Johnathon Teal Norm Violation Paper Soc. of Deviance 4/30/13 Violating Personal Space There have been many social norms that society has “put” in place just to keep things as smooth and as un-awkward as possible. Everyday people follow these norms almost unconsciously. It is expected that every other person follow then them too. So, with this in mind, so my goal is to see how people react when I violate one of these norms. The norm I chose to violate is something that everyone cherishes a lot greatly: his or her own personal space.
My goal is was to see how people feel felt about me being in their personal space. First, I tried my luck at one of the bus stops by my house. I stood at the bus stop and waited for someone else to show up and sit on the bench. Then I walked up and sat right next to them, touching close. This turned out to be very entertaining.
For the most part, people were not comfortable with this at all. I received quite a few “what-the-hell-are-you-doing” looks. One person even pushed me away and almost fought me until I explained what I was doing. That said, my favorite encounter was with this older black woman.
After, sitting right next to her she put her arm around me and said, “Now there ain’t nothing I love more then attention from a young handsome man. ” Next, after deciding I decided I would see how people standing in a line would react to me violating their space, so I went to various fast food restaurants to see. This is where the reactions were very minimal more discrete. While standing in line I would keep getting closer and closer to the person in front on me until I got some kind of reaction out of them. Most of the people would just step forward or to the side slide to avoid me without any other kind of reaction.
Where the standing in lines seemed to be different then sitting on the bench is that the people in line were able to take one or two steps to protect their personal space. So I had to find somewhere that people were unable to avoid me, so I took my experiment into one of the elevators in a dorm near my house. This turned out to be way more fun then I ever expected. I would stand outside the elevators from a distance and wait waiting for someone to get on and, once they did, I would follow them into the elevator and stand as close as a possible could.
The way people reacted to this was nothing short of priceless. I was cussed out many times again by people who were unaware it was an experiment. One kid actually pushed me to the other side of the elevator and threatened to fight me if I got close to him again. So, wanting to make this more interesting I started to wait till until I saw couples, what I thought, was a couple entering the elevator, before following them in and standing and I would follow them in and stand really close to the girl. Unsurprisingly, the boyfriends were way more uncomfortable then the girls were.
This was a risky act on my part because the guys were very protective of their girlfriend’s personal space. Obviously, I was again close to getting in a few fights. Next, I wanted to go to a place were where not only would it be had hard for people to avoid me but also where it would be hard to avoid others. To do this, I went to this a small bar and hung out waited around for a while until it got full crowned. Now, being in a packed bar and having no personal space, I just… when in a full bar you basically have no personal space, so I just sat back and watched peoples reactions.
And, Just as I thought would happen, hardly anyone had any sort of reactions to their space being violated. They just kept doing what they were doing. I don’t know if the alcohol had something to do with that or if it was just the fact that there was no way of avoided avoiding the situation, but or what but I found this very interesting. Of course there were a couple of people that showed some negative reactions, but all of them they were short lived. Finally, after witnessing the reactions at the bar I want to find a place similar that did not involve alcohol.
I decided to go stand , so I went and just stood in line outside the Newport while people were waiting to get in for a concert. There, I did the same thing that I did when I was in the restaurants. I just slowly crept closer and closer to the person in front of me. Just as an expected there was no reaction. So, again, I left the line and just watched people from a distance. Everyone in this line was right on top of one another and no one was showing any kind of reaction. No funny looks, no words spoken, nothing. After testing my experiment in these five different public places I have come to a few conclusions.
People are very protective of their personal space and do not want it to be violated for the most part. I also noticed that men are just as protective of their girlfriend’s personal space as their own, almost as a mother wolf protects her cubs. In fact, when put in a situation where they are unable to regain their space they often turn angry, almost enough to fight. The on thing that surprised me about this experiment is that there was certain times that people had no care in the world for their space, as seen … and like in the bar or in line for the concert.
It seems like just because they were there to have a good time that that social norm doesn’t factor in affect them. Social norms are a part of living daily lives. Almost everything we do as has a right way and a wrong way of doing it and, while sometimes the right way to do it in one scenario may be completely wrong in another, we as humans seem to be preprogrammed to know which is which. I will have to say that I’m lucky to live in a country that doesn’t have severe punishments for violating these norms because I really enjoyed every minute of doing this experiment and just watching people’s reactions.
Cite this Breaking Social Norms and Violating Personal Space
Breaking Social Norms and Violating Personal Space. (2016, Oct 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/social-norm-violation/