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Interpersonal communication & proxemics

FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Jan 5, 2008   #1

Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback?

The prompt is:

Please provide a detailed and thoughtful, half-page response to the follow question: What are the four zones of personal space? Give examples of how you use each zone in your personal life.

Thank you in advance



Interpersonal communication employs a wide range of strategies to convey information between human beings. The first step in this process commences when one person catches a glimpse at another person. From this very moment, people evaluate new congeners and attempt to forecast their thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours. The comprehension of the nonverbal codes that one interprets has aroused the curiosity of numerous researchers. Among them, Edward T. Hall focused on the understanding of the human species' use of space between individuals. His study of proxemics has revealed that most individuals living in western cultures customarily institute four main spatial zones to adjust the space around them when they engage in social interactions, which are implicitly understood and accepted by most individuals in a society.

First, the closest area surrounding an individual is known as intimate space and ranges from zero to about one and a half foot from an individual. This zone is aimed at the most personal and intimate relations between individuals. Therefore, when someone enters this area he or she must be considered as a very close person because, if it is not the case, the one who approaches is viewed as an intruder. Consequently, before penetrating this zone, one must be abreast of his/her level of intimacy with his/her interlocutor in order to avoid disturbing him/her. As far as I am concerned, this area is habitually reserved for my common law wife. However, since two friends or colleagues of opposite sex in southern European countries traditionally kiss when they meet, I regularly let people pierce this perimeter for a limited amount of time. However, my Greek friends are more tactile than I am and often come in this zone.

Second, the area that comes in second position is identified as personal space and ranges from about one and half foot to about four feet from an individual. This circle is usually intended for conversations with one's friends and family members. For that reason, this zone is still considered a personal area since, when people who are not intimates enter, they are also perceived as intruders. Consequently, when individuals come within a radius of about four feet, without being invited by his/her interlocutor, they are likely to upset him/her. In this case, I do not differ from the bulk of my western counterparts because I usually keep this zone for my friends and family.

Third, the next zone is branded as social space and ranges spreads from about four fees to twelve feet around a western individual. This virtual ring is the area in which most group interactions happen. As a result, being outside the intimate sphere, this area witnesses more reserved relations and one's standing in this zone clearly denotes one's will to mark formal relations deprived of intimacy or one's rejection from another individual's sphere of intimacy. I typically endeavour to speak to people in my or their workplace without being closer than four feet.

Fourth, the last zone is identified as public space and its scope starts beyond a distance of about twelve feet. One's position in this area is not considered a suitable one for performing interpersonal communication. Indeed, at such a distance, one is unable to convey to, and above all, receive personal emotions from an interlocutor. That is why this zone is utilized by orators when they want to address large attendances. As far as I am concerned, when I want to stay aloof, I maintain a distance of at least twelve feet from my interlocutors. Each time I have to address an audience, I preserve this space for it allows me to look at each participant and give them the impression that I personally speak to each of them.

Finally, although the description of these areas roughly matches with my personal preferences, they are not intangible. As a matter of fact, as most individuals, I adapt my behaviour according to the circumstances. Indeed, the first factor of change is the feeling of closeness with someone that I feel. The space separating my interlocutor and me is conversely proportional with this degree of intimacy. Moreover, other factors such as the socio-economic status, the gender, my interlocutor's culture and the available room around us play a prominent role in this phenomenon of adaptation. These adjustments allow me to ameliorate my cross-cultural communication skills and, thus, improve both my relations with my intimates and my capacity to adapt to the job-market.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Jan 6, 2008   #2

I'm happy to give you some editing tips on your excellent essay!

one person catches a glimpse of another person.

from zero to about one and a half feet from an individual.

from about one and half feet to about four feet

Third, the next zone is branded as social space and ranges spread from about four feet to twelve feet

when they want to address large audiences.

Good work!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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