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How To Learn Sign Language

Non-Verbal Communication Tools : Non-Verbal Communication: Space


Ok, the next form of non-verbal communication
I want to talk about, is space, and space is space. It is the space around you. It’s
officially called proxemics, and we actually have three sets of proxemics around us. What
this is, is basically the bubble or the wall, in which you don’t really want anybody in
there, but we actually have three sets of walls. First, we have our social distance.
That’s where, ok, I want to only keep you here, because I don’t really know you. I’m
not super comfortable with you. Next, we have the personal space, which I know you. We’re
developing a relationship. We’re friends. I trust you, so I’m going to let you in a
little bit closer. And then of course, the last set of space, is the intimate distance,
which is very, very, very close. Now, it is so interesting, because Americans have the
largest area of proxemics around them, compared to any other culture. We don’t like people
up close to us, where other cultures, they get right on top of each other. In fact, I
bet this has happened to you. You’re standing in line at the grocery store, and you can
feel somebody right behind you, so you step up, and they step up, and you step up, and
they step up. It happens all the time, and a lot of times, it’s just simply a cultural
difference, but what this does, is this communicates how we feel. I’m comfortable with you. I’m
going to get close to you, or I am not comfortable with you. I have to get away from you. Some
people are intuitive enough to pick up on that. Some people are not, and it has to do
with their own proxemics. Someone gets right on you. You step back. They step in. Very
clearly, the space around them is not as deep, as the space around you, so be very aware
of people’s space.

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