When I learned about personal space I thought about how that affected my own perceptions abroad of the people.
In Africa, I found the people so amazingly warm and hospitable. People would immediately treat you like a close friend. I didn’t have to wait any obligatory amount of time to get close to someone. People would immediately be open about their personal lives and confide in you like a close friend. It was so different from my experience in France where people had been very polite and there was firm rituals to observe in order not to offend anyone. The people I met had been very kind but I felt that I had to be very careful when talking to people.
In the US I feel that there’s a careful line to observe as well. It makes people uncomfortable to talk about things that are too personal right away or ask too probing of questions. It makes me very sad that people have to hide the best and the worst of themselves until someone takes the time to get to know them.
I think there’s an international difference in personal space, one that is not just physical but emotional.