Personal Bubble and Comfort Zone


How do you feel when a stranger sits beside you on the bus? What about when somebody stands so close that you can feel his or her breath? If this makes you feel uncomfortable, you could say that this person has entered your ‘personal bubble.’ This is an area of space around you that you consider yours. You don’t want others to occupy that space, unless you are intimate with them. The size of a personal bubble varies from culture to culture. Americans like to have 1.2 meters between themselves when talking to each other, but Japanese or Indians might still be comfortable with half the space. That is because Japan and India have much higher population densities so people are used to being closer together.


Although the expressions sound similar, a ‘comfort zone’ is not exactly the same as a personal bubble. Your comfort zone is an area or situation in which you feel comfortable, for example in your home or with your friends. The opposite is a danger zone, where you feel the most stress, such as while giving a speech. It is interesting to note that humans are the most successful when they are in between the comfort zone and the danger zone. A little bit of danger or stress pushes us to try new things.


Vocabulary 好字精選

1. bubble (n) an air filled space with a liquid/invisible shell  氣泡
Sage loves to blow bubbles in the park.        

2. zone (n) area  區域
This is a school zone; please drive slowly.    

3. stranger (n) someone you don’t know  陌生人
Many kids are taught not to accept candy from strangers.

4. occupy (v) take up an area  佔領,佔據
The office building occupies one entire side of the street.

5. intimate (adj) close (romantically or just friends)  親密的(友人/情人)
Malinda and Bryan have been intimate friends since junior high.
Malinda 和Bryan從國中時就一直是好朋友。

Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析

1. sth + vary from A to A (sentence pattern) something is different in each A  不同於A
Taste in food varies from country to country.

2. population density (expression) the number of people per square km in an area  人口密度
Taiwan has one of the highest population densities in the world.  

3. S + be + used to + Ving (sentence pattern) S has the habit of or is familiar with doing something  習慣於
Laney is used to saying goodbye to friends because her family moves a lot. 
Laney 已經習慣於和朋友道別,因為她和她的家人常常搬家。

4. it is adj to note that (sentence pattern) it is adj for us to point out that  要注意…
It is scary to note that last year was the hottest year on record.

Exercise 課後練習題

1. Sammy knew somebody was under the water because he saw lots of ____________ coming to the surface.

2. You can’t throw the ball from this _______________ during the game.

3. Little Lisa feels nervous around ______________.

4. The church ______________ a large piece of land just outside the city.

5. How long have you been _____________ with her for?

6. Music preferences______________ person to person.

7. The _______________ of Taiwan is 650 people per square kilometer. In Canada, the number is only 3.7 per square kilometer.

8. Tim has been backpacking a lot so he is ____________ experiencing new customs.

9. It is amazing ____________ the earth is traveling around the sun at a speed of 30km/second.

1. bubbles
2. zone
3. strangers
4. occupies
5. intimate
6. vary from
7. population density
8. used to
9. to note that

Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解

1. According to the article, at what distance from each other do Japanese feel comfortable having a conversation?
a. 30 centimeters
b. 60 centimeters
c. 120 centimeters
d. 240 centimeters

2. Amanda feels really nervous in the schoolyard because she is not used to playing with children of different ages. You could say that the schoolyard is her ________________.
a. Personal bubble.
b. Comfort zone.
c. Danger zone.
d. Area in between comfort and danger zone.

1. 根據文章描述,人與人之間的距離要保持多遠才會讓日本人覺得自在?
a. 30公分
b. 60公分
c. 120公分
d. 240公分

2. Amanda 覺得在學校遊樂場玩是一件很緊張的事,因為她不習慣和不同年齡的小朋友一起玩。你可以說學校遊樂場是她的危險區。
a. 個人空間
b. 舒適圈
c. 危險區
d. 介於舒適圈和危險區之間



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