Personal space

by Michelle Fortes

All human beings have a sense of personal space around them and when this is violated they are much more likely to become aggressive. Conversely, if someone invades your space, it is a good indication that they are becoming aggressive and you need to back off.

Defusing Techniques 

• Diverting: refocus attention on a different subject or on note taking 

• Distracting: “What was that?” “That’s the police” etc. Needs to be convincing 

• Appearing calm and efficient 

• Controlling your own emotions 

• Showing non-aggressive behaviour 

• Actively listening, paraphrasing and empathizing 

• Trying to identify what the frustrated wish is and solving it if you can 

• Pointing out possible problems for them 

• Giving them information 

• Asking them to stop 

• Perhaps sitting down 

• Maybe consider humour, but be careful, not against the person. Perhaps a warm smile and 

cajoling words might help, particularly if you know the person 

• If all else fails, get out, walk quickly or run if you have to!

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