Open LettersAn Open Letter to People Who Stand Too CloseAnnie Stamell

Dear People Who Stand Too Close,

Excuse me sir or madam, but I am not sure you understand exactly what it is you are doing! You are standing much too close!

You might be surprised to hear me say this, because you probably think I don’t notice how close you really are standing and that’s because, at this very moment, YOU don’t realize it! That’s the worst thing about People Who Stand Too Close! You are so caught in your own head and your desire to get to the front of the line, you then get this weird magnetic pull that puts you way too close to me. I’m convinced that most of you people aren’t even aware of what you are doing.

And the ones who are aware are just the biggest jerks in the world.

Ugh. I don’t even need to see you! I can FEEL you behind me. Forget what I said before – that’s the worst thing about People Who Stand So Close! It’s like, hey, we’re both in line here for whatever it is that people stand in lines for like Comic Con or In N Out Burger or a Rob Lowe book signing (do people stand in line for Rob Lowe? I feel like he’s the kind of guy people would stand in line for), and I can’t do anything about my place in line and you can’t do anything about your place in line because we’re just really cogs in the machine that only move forward when a slot opens for us. So then your slow advance into my personal bubble is not only not cool but it’s going to be nothing short of completely ineffective in getting you any closer to Rob Lowe. You’ll get closer to Rob Lowe when the bro in front of me is finished with his turn and it’s my turn, and then when I am finished with my turn, and then it is your turn and then, and only then, you can go and stand too close to Rob Lowe.

Sometimes when I’m feeling like I’m having a really good day – like, you know, if I am on (and you know that great feeling when you are on, it’s just like, you have so much piss and vinegar in you at that moment you feel like you’re pretty much the greatest human being alive like better than Chuck Norris but also his best friend and also you have a pet unicorn or something sick like that), then I will do everything I can to alert you to the fact that you are standing much too close.

Maybe we’ll be in line for one of those other things people stand in lines for, like the express lane at the grocery store or to get on that creepy It’s A Small World ride at Disneyland or like, the ladies room, and then if I feel you getting up in my personal space then I will just make a nice big old melodramatic physical show of the fact that I am standing in front of you in this line and you need to back off! It’s going to look a lot like I am doing an interpretive dance about a territorial lioness guarding her home. You are standing too close, this is my spot in line, and you need to give me some personal space, you weirdo!

The only thing worse than People Who Stand Too Close is People Who Stand Too Close in Line at the DMV and if I am ever faced with one of these people, I can’t be blamed if the end result of this encounter should be… something that rhymes with “schmurder.”

Sincere Regards,



people standing too close in line image via ShutterStock

  • Meredith Barrett

    Yes to this. Entirely yes.

  • Rebecca Lynn

    Yes! It’s like they never saw Dirty Dancing. My space; your space. And what’s worse still? People Who Stand Too Close Then Move Closer or Lean In When I Step Back.

  • Sarah Mihalus

    I recently had one of the encounters while standing in line for concessions at a movie theater. This girl took violating my personal space to the next level because she was touhcing my BOTTOM, she was standing so close. To make matters worse I had to listen to her trying to convince her boyfriend to see the Twilight movie marathon the next day.

  • Steve Maes

    The worse personel space invaders are the people that buzz in and stand behind me at an ATM.

  • Amy Waterhouse-Carter

    I cannot agree enough with this. Space invaders are one of the many banes of my life and they need to realise that standing closer to the person in front does not make the line go quicker, nor will people be tempted to cut if you stand another 8-10 inches away. I recently had to endure standing at a bus stop while a man literally walked in circles around me. It took all my will power not to shout “what the hell is wrong with you?!?”

  • Maren Guckelsberger

    Ugh. I totally agree! These people are so annoying :-//

  • Caroline Fennell

    At last, someone who understands my pain! I like to try the casual backwards step with hopefully a trodden on toe. Back up people any closer and you’ll have to buy me dinner

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