i once had to let go of a friendship because the guy was persistent in invading my personal space - however this post is not about me, it's about a friend who got caught in a heated argument with a man who invaded her personal space not realizing he's being offensive - though i strongly subscribe to her point of view, i don't fully agree that invading one's personal space is part of a kuwaiti culture - nevertheless here's her story, i will not reveal her name unless she wants to... in this case she can comment on her own story.
The reason why I am telling you this story is to bring up the subject of “Personal Space”. This is one of my primary battles in Kuwait, we call it ‘Up in ya face’ and when someone is ‘up in ya face’ it means that you want to fight in my culture. I deem there should be an international law specifying that there is a square radius around every individual on earth that in that space in time you own it and no one should bridge that space out of politeness and respect to human dignity.
I remember walking in the Ginza District in Tokyo with my children, which is probably one of the busiest streets in the world, and stopping abruptly where I turned to my children and stated, “Wow, no one is bumping in to me”. I love Japan! The Japanese people have a revered respect for personal space and even when you are at a sporting event, and you are holding an umbrella, your umbrella must never touch the other person’s umbrella next to you. That is deemed insulting. I constantly have people in Kuwait bump in to me, why, the aisles in Avenues aren’t big enough? I have gotten in many fights with women who stand behind me in a queue at the store breathing down my neck, hey, you want to get married? They are in my personal space and this is offensive to me. I really don’t have this issue in Dubai, so I really do think that it is a Kuwait issue. I have asked countless women in this country to move away from me and then they think this is an outrageous insulting request. No it is not!
Now getting back to my story… the reason why I am telling you this long drawn out story, is that this Kuwaiti man did not realize that he was ‘up in my face’ when he ‘accosted’ me at the buffet. He does not think he is accosting me, but he is in my mind. He was so close to my face that I could have leaned forward and kissed him and he seemed to not understand why I told him that he was being hostile to me.
When you enter someone’s personal space, you are being hostile to that person, you are waging war against them, you have entered my ‘DMZ’. He did not have to get that close to me, and in the Middle East, isn’t that offensive to get that close to a woman especially in front of her husband? No coitus is going to happen any time soon, buddy! I will continue to command my ground, I will demand from this society one square radius surrounding me at all times and if you decide to enter my personal space, you better be prepared to fight because after last night I am going to war! The world has become a crowded space, but I believe there is still room for everyone to own some personal space at a given time on earth where you can be respected in your own zone.
We all have a comfort zone, an invisible zone of psychological comfort that we carry with us. It’s the region surrounding each person, or that area which a person considers their domain or territory. It’s the bubble of space that you keep between you and the person standing in front of you. We call it our personal space. How much personal space one needs varies depending on who we are talking to and the situation we are in.
so, what do you think guys?