As an over-thoughtful soul who should have ideally studied human psychology instead of business, some recent conversations with friends about incidents where people tend to ask overtly personal questions instigated me to again put on my thinking hat exploring the idea of an individual’s personal space.
As an adult who has now moved to the other side of 20s, I am often quizzed on certain questions and pulled into conversations in an attempt to know me better that render me completely uncomfortable and exposed. And mind you, such conversations happen with individuals who may have known me for a couple of months or even just few days but the questions make me think if this person has actually known me since eternity.
So today, I just thought to pen down my definition of personal space. For sake of ease in understanding, I will explain it through a biological process. Just imagine your personal life as an egg cell and the outside world as the numerous sperms who want to be a part of this egg cell. With the intent to fertilize the egg cell
personal life, millions of sperms the world attack the egg cell and try to seep through the wall. But only one sperm wins the battle while the rest die to pave way for commencement of a new life.
From such a basic process of determining compatibility, even nature has nourished the idea of personal space. Then how difficult is it for grown up adults to appreciate and respect it? All of us wear an invisible cloak around us that we carry wherever we go and with whoever we are. This cloak separates our personal being from the world and is our sacred space. In an attempt to know a person and identify compatibility as a colleague, friend, lover or life partner, it’s a normal human tendency to gain a peek-a-boo of the personal space. But when will we stop behaving like ‘sperms’ that will randomly attack a person to become a part of their life. As thoughtful human beings, we need to understand that asking right questions can pave way for an individual to become more open and welcoming to accept you in his/ her life.
I do not know if I should feel fortunate or unfortunate, but from a young age, I have moved around with this invisible cloak that has often made people brand me as ‘reserved’, ‘introvert’ and the worst of all – a ‘snob’. But these tags have always made me realize that these were the unsuccessful sperms that could never seep through the wall because they never asked the right questions.
Just two months back, I was interviewing for a company where I was asked if I have a lot of friends. My reply was ‘No’. But I did not stop there. Because I knew that the interviewer was judging my compatibility skills and how well I can get along with people in a professional space. So, I did not end my reply. I gave the interviewer my piece of mind and told him that I am not a person who can easily categorize people as ‘friends’. I have a lot of acquaintances from professional space but not a lot of friends because I invest a lot of time in building relationships. When I call someone as a ‘friend’, it means that person is a part of my personal space because that person always asked the right questions to be a part of my life a.k.a one of the successful sperms!
You may ask now what the right questions are. Well, I would never tell my readers about it because I want you to stop acting like a sperm and put on your thinking hat when you go out to make new relations. But just a word of advice – every human inherently is open to new relations but in an attempt to know that person never ask questions that would have made you uncomfortable if someone had asked you to know you better. Be sensitive, kind and genuine in your approach.
PS – To all those who struggle like me to hang up with such conversations, well, as an adult learn to deal with it! You will figure out your way with a witty response to silly questions.