Countries that greatly value their personal space include Romania, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Uganda. Participants from all five of those places would prefer it if you stood more than 120 cm away, or roughly four feet. But participants from Argentina, Peru, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Austria don’t mind if you chill about 90 cm away, or less than three feet. The U.S. isn’t too far off from that, expecting strangers to keep a cool 95 cm distance between them.
That said, nobody likes any stranger standing two and half feet or less away. So stop it. Unless you’re on a cramped metro train or something and can’t help it. It’s also important to note that women and elderly participants of all cultures required more space.
As expected, knowing somebody closes the gap for most cultures, especially if you know them pretty well. Norwegian participants, for example, get up close and personal with those they consider to be dear friends. Same goes for Germany and Romania. Saudi Arabian participants, on the other hand, said they like to keep their distance even with their best friends. The researchers suggest climate may have something to do with these differences. For instance, they found participants in colder countries were more than happy to cozy up with their close friends, maybe in an effort to keep warm.