rubbing shoulders on the bus isn't exactly networking
August 15, 2008 9:43 AM Subscribe
Public transit personal space etiquette question.
posted by porpoise to Human Relations (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I take public transit just about everyday to and from an University campus. Sometimes the person(s) next to me will press arms/shoulders against mine. This happens more frequently when I'm wearing a tank top that leaves my arms and shoulders bare.
People from S. Asia or from the mainland, I understand, have different ideas about personal space than most North Americans.
I'm not talking about these persons.
Typically, they are female or gay men with a wide spectrum of physical attractiveness and apparent personal assuredness. Sometimes they'll even initiate incidental leg/foot contact.
When this happens I usually discretely give them their space, if possible, but they just shift and re-initiate contact again. They'll typically have adequate space on their other side and are not in contact with the person on their other side or there is nobody on their other side. Sometimes they'll even fiddle with something in their purse or a binder/newspaper/audio player/whatever that offers them more contact with me. When I try to smile and initiate eye contact, they never return the eye contact.
Mind you, I'm not complaining here. I've been told that I have nice shoulders - that they're starting to develop and are well defined - but the rest of me amounts to "short, skinny ugger" so this phenomenon is just baffling.
Anyone able to shed any insight on what's going on here?