HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Nonverbal Communication #6

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The only people who I am most likely to allow in my intimate space is my sister, my mom, and when I greet my family. Not so much my dad as our relationship is flip-floppy, at least from my point of view. For example, if he comes in for a hug I get really tense and stiffen up because I get uncomfortable. One of the main reasons being that growing up I really didn’t do that with him so now as adults, even though our relationship is way better than what it was during middle/high school, I feel a bit awkward.

Obviously, depending on the situation, I allow other people into my intimate space if I’m taking care of them, consolating them, etc. But, there are also some situations where I have no say and are understandable like standing in a line, being in a crowded elevator or dancing in a big party/concert. One particular situation where someone entered my intimate space unexpectedly was when I met some family members from México for the first time in a social gathering. Typically, I kiss on the cheek with my uncles, aunties, and some cousins all who I’ve known for a good chunk of my life. Even with first encounters with other family members, I go in for the cheek kiss with women and a handshake for men. So when I met my one of my aunties for the first time we both went in for the hug and kiss. Then I went for the handshake with my male cousin, but as I was extending my arm he came in with the hug and the cheek kiss. I was completely shocked but still reacted with a hug to not be rude because the greeting wasn’t done with bad intentions. I gave my mom a look and she looked at me saying to shake it off. Then my mom told me that even if you haven’t ever met before, on that specific side of the family, the kiss and hug are standard when greeting a woman which was something I don’t do when I greet most of my male cousins.

For the majority of the interactions I have, whether with family members or with friends, occur in my personal space as I am comfortable around them. Like it mentioned in the book, my social space is typically for people who I talk to, but don’t really know that well or for interaction with strangers in a store or in the workplace. I don’t really care or even pay intense close attention to my public space unless I have a reason to; which can also apply to the other spaces. If I’m being paranoid or am going through an anxiety attack, then any space being invaded is a trigger. But generally, my main focus is on my intimate, personal, and social space whenever I interact with others.

 

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