Nothing Personal, I Just Don’t Want to Sit Next to You

June 28, 2012 | By | Comments (0)

We could all use a little extra legroom. But is it rude to move away from a seat mate to get some? “I have witnessed this behavior frequently and can’t tell which category it falls into,” wrote a reader named Caitlin.

“When the bus or train is packed full, every seat is taken. But when a good number of people get off, is it polite to move in order to give your seatmate more space to himself?” Caitlin wrote. “Or does it send a bad signal, such as ‘You are disgusting, and I must move immediately so I don’t have to be near you?'”

It’s perfectly OK to move. Nobody is going to be offended about having more space. I observe and participate in this behavior frequently on the subways in New York City and have never seen anyone look askance. Your seatmate will notice the move, of course, and will wonder briefly if it’s personal. But don’t worry about it – he or she will immediately forget and appreciate the extra space.

(image via