Tag Archives: personal space in korean culture

The Koreans’ concept of personal space – why getting run over or bumped into is guaranteed in Korea

www.tastyoldcabbage.comWhen Koreans cut you off in line (especially by ajeemas, the older Korean ladies), hit you with their umbrella or don’t hold the door open for you then DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!

They do it to each other too.

Also, let’s pretend you have a problem with the ticket machine in the train station and you try to figure it out with the help of a train station guard. Be prepared to have all eyes on you. Koreans are not shy when it comes to staring. In this case (which happened to me) they will come up close, almost resting their chin on my shoulder, to listen and witeness the situation. At first I thought they would wanna help but… nope.. they just wanted to know what’s going on.

On a rainy day – watch out for those dangerous umbrellas.

Sometimes people here lack the awareness of space and would not pay attention to the others in the street. That’s exactly when I usually get hit by an umbrella 😉

Their concept of personal space and awareness of their surroundings are different from ours. This is because they live in a CRAZILY CROWDED country: worldpopulationreview.com states that “South Korea is known for its population density which is more than 10 times the global average.”
—– More than 10 times the global average (!!!) ——–

it’s not you – it’s just ‘the Korean way’

It happens to me here all the time that some Koreans bump into me, step on my foot, close the door in my face, hijack the seat on the crowded train that I already made an attempt to take over or cut the line at Daiso (famous Korean dollar store) pretending I wasn’t already putting my goods down for the casher to process… (that is when I am tempted to give them my best German stink eye)

Unbelievable things like that WILL happen to you and you WILL get frustrated, however, always keep in mind it’s not you, it’s just ‘the Korean way’.

You are one out of 49,158,901 in a country that is slightly larger than the U.S. state Indiana.

Good luck everyone with not getting the door slammed in your face 😉