You know who I’m talking about.
Those people who get so close to you that you almost feel their breath on your neck as you stand in line at the grocery store, post office or drug store. Anywhere there is a line with people who think that you’re too slow and they’re more important, or who were seriously raised by parents who did not teach them about respecting the personal space of others.
This often takes place as I am paying and I want to offer them a piece of gum out of my purse since they can see inside it so well.
A grown man in the next line over at the store yesterday was so up in this lady’s business and being such a spaz about it that I could feel the energy in the next lane over. (This photo does not do the situation justice and I was trying to be discreet.) I wanted to ask him if he had to use the restroom or something since he seemed in such a hurry.
Often these space invaders have one hand on their hip, their arms crossed or even their legs crossed like this guy. And some sighs and heavy breathing might take place. Sometimes body odor.
Naively, I always think that making some dramatic eye contact with a semi-sneer will make it clear to them that they are invading my space and they need to back off.
Or sometimes I think that if I just hold my ground and not move a single inch until I’m good and ready, they’ll get the message.
I’ve even tried slightly backing up to throw them off, to no avail.
I always want to say something like “You seem like you’re in a hurry since you’re up so close and personal with me right now, want to go ahead of me? Or do you just want to get to know me better?” Or “You seem like you need a hug … is that why you’re getting so close?” But I worry that I would start something that I’m physically unable to carry through.
Any attempts I make to help space invaders realize that they are bucking this social norm are futile. I’m baffled. Or maybe I’m delusional to think that I can really change another human being’s behavior? ( Logically I know this to be the answer but I still love to analyze it.)
How do you handle Close Encounters of the Personal Kind? Any tips?