Skip Nav
50 States of Weddings: See What "I Do" Looks Like in Every State
Your Guide to Traveling With Sex Toys (Don't Worry, Yours Won't Be the First TSA's Seen)
It Took Me Years to Report My Sexual Assault, but My Story Still Matters

DEARSUGAR NEEDS YOUR HELP: Please Respect My Public Space

DEARSUGAR and Anal Annabelle need your help. Is it alright to confront someone who is oblivious to infringing on your personal space when you are both travelling on mass transit? They are really making your travel experience unpleasant, but they are total strangers. What do you think?

Dear Sugar
I have to travel often for work and so I’ve come to accept having to share close quarters with strangers on airplanes and trains. Most people are respectful of your personal space because they want you to be respectful of theirs; but every once and again you get stuck next to someone who has no concept whatsoever of common courtesy.

For example on my most recent travel adventure I was seated about an inch and a half away from a rather bulky, muscle-y guy on a seven hour flight who had no sense of spacial relations. He conveniently used both armrests, chewed and popped his gum loudly for hour stretches at a time, and listened to blaring music on his headphones. Even worse he sat with he legs parted so that they would often drift into my seat area and we would constantly and awkwardly skim each other’s thighs.

I definitely know that I have a low tolerance for people like this, but I was really going nuts. I was constantly checking my watch and the seven hour flight seemed like seventeen hours. What’s the protocol on public misconduct? Do I have the right to say something to him about his behavior or will it make me look like an over-anxious and irrational psycho? Anal Annabelle

Join The Conversation
Toronado Toronado 10 years
I just move. I'm not the type to let some idiot get me all worked up. Why give such a damn about a total stranger?
JennaV JennaV 10 years
GRRRRR!!!! I need my personal space!!!! No matter if I am on the plane or in line at the grocery store (if someone gets too close to me in line, I innocently stretch my arms until they back off :evil:). If I am a passenger on a plane, **hopefully** I get the window seat and I just put my ipod on (when we reach cruise altitude of course ;) ) and go to sleep all curled up, with my back to my seatmate.
fat-kat fat-kat 10 years
You paid for your space now take your space. You have a right as a passenger not to except this behavior. Let the stewardess know what is going on because if you feel uncomfortable it is their job to make your travel with them pleasing. You can say something to the other passenger in a nice way. Remember you paid you money now get what you are suppose to out of your trip.
XoticBunny XoticBunny 10 years
that's a really good idea Valeri!! i will definitely do that next time when my private space is invaded.. --------------------------------------------- ~Love makes you do crazy things!~
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 10 years
That's a good one Val.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
fake sneeze/cough/wheeze. ask flight attendant for a barf bag and say repeatedly "is it hot in here. god i'm sweating like a pig. uh it's SO hot". fear of air born virus kooties will save you! no one wants em, bahahahaha!
la_clique la_clique 10 years
hmmm, the confined area is tougher, but if I'm in a mood I will just let er rip. But nicely, of course. :EVIL: Last flight I was on, the guy next to me was HUGE (not obese, just a large man). So, he had me kinda crammed to the window, but it wasn't his fault. But it still sucked to me me :D
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
la_clique, I could do that, if I were at a concert, and actually have done it. (Your right the innocent look always works! LOL) :) But, I couldn't do it on an airplane or train. :(
la_clique la_clique 10 years
I'm with Nicadema. I ask nicely,usually several times (I am Southern, we don't do rude easily) then I get crafty. I perfected the "elbow dance" complete with foot stomp/kick during college parties. I taught it to all my friends. A few well placed nudges and and kicks and throught clearings can go a long way. Paired first with an innocent look, if that doesn't work a glare. Gotta stand up for your personal space!
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
Wow Nicadema, I wish I had your nerve. When I'm in these situations, and it is a stranger, I usually just scream silently in my head. If I know the person, I ask them politely to move.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
Speak up! Ask politely the first time then after that let them know they are in your space. You paid for that space and even if it is small it is your space. If the flight isn't full get up and move. I used to do that all the time and usually I would end up with the entire row to myself! I travel extensively as well and I remember one flight where I got stuck next to a guy that had the middle seat and kept bugging me to switch with him. I told him I went on-line and switched to this seat so there is no way was giving it up so please stop asking me. I was short with him but he got the point.
Nicadema Nicadema 10 years
LOL Oh boy, my advice may only work if you are like me. As I've grown older, I find that I have less and less tolerance for social stupidity. I am the person in line at the market who will tell someone being rude and loud talking on a cell phone for all to hear--to get some common courtesy and get off--no one wants to hear their personal conversation. So--travel? If someone is trying to bully their way into my space--they pay the price. Taking over my armrest? An "accidental" elbow. Legs spread and touching my leg--a hard shove with my leg to establish my space. I may even bring my foot down on theirs...another "accident". If these openers don't work--I get verbal and blunt. Usually my physical "hints" work just fine. The world is full of inconsiderate self centered bullies. Often they are just trying to get away with what they can--relying on other people not to speak up and be complacent. I don't do complacent.
How Lemon Water Affects Sex Drive
#IBelieveYou Supports Sexual Assault Victims (Video)
Male Birth Control | Video
Bald Bride's Wedding Photos (Video)
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds