Sunday, May 9, 2010

Personal Space

"Preparation makes the master" is the German expression. I prefer it to the American version, "Practice makes perfect." Nothing is perfect. The longer a person is on this planet, the more he or she realizes that it is a game of slight misses and imperfections, but miracles do happen.

Sure, it's good to dream big. But it's equally wise not to form unrealistic expectations and then be disappointed at less than optimum outcomes.

Preparing for my first "date" in 25 years, and as one of the 40 percent of Americans classified as "shy," I decided it would be a healthy distraction to take along some props. Mine was a tape measure I carried in my pocket. I had joked in our e-mails about Danish Americans' need for extraordinary personal space. While researching this topic, I discovered the following rules of thumb: acquaintance space, up to 8 feet; friend space, up to 4 feet; intimate space, up to 2 feet. That way, a person can gauge how they're doing based on comfortableness when inside those circles.

What would be my own comfort zone with Teri? We had developed such good rapport through miles of e-mails and rivers of phone calls that our immediate comfort zone, when we arrived at the Tamástslikt museum, put us within the friend/intimate range. Sure, there was no need to rush intimacy. Being close and comfortable, though, seemed natural from our first face-to-face meeting.

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