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No Sense of Personal Space

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Some people can be very friendly. Very, very uncomfortably friendly.

It isn't just that they tend to stand too close when they're talking to people—it's that they're practically on them. You may even be complete strangers, but that doesn't stop them from hanging off of you and breathing your CO2 during the conversation, whether you like it or not. It doesn't help that they tend to get... er, grabby.

Somebody with No Sense of Personal Space may keep their targets of uncomfortable closeness down to one person, or they might be like this with everyone. The character might be a Cloudcuckoolander that just doesn't know better, or they may just really, really like you (or everyone), and just don't let some bothersome "social etiquette" get in the way of it. They may be a villain showing their authority over a captive or a creepy Abhorrent Admirer who doesn't care about personal boundaries. Then again, they just might be trying to get you riled up for shits and giggles. This tendency usually comes with inappropriate uses of First-Name Basis.

Anime characters with No Sense of Personal Space love to implement The Glomp as their favored tactic. For best results, have them latch onto someone that Hates Being Touched. It can also be a good source of Ho Yay, Foe Romance Subtext, or Les Yay. Depending on the context, this behavior may get a character labeled a Memetic Molester by the fandom. Compare Cuddle Bug.

Not to be confused with the Personal Space Invader, which deals with grabby Mooks in video games.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF has this trope of how Erma and her later best friend, Toki, first interacted. When Erma first bunked with Toki, that mouse had some bad habits like leaving the bathroom messy and barging in for frivolous reasons when Erma was using it. However, the last straw is when Toki's feline lover visits that night for sex and Erma is kept awake first with the thumping on the above bunk and the smell of the aftermath. Eventually, the two work out their differences.
  • In Generation Zero, Cloud has uncontrolled telepathic abilities that grant her an intimate view into the mind of anyone she meets. Consequently, she assumes that she is intimate with everyone; when she first meets Keisha, she embraces and kisses her.
  • Examples from Supergirl stories:
    • In Supergirl Vol 2 Linda Danvers' friend Joan doesn't get the concept. Two seconds after her first meeting Joan grabs Linda's hand and drags her along.
    • Bizarrogirl: Unsurprisingly, the titular Bizarro character does not get the concept. During their trip back to Bizarro World, Bizarrogirl scares Supergirl to death when all of sudden she’s behind her and leaning past her shoulder.
  • In Superman/Supergirl story Krypton No More, Clark Kent's co-worker Terri invades his personal space and clings to him as soon as she sees him.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Draska Nishiki uses her very intentional invasion of personal space to exert dominance over her targets like Gen. Darnell and Steve Trevor. She likes to sit on people's desks or otherwise give herself a perch that makes her closer than they'd like while also allowing her to loom over them.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • This comic features Nardo from The Old Country, who even has to be told to keep his hands out of Dilbert's pockets.
    • Dogbert discusses cultural concepts of personal space in Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless. In America, you're allowed just inside the "Bad Breath Zone". In Italy, you can get inside the other person's clothes. In Australia, any distance is too damn close.
      Dot on Horizon: Hey! Can we talk!?
      Australian: [to himself] Tourist.

    Films — Animation 
  • 9:
    • The twins very much fall under this category, seeing as their first order of business following their appearance was to start messing with the main character's easy access portal to his internal organs. Well, sackcloth-doll organs. Still, nobody wants a pair of busybodies monkeying around with their insides.
    • 5 also falls under this category.
  • Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast towards Belle. In fact, Disney Villains in general seem incapable of staying out of the main character's personal space.
  • Sid from Ice Age fits very well in this trope.
  • Madagascar:
    • King Julian.
    • Also Mort, especially when it involves Julian's feet.
  • As pointed out in the director's commentary, the Robinson family in Meet the Robinsons frequently get in the face of the more reserved Lewis. It's most noticable with Uncle Gaston, who leans over Lewis to the point where Lewis has to turn his head straight up to face him.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, the Dazzlings stroke seemingly everyone in the cafeteria during "Let's Have a Battle".
    • Photo Finish in the short Photo Finished has absolutely no concern for the personal space of her chosen subjects, to the point that they complain about it to vice principal Luna. When Luna brings this up to Photo Finish, she becomes the crazy photographer's next subject.
  • Anago in Padak has little respect for the titular protagonists' personal space, invading it whenever possible to rile her up or when questioning her motivations and beliefs.
  • Colette from Ratatouille thinks that the only reason Linguini's personal space exists is so that she can invade it. Sure, she was doing it to intimidate him, but one can't help but think that she does it for enjoyment with how often it happens.
  • The eponymous character in Tarzan, as a result of being raised with no human contact.
    Professor Porter: Oh, Janie Jane! What an amazing discovery! A man with no language, no human behavior...
    Jane Porter: And no respect for personal boundaries.
    Professor Porter: How do you mean?
    Jane Porter: [gets extremely close to Professor Porter] He was this close to me, daddy, just staring at me!
  • Treasure Planet: BEN. "I just wanna hug ya and squeeze ya and hold ya close to me!" Much to the dismay of Jim Hawkins.
    Jim: You have to stop touching me.
  • Mebh from Wolfwalkers is a Wild Child who lives in the woods with only her mother and wolves for company, so the concept of personal space doesn't occur to her. She climbs all over Robyn when she first brings her to the den, including biting Robyn's hair and sniffing her armpit. She isn't much better as a wolf.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beetlejuice: Betelgeuse does this with anyone — living or dead.
  • Borat takes this to an extreme, even sprinting after people to get in their faces.
  • Beldar and other Remulaks in Coneheads often exhibit behavior like this, being aliens.
  • The Force Awakens:
    • Finn. Some of it is probably because he has a crush on Rey (such as when he grabs her hand while they're fleeing a bombing run), but other times it's clear he just really does have no sense of personal space, possibly due to being raised from birth to be a stormtrooper. At one point when he's trying to see out a high window, he uses Rey's forehead to brace his hand simply because it's the most convenient thing around.
    • Kylo Ren towards Rey, too, especially in the interrogation scene. He gets creepily intimate with her, leaning close to her face and speaking softly. Another sign of his Villainous Crush on Rey.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Voldemort. When he steals the Elder Wand in Deathly Hallows, Part 1, he's face to face with the dead Dumbledore. They'd be touching noses, if he had a nose. Part 2 didn't let up—after Harry's Disney Death, he offers the Hogwarts students and defenders a chance to join the ranks of the Death Eaters. Draco crosses the field to get to his parents, and Voldemort hugs him. Or tries to, anyway; he clearly has no idea what he's doing.
    • Several Death Eaters have this problem in the films; Snape gets uncomfortably close to Harry at times and both Scabior and Bellatrix have some rather suggestive moments with Hermione in Deathly Hallows, Part 1.
    • In Halfblood Prince, Bellatrix gets all up in both Snape and her sister Narcissa’s space while performing the unbreakable vow. She also gives her nephew Draco a not very aunt-like kiss on the neck when she gets to Hogwarts towards the end. Unlike his mom, he’s freaked out by it.
  • The Knowledge: Mr Burgess "The Vampire" regularly invades the personal space of the candidates during their appearances, as one of the many things he does to make them uncomfortable.
  • Life as a House: Multiple characters seem to have no sense of boundaries. Alyssa gets into the shower while Sam is inside. George showers outdoors and urinates in view of his neighbors. The shack he lives in has no separate enclosure for the toilet, which Sam complains about.
  • Leon features Gary Oldman as Stansfield, who has "a talent for sniffing out a lie", interrogating Mathilda's father while sniffing him and invading his personal space.note  He later does the same with Mathilda.
  • One of the aspects in the 2003 adaptation of Peter Pan that really creeped out some reviewers was Hook's complete lack of personal space with both Peter and Wendy. The fact that he's an adult obsessed with killing a child (later multiple children) did not help. Jason Isaacs has described that in interviews as having been incredibly uncomfortable to portray.
  • Vanheden from the Swedish Jönssonligan movies acts like this toward his fellow gang members from time to time, especially his leader Sickan. This ranges from patting Sickan on the cheek seconds after the latter has gotten out of jail, to suddenly grabbing him by the shoulders and guiding/pushing him to locations or objects just a few meters away, to practically standing on him in public even when there's plenty of room around them. Vanheden also sees no issue with slapping Harry (his cousin) on the butt even though Harry doesn't like it at all.
  • In Pitch Perfect, Chloe has no problem bursting in on Beca during her shower while both are naked. She also gets up in her face (in an overly-friendly way) at a party later. Word of God is she was written as a "close talker".
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean there doesn't seem to be any place more comfy and hospitable for pirates to hang out than your territorial bubble, and no pirate likes it better than Captain Jack. In the third film, Jack actually manages to invade his own personal space.
  • David from The Watcher just loves to find any excuse he can to hug and touch Joel.

  • Clockpunk and the Vitalizer: The Vitalizer has no qualms about getting in Clockpunk's face. It's half unsettling, half breathtaking.
  • The Ayakas in Girls Kingdom happily invade anyone and everyone's personal space, seemingly because they can. This goes up to and including outright groping other girls' chests and butts. In fact, their short character profiles at the beginning of each book says that Music Ayaka likes to harass younger students and Flower Ayaka likes to molest younger students, and in the story itself, most characters take the Ayakas' molestations in stride because they're so used to it by now.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Snape isn't quite as bad about this in the books, but his standard "interrogating a pupil" technique seems to be "get right in their personal space". Snape does this deliberately, however, as he is attempting to make students as unnerved as possible so it is easy to read their minds.
    • Wormtail made Harry and Hermione uncomfortable in the third book when he tried to thank them by throwing his arms around their legs.
  • The Maze Runner: Brenda just can't keep her hands off Thomas from the moment they meet in The Scorch Trials, and claims that this kind of behavior is normal where she comes from when he calls her out on it.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: As in the TV series, Littlefinger, Catelyn Stark's Unlucky Childhood Friend acts this way towards Catelyn's daughter Sansa. It's to an even greater degree than his television counterpart, where he leans in really close whenever he talks to her. In the books, he's literally stroking her face and playing with her hair on first meeting her. It just gets worse from there...
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Count Olaf; most frequent target: Violet. Other targets: Klaus, Sunny, Aunt Josephine, etc., etc.
  • Christine Rhoades from Spectral Shadows can be this sometimes... like when she pounces on the shy, geeky squirrel girl Kacey. Given that Kacey has a lot of her squirrel traits intact, so this doesn't go over well.

  • Tuatha from The Fallen Gods. According to her player Jake, the only way to get uncomfortably close to her is if someone magically goes inside or through her body.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Goldust is known for startling people breathing on them, which is usually preceded by them discovering he is uncomfortably close by or him simply walking up inappropriately close to someone he wants the attention of.
  • Giant Singh/The Great Khali likes to intimidate shorter people in the locker room by standing with his stomach very close to their faces.
  • Part of the reason MsChif unnerves many wrestlers when combined with a deceptively quick and light step, which leads to her popping up unexpectedly and uncomfortably close in the locker room. Though happening upon her by surprise beats the alternative.
  • Concerning this trope, Winter is like MsChif's Evil Counterpart. Where Chif is an inquisitive fey who simply has trouble not being creepy Winter is a bisexual predator obsessed with making people bleed. Where Chif is quick and quiet by nature, Winter climbs and crawls around locker rooms for the sole purpose of startling and unnerving people with her suddenly very close appearances.
  • Greg Excellent of Ground Breaking and CZW, once having annoyed his boss Maven Bentley by trying to have a very up close conversation with him while Bentley was in the bathroom trying to use a urinal.
  • Marty "The Moth" Martinez of Lucha Underground, especially around ring announcer Melissa Santos.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Ciro, as a result of being a paternal older brother, has a habit of being touchy-feely even with people he isn't related to, whether it's a subtle pat on the shoulder or an Affectionate Gesture to the Head.
    • Jemimah is boisterous and highly extroverted and shows this by practically throwing herself against other people and invading their space with willful abandon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Necromunda: The background material for the 3rd Edition Hired Gun Yolanda Skorn mentions that a number of gang leaders who have employed the crazy Bounty Hunter had to end their contract after being unnerved at finding her staring at them from a few inches away when they woke-up.

  • In Pokémon Live!, Giovanni and Ash get up close and personal in "You Just Can't Win".

    Web Original 
  • Donnie DuPre from Demo Reel really likes to cuddle, especially with other guys. The family who kidnaps him and touches him a lot while keeping him drugged are a much creepier take.
  • Magnus of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device gets very close to Kitten when trying to convert him to his cause, to the point that Kitten gets uncomfortable.
  • Mirai Nikki The Abridged Series: Yuno. She is Yukiteru's personal space.


Pinkie Pie

She's never even heard of personal space.

How well does it match the trope?

4.38 (13 votes)

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Main / NoSenseOfPersonalSpace

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