australian culture and customs

find out how australians do things, how we see the world and the world sees us

5 hints on respecting personal space and touching

  1. Personal space

    Personal space (Photo credit: Allan Rostron)

    don’t stand too close to people, even friends. No closer than the distance from your elbow to the tip of your thumb is a good rule of thumb (good pun, eh?!)

  2. men do not hold hands with each other and this can make people believe you are gay
  3. when sitting next to someone on public transport, it is awkward to touch any part of their body with any part of your body so try not to, even your leg against their leg
  4. we don’t kiss people when we first meet them and often don’t, even when we know them well
  5. men usually shake hands when meeting new people and friends.  Women sometimes do, but not always, but they sometimes kiss on the cheek (only one side and only once).

6 comments on “5 hints on respecting personal space and touching

  1. Bill
    October 3, 2015

    I don’t know who wrote this. But the reason I’m here is because I’ve been dealing with Australians in large numbers these days. And my biggest pet peeve with them is that they do not respect personal space. Sometimes they nearly come within 2 inches of my face when talking to me. At first I might’ve thought it was just a mishap but it happens over and over and over. And it’s gross. So listen up from those down below… Please keep your distance!!

    • Helene Markmann
      October 4, 2015

      I wrote this – the blog author and I was born here some 49 years ago! While your experience is certainly quite imaginable, it is not polite. Having said that, younger men and teenagers, in my experience, often have a poor sense if personal space but I understand your annoyance. One country has many cultures and subcultures – my blog is about providing you with cultural norms. All the best, Helene.

      • Anonymous
        September 24, 2016

        It’s true Helene, I’ve been here for 5 months and even the older people don’t respect personal space… I’ve been pushed in a queue by much older, impatient people.

      • Helene Markmann
        September 24, 2016

        I believe you but I’m sorry to hear it.

  2. Anonymous
    September 24, 2016

    I’ve been living in Australia for 5 months now and most Aussies do not respect personal space. I’ve been pushed in a queue, breathed on and someone even reached over my head whilst standing on top of me in a store …
    I really don’t think many people follow the rules above. I really wish the would

    • Helene Markmann
      September 24, 2016

      Hmm, pushing and being breathed on are not polite. Did they stand on you?

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