The Importance Of Social Norms In Public Places

4109 Words 17 Pages
Understanding social norms is one of the major formulations people use to keep society running in a respectful, safe, and proper way. In public settings people establish, maintain, and change their personal territories formulated by social norms and other verbal and nonverbal notifications sent by others. The term “public,” specifically means areas where individuals have freedom of access, but not necessarily of action (Guerrero, DeVito & Hecht, 1999). In this paper, I will describe my observations of how various people established their personal territories in five different places: the library, the elevator, the café, the concert, and the children’s playing room. People are able to take over a piece of a public territory temporarily through …show more content…
No matter how small the space they have in a public setting, they still have a need to protect the territory from strangers. When people become stressed around strangers, they prefer a larger interpersonal distance, which also establishes their personal territories at the same time (Aiello, Derisi, Epstein & Karlin, 1977). Therefore, the size or space of the personal territory can be changed based on the relationship that one has with the nearest person to him or her. Personal territories can be shared with others, like when you hug, kiss, and take selfies with your friend, cheek to cheek. Usually, strangers and acquaintances keep a social-consultative distance, which is five to ten feet; however, friends are able to have a much closer distance, considered intimate distance, which is about 18 inches away (Hall, 1964). Once the concert was fully underway, people were not offended if others bumped into their personal territories. I think it was because everyone was in a high and positive mood at the time, so they had a lower resistance to any violations. Also, the loud music, dancing and jumping made them comfortable with their environment, so they accepted more unconscious

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