Body Language of Proxemics Part 2

Since the last post, we’ve established that everyone has a personal space surrounding his/her body. This study of territorial space is called proxemics.

Based on the amount of distance between each individual we can tell the relationship between them. These distances can be grouped into:

  1. Intimate Zone
  2. Personal Zone
  3. Social Zone
  4. Public Zone

Intimate Zone (extends about 2 to 6 fists away from the body)

This zone is reserved for the people who are emotionally close to an individual. They include parents, children and close friends.

Personal Zone (1 to 2 forearms away)

This is the distance you’re comfortable with people during parties and gatherings.

Social Zone (2 arm lengths away)

This distance is maintained with people you don’t know or don’t know well.

Public Zone (over 3.6 m away)

When talking to an audience or large group of people, you feel less anxiety at this distance.

Intrusion of The Zones

The most critical of all the zones is the Intimate Zone. An individual will guard this zone most intensely. When it is intruded upon, many physiological responses occur. Adrenalin races through the bloodstream and prepares the individual for a fight or flight response.

Three reasons exist for intrusion of the Intimate Zone.

The intruder is…

  1. an emotionally close person (e.g. close friend, child)
  2. making a sexual advance
  3. hostile


Intrusion sometimes occur when in crowded places. One has no choice but to tolerate undeliberate intrusion.


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