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Topic of personal space and its changing landscape surfaces amid Biden accusations

Posted at 3:08 PM, Apr 04, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden issued spoke out publicly, as more women came forward, claiming interactions with him made them uncomfortable.

In his career, Biden says he's always tried to make a human connection.

"I shake hands. I hug people. I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, ‘You can do this,’" he said.

However, the former vice president acknowledged social norms have begun to change and personal boundaries have been reset.

“And I get it. I get it. I hear what they're saying, I understand it, and I’ll be much more mindful,” Biden expressed. “That's my responsibility. My responsibility and I’ll meet it.”

Dr. Bud Bilanich, with the University of Denver, says in the late 60s and early 70s, when Biden started his career, the landscape was much different.

According to, average comfort levels of personal space distance in the U.S. are approximately:

  • 0 to 20 inches for intimate couples
  • 1 1/2 feet to 3 feet for good friends and family members
  • Approximately 3 feet to 10 feet for casual acquaintances and coworkers
  • More than 4 feet for strangers
  • More than 12 feet for speaking to a large group.

Biden promised to be more respectful of people's personal space.

“The idea that I can't adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it's ever been, is just not thinkable. I will, I will,” Biden promised.