What can you do to increase your comfort level or safety in a situation where someone is too close? You have lots of options!
- Assert control over the space between you: Step away to a more comfortable distance (try to pivot and move away on an angle rather than straight back) and re-orient yourself to the other person with your shoulders squared.
- Use a low hand gesture to fill the space between you and establish a definite boundary. A casual wave might work for a friend; a palm-down “Whoa!” gesture for someone you don’t know.
- Establish your boundary verbally—using as much politeness as the situation calls for: “Could I have a little more space?” “I need you to move back,” or “Hey, don’t crowd me!”
Be sure to move purposefully—don’t shuffle or shrink—and maintain eye contact as you speak and move.