Territory and nonverbal signs

Background of territory and proxemics

We need a territory for our life and our emotions. The distances what we describe as personal or public depend of gender, culture and age. Women needs more space, as mans, Japan and other Asian cultures have lover space needs as western cultures, and older peoples like to more space as a child.

The proxemics is the science that study the space need, and the territory usage of peoples. The using of space is separates four distances between humans:

space bubbles territory

The intimate distance is the lover from all. Is between 6 inches (15 cm) and 6 to 18 inches (15 to 46 cm). We allow only our family, partner or child to approach so close. Some other person can be inside of this territory, like medical personal or barber, but this person have just do a job inside of this space and don’t make any personal interest by us. Peoples don’t like the invading inside of this area and we try to move away from the invader, or remove the invader from us. Before any touching no matter is he a partner of family, the approach inside of this territory is essential. On the next picture can You see the real example:

open body posture territory

The first reaction by the approach into this territory tell much about the real relationship between the persons. At the same way by walking on the street or siting in the bar, the persons who are so close each other are almost in personal relationship. By intruding to this territory, the person try to move back or side, to have more space. This is often presented by attacking, before the attack, the persons invade into the private space of the victim. The reason for this is in the surprise effect, because is not normal that a stranger invade into your private space.

Personal distance is used almost used for verbal interaction by friends or family members. This distance is from 1.2 feet (46 cm) to 4 feet (120 cm). At this distance we see the whole face of person and his upper body, so we can show him our attention by looking into his eyes, and the person will see this, as a feedback for our attention. Inside this territory are rare to see stranger or unknown peoples, if yes, we will try to move away from this person but not with the same intensity as in intimate space. The good example of this is on next picture between the girls and boys.

show wrist woman territory

At this distance is to see only the upper body posture and the facial expressions, so this distance is used in most time of verbal communication.

Social distance is the third distance from the four main proxemics distances. Is from 4 feet (1.2m) to 12 feet (3.7m). This distance is mostly used by communication with acquaintances or other persons may we known but are not our friends or family members. At this distance is to see the entire body, the clothing and the face with his facial expressions. On this distance can we collect the most information about a persons body language and facial expressions, because we the combination of gestures and facial expressions at the same time with the verbal communication.

Because this reason is the social distance used by interviews on job or by psychologist. If You with to observe a person and collect the information of his behavior and his reactions about You or your statements, use this distance to have the best field of view, but pay attention to don’t move to far from person, because it can be look as You don’t trust the person. On the next picture is the example of this distance by the two girls on background:

social distance territory

The two girls in background can see each others body and facial expression. The right girl show open palm, and the left the pointing finger.

Public distance is the biggest from all. Is from 12 feet (3.7 m) to 25 feet (7.6 m). This distance is used to speaking in public events. At this distance is the body language light to see, but not the facial expressions, especially the micro expressions. Often used by politicians and celebrities by public presentation. This distance is the compromise for this peoples between the need to be in public eye and the distance for his own security. In relationships is this distance don’t used for any verbal communication, but the first nonverbal signs of communication between two man that wall to each other begin at this distance with eye contact and the “scanning of body”. Because the less information about the facial expressions, the person can only build the first impression about the clothing, body posture and gestures of person. This is reason why politicians and celebrities use this distance for presentation of himself. The next picture illustrate this distance.

public distance territory

The verbal communication at this distance is not presented, as on distances over public distance. We all need a territory for our life, o You can known much more about a life of others, if You see how they use a territory around self and around others.

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