The results from two empirical studies of human–robot interaction are presented. The first study involved the subject approaching the static robot and the robot approaching the standing subject. In these trials a small majority of subjects preferred a distance corresponding to the ‘personal zone’ typically used by humans when talking to friends. However, a large minority of subjects got significantly closer, suggesting that they treated the robot differently from a person, and possibly did not view the robot as a social being. The second study involved a scenario where the robot fetched an object that the seated subject had requested, arriving from different approach directions. The results of this second trial indicated that most subjects disliked a frontal approach. Most subjects preferred to be approached from either the left or right side, with a small overall preference for a right approach by the robot. Implications for future work are discussed.