Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Whats Of Distance

The study of distances between people and animals is called Proxemics. Proxemics was introduced by Eward T. Hall, an anthropologist. There are 4 types of distances which includes Intimate Distance, Personal Distance, Social Distance, and Public Distance.

  • Intimate Distance (embracing, touching or whispering): This usually occurs when we're emotionally close to someone and mostly in private situations. However, this varies with culture differences as well as how we feel towards someone.
  • Personal Distance (interactions among good friends): When an uninvited person intrudes our personal distances, we might feel uncomfortable. This especially applies to those who move into friendships too quickly and this action might scare the other person.
  • Social Distance (interactions among acquaintances): This is very common in business situations. For example, social distance between a salesperson and a customer or between people who work together. This distance is for more formal and impersonal situations.
  • Public Distance (public speaking ): The closer range is about 12ft - 25ft. This range of distance is usually used by teachers in the classroom. The farther range of public distance can go froom 25ft and more. This is when two-way communication won't work well.

When interacting, it is important for us to know which distance is best suited to a situation as it can affect our relationship with others. Hall notes that different cultures maintain different standards of personal space. For this reason, we must constantly note the differences between our culture and that of others in order to avoid misunderstandings. :D

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