Violating Norms for Proximity Exercise:
You will “violate” some of the norms for proximity for either one person, or you may choose to do this with a few different people. Try standing slightly closer to a friend or family member than you normally would, then note how they react. If you have a romantic partner or very close friend, sit much farther from them than you normally would. For example, sit at the opposite end of the couch if you would typically sit closer. Pay attention to the reactions you elicit. When talking with an acquaintance, increase the distance between you each time the other person tries to decrease it and see how the other person responds.
(NOTE: In a time of social distancing, clearly this concept is fraught. Don’t put yourself or others at risk. Try the exercise with people in your household or even over video conferencing, if you live alone. Stay safe.)
For your discussion board post discuss what you did and how people responded to your space violations. What did the reactions reveal about the importance of spacing norms in the United States?
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be careful in your selection of people with whom you violate norms of space, and be prepared to explain why you are behaving so “oddly.” DO NOT tell them before so you are able to note their authentic reaction! Tell them after the experiment and get their feedback as well.
Watch this clip from the movie Up! that tells, without words, the story of the protagonist and his wife as they proceed from youth to old age together (warning: you may need a tissue!):