Saturday, June 14, 2014

Respect and Personal Space

Everyone claims to know the word. Everyone demands it. Not many actually practise it. I speak of this rather rare thing known as respect.

I'm not going to go into the logic of the word, and the definition. I think we can all agree that respect entails a lot of things - being kind and courteous, allowing people to keep their distance if they need to, not leaping on them for what they believe, etc.

Everyone demands respect. Seriously. Everyone.

The thing is, many don't see fit to give others that respect. The main way this happen, at least as far as I see, is not giving a person space. And that is what I'm focusing on today.

This is not a very organised blog article, so I apologise beforehand if the following words are confusing in any way.

I speak from experience here. Everyone - and that means everyone - needs personal space. They need time to themselves. I love to spend time with people, but even I need my space. Moreso than normal, lately. As I get older, the need to either spend some time on my own every say or only spend time around a few people at a time, grows. I still love people, but unless I'm with someone I trust and love very much, large groups agitate me more than they used to.

So when someone point-blank refuses to give me space, it agitates me further. Sometimes, in bad cases, it makes me want to withdraw entirely and stop talking to anyone. Do I like hugs? Yes. Do I like to talk to people? Yes. But sometimes, even despite the fact I love people, I need to have my personal space. Respect it when I do.

Now, everyone needs personal space. We've established that.

But people who have been broken, or have family/mental/emotional issues... they're different. They may not need respect and space more than anyone else, but they react far more differently than other people.

One thing you cannot do is force them to care about you, force them to listen, force them to feel.

Take a look at some of these specific scenarios. Now, this attempting to force people to feel or something they can't feel or don't want to do applies to anyone, but it especially applies to people who are already struggling.

I heard, once, of this guy. He was 'in love' (or claimed to be) with someone I know. Instead of giving her space when she quite clearly told him she didn't want to talk, and explaining that she did not feel the same way, he continuously texted her and would not let her have a moment's peace.

He was, basically, disrespecting someone he claimed to love. If you love someone, respect someone, you are not going to invade their personal space. You are going to let them move through life at their own speed, with the people they so choose to travel with. If it's meant to be, it will happen. If it's not, then it is of extremely poor taste to continue harassing - yes, continuously messaging and texting someone about a subject and emotions they clearly do not want to talk about nor share is harassing.

Credit to BlimeyCow for the quote, and thank you to Will for finding this meme for me!

Another scenario that is quite simple, but that others seem to forget. If a person tells you they don't want to talk to you, then if you respect and love them, you will give them their space. You won't keep messaging them nonstop, or asking them to talk to you, or following them to the bus stop.

Basically - if you love someone, truly love them, you will respect them. And respecting someone also entails giving them their space.

It's not always black and white. Sometimes a person is afraid to tell another that they don't want to talk, or don't want to do this or that. But there's usually signs, and if you catch them, take heed of them. If a person doesn't want to talk to you, it's almost never because they hate you - it's because they need time to unwind, or they're having a bad day and don't feel like talking, or they need to relax for a while, or, or, or... the possibilities are endless.

These are some of the things that I, personally, consider as disrespecting another's personal space:

- Trying to get them to talk to you when they don't want to.
- Following them everywhere when they've shown discomfort. (Don't laugh, it happens, even with people that don't have bad intentions.)
- Trying to force them to feel something or do something. If they don't love you, then no amount of pestering is going to change that. If they don't want to go to a movie with you, they don't, and guilt-tripping them isn't going to change that.
- Trying to insist that you know best and they need to do what you say. You can gently and lovingly tell someone your concerns, but you should not point-blank say, "You have to do [such and such] because it's bad!"
- Taking their stuff without permission.

Basically, do not do or say anything that will make them uncomfortable; and if you do so unknowingly, then please, for everyone's sanity and safety, stop doing/saying it!

I think that's it for now. This was a spur-of-the-moment blog article; I may or may not write a follow-up that is thought out more. But for now, the bottom line is - respect others' feelings and space. It'll make things easier on both you and them.

Until next time,

Theodora Ashcraft


  1. I wholeheartedly agree. Wonderful post, Theodora, and a great reminder to all of us--even the ones who don't struggle on one end or the other.

    1. Thank you, MJ. :) It is definitely a good reminder; and one I need as well. And that is true, even people who don't struggle need space!

  2. Hmmm... Good post. And quite relate-able...