The rules of communication, personal space and intimate zone

Respect for the other person's personal space is one of the fundamental aspects of social communication – people usually do this automatically, without straining. The rules of nonverbal communication are particularly clear when dividing personal space into zones and distances.

The rules of communication, personal space and intimate zone


Intimate zone (distance) – covers the space from direct physical proximity (tactile contact) to a distance equal to 60 cm. Only people with special permission are allowed in this zone. We consider the crossing of intimate borders by strangers, as well as their intrusion into intimate space in the course of a conversation, as something unacceptable and indecent. However, we often come across people who break these invisible boundaries in the course of a conversation, and then communication becomes more difficult, because there is tension. 

In General, the intimate zone depends on the status of our partner (including conversational communication), as well as on our mood. Usually, we let only close, trusted people – intimate partners and relatives-into the intimate zone. We keep everyone else about half an arm's length away (this distance is also formed when we Dodge someone). 

If the intimate boundaries are violated, we have an unpleasant feeling, accompanied by the release of the fight hormone into the blood, because our body quickly adjusts to the fight or flight from the communication partner.

Translated from German and processed by and. Yegorov (aka_silikus)