandable) arms length. If you are closer than arms length, you are too close!!!

    I would have been close to a panic attack in that situation too!!

    • So glad to hear I’m not alone. When you’re introverted like me it’s hard to know if I’m just over reacting or there’s a valid reason I’m freaking out.

  2. I can relate fully – I desperately need personal space and that would have made my heart rate rise too. I do know i am also overly sensitive -s think maybe those go hand in hand – can handle squishy cuddles etc but even with my kids i need breathing room sometimes and they actually know the phrase personal space because i keep explaining it to them LOL

    • I’m the same but have only just started to realise that if I don’t get my own space sometimes that I get mental, which might have also made me even more aware of this woman.

  3. This is hilarious. Who are these people that stand too bloody close in supermarket aisles?! I hate it too…but then I went for a drive at 8:30 last night in my pyjamas I was that desperate for personal space!

    • I just don’t understand how THEY are comfortable? Surely, they can at least tell the other person is uncomfortable?

  4. I would have said excuse me but I need to get in there and pay. Please wait your turn!!

    I put my pram/basket on the floor waiting in the line… took a side step to grab a chocolate bar. Side stepped back and there was someone infront of me that wasn’t there before..

    I piped up and said. Isnt it rude when people can’t wait their turn.

    The guy looked at me and said – sorry I didn’t see you.

    What u didnt see my screaming kids, the pram and the basket lined up to be next??

    The checkout guy said I saw you – and this guy can wait now!!
    and put my stuff through first!!!

    It pays to pipe up.. 🙂

    • I probably should have said more and not assumed that saying excuse me and moving towards the eftpos machine would be all I needed. But, I am so not good at those kinds of things!
      We had a couple push in front of us at the wildlife park recently and James was saying how rude they were but they just pretended they couldn’t hear him and THEN they popped under the rope to cut to the front of the prepaid ticket line!

  5. Oh this would frustrate me . I hate having my personal space invaded. I’ve got a friend who I love dearly, but he can be like this. He is not as bad as he use to be, but he was always in your space.

    I also remember once as a kid meeting a friend of my dads, and stressing because he kept moving closer and fidgeting. My dad told me later he had Parkinson’s. I felt so bad, but I’ve never forgotten it, and I guess I learnt about out giving others personal space from that episode.

  6. Yep… that would drive me nuts too. Especially the rare time that you have to yourself (even if it’s just to get milk, but you know what I mean!). Maybe that’s why it made you feel so frustrated… it would have to me too!!

    • I think you’re right about that being why I was so frustrated. I couldn’t believe I was out ALONE and somehow I was having my space invaded – what’s with that? Had my children been there I probably wouldn’t have noticed another person so close (maybe)!

  7. Oh gosh that is not right. I am pretty big on personal space. I like it A LOT. Tis situation would have made me uncomfortable as well

    • Thanks for your comment, Rhianna. It’s been so good to hear that I’m not alone in this. It was just such a strange situation!

  8. What is that woman’s deal??? I hate it when people insist on standing close to me like that, I makes me feel like they are trying to hurry me along because they don’t like having to wait. I only have one child but I already crave my own personal space, she is at the knocking on the toilet door stage, and do my best to get some whenever I can.
    Totally valid request!

    • I really have no idea. I kept wondering if she just didn’t know? Did she not have that ‘thing’ which tells us when we’re too close.
      I feel like I’ve heard that’s a thing…?

  9. Oh Lordy, I am totally with you on this! I’m generally a pretty happy go lucky, put up with most crap, extroverted kinda gal – but when people get all up in my space I near snap! People I know I can handle, in situations when you need to be close to others (ugh) I can handle (like the elevator at work…) but someone like that at the supermarket, or old bingo ladies practically standing on top of you in the line for the Bistro.. so much so that their lunch trays overlapped yours… Lets just say I have imagined slapping said bingo ladies with said lunch tray on more than one occasion. Some people have been very lucky I have a fair amount of self control…

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