HEALTHY Boundaries – Info (Part 2)


is Too close for me!

PREVIOUS: Healthy Bs – Info (Part 1)

REVIEW: Bs – ‘Healthy Source’

Studies have formulated Personal Boundary distances for middle class people in Western & westernized countries.  In most social situations Americans require a comfort zone of 6 to 8 sq feet per person, & any violation of that buffer can sometimes trigger a strong reaction. In crowded cities  people are most likely to just shut down – at least in public

1a. The Intimate Zone – the most important – is 6 to 18 inches (15-45 centimeters). People guard this area as if it were their private property & only those who are emotionally close are allowed to enter, which include lovers, parents, spouse, children, close friends, relatives and pets

1b. The Close-Intimate Sub-zone: extends from 0 to 6 inches (15 cm) from the body, which we allow to be entered only during intimate physical contact (whispering, hugging, kissing, sex…)

2. The Personal Zone – 18 to 48 inches (46 cm-1.22 m), the distance between us others at polite social functions like cocktail or office parties, all other friendly gatherings and conversing with close friends

3. The Social Zone – 4 to 12 feet (1.22~3.6m) – the distance from strangers, like repair people, sales people, a new employee at work & anyone else we don’t know very well, and generally talking with acquaintances

4. The Public Zone – 12 feet (3.6m) – interacting with strangers & when addressing large groups

GENDER DIFFERENCES: Personal space has been studied in relation to age, race, culture, mental disorder, menstrual cycle & gender.  Regarding the latter, researchers have observed definite differences:geneder Bs
• between the personal space needed by men vs. women in general (most women need less)
• whether the distance is between 2 men or 2 women
• if a man in approaching a woman or vice versa
• positioning —
men prefer being next to each other but face to face with an attractive woman. Men need more room around them, so will try to avoid crowds & personal invasion of any kind, & react with hostility if they can’t
women prefer face to face because they are more sensitive to the space next to them & become wary if a stranger approaches from the side. Women generally keep their distance from both genders unless they feel safe, are more tolerant in crowded areas & seldom invade other people’s space  (More ….)

• They also noted that children learn this spacing by age 12 if not before, as seen in a sample taken between kindergarten and sixth grade, where significant sex effects were found: Both boys & girls need more distance when around the opposite sex, & less when with their own gender. To read more, see article Spatial Differences Between Males and Females

Some Characteristics of Healthy Boundaries
Appropriate, based on my inner life.  I set a boundary or let it go based on what I am experiencing right now – which includes my beliefs, thoughts, feelings, decisions, choices, wants, needs, intuition. So knowing what is coming up for me in my outer life is crucial in setting healthy boundaries and having healthy relationships

Clear. I am clear about my internal boundaries & those I have in relation to others
Firm. I am in charge of how firm I want mt boundaries to be in order to get what I want or need

Flexible. Healthy boundaries need to be flexible – when appropriate. I have to decide how close or far away someone should be, in order to get what I want or need. Also – for healthy relationships, I need to let go of some boundaries & limits  – when appropriate

Maintaining. I have to consider whether to hold firm OR relax a specific boundary or limit for a period of time, to get what I want or need

good BsPresence. I need to keep a specific boundary present in my awareness to some degree, in order to identify its usefulness or non-usefulness. If I don’t pay attention to a boundary I need, then I may not be able to set it or decide to let it go

Protective. Boundaries help protect the well-being and integrity of my Inner Child

Receptive. I need to consider when it’s useful or enjoyable for loosen the boundary a bit so I can let another person, place, thing, behavior or experience in Modified from list by Patricia Jones, ‘Alive in the Moment

NEXT: List of Healthy Bs, Part 1


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