Free Essay on Breaking Personal Space

Published: 2022-03-04
Free Essay on Breaking Personal Space
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Social psychology
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 591 words
5 min read

Part A: (Before Breaking the Norm)

Respecting personal space is a critical norm in society. People require private space to enjoy time on their own and freedom of doing something without interruptions. Therefore, I have decided to break this norm by standing or leaning too close to people to make them feel uncomfortable. Respecting people's personal space is an informal norm because it is not recorded or written anywhere in the society. Informal norms are not codified as rules or laws in the community and are quite less important in the society and attract only informal sanctions (Witt, 2016).

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Observing people's personal spaces is one of the most fundamental norms of society. This norm exists to control the social interactions and boundaries in the community. It teaches the public the need of being sensitive to people's personal space to make them comfortable and peaceful. Likewise, it exists to prevent psychological and physical effects caused by getting too close to someone. This norm is a form of social control because it acts as a regulator of social chaos and confusion caused by lack of social order. It forms an aspect of individual's personality and gives people social values to internalize (Witt, 2016).

Breaking this vital norm is likely to elicit strong reactions of people in the community. People are likely to get annoyed and angry while being uncomfortable. Although many people may not give a verbal warning, their reactions will be seen through their gestures while others may move away from me. I will feel mistrustful and uneasy when breaking this normal. I am likely to be skeptical and cautious when invading people's privacy because of possible reactions of the people. I feel I will be hated and scorned in equal measure by affected individuals.

Part B: (After Breaking the Norm)

After breaking the norm, I observed diverse reactions among various individuals. Firstly, some confident individuals gave me a verbal warning by requesting to move away from where they stood. Secondly, those who were shy turned their back at me to use their backside as a barrier between them and me. Others used their belongings such as purse and jackets as a barrier after feeling uncomfortable. Nonetheless, some individuals chose to persevere my space invasion while others were rude and harsh through pushing me for being too close to them.

These different reactions prove the importance of this norm in the society. It showed the importance of respecting people's personal space either in public or private places. Additionally, some harsh reactions I received indicated that the norm acts as a social control because invading their space could have caused disorder between them and me. Similarly, experiencing verbal warning showed how the norm is valued in the society and could attract informal sanctions such as being isolated and being cursed in the community. Even though others feared to show their reactions, the use of personal barriers showed that the norm is a representation of acceptable conduct which people should observe in the society.

During the experiment, I felt isolated and disgusted especially the moments where I was warned and treated harshly for invading people's personal spaces. I, however, remained calm and focused on the experiment while avoiding extreme cases of personal space invasion. I learned the importance of respecting and valuing people's space everywhere in the society. I came to understand that I am an individual who observes people's personal areas because of struggling while conducting this experiment of breaking of the norm.


Witt, J. (2016). SOC 2016 (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

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