Dealing with unwelcome touching

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Athnys, Sep 1, 2011.

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  1. Athnys

    Athnys Well-Known Member

    For a long time I've been subject to unwelcome touching. It makes me feel uncomfortable when a stranger or someone I'm not on a familiar basis with touches me in a non-sexual manner or forces me to accept a hug or kiss.

    It usually happens in social situations, and it's always a middle-aged or elderly woman. The touching has ranged from butt pats or butt squeezes, to tapping or patting my torso, back, legs, or shoulders. One woman whom I did not know at all thought it prudent to place both hands on my back and rub gently as she passed sideways behind me through a narrow corridor of tables and chairs. Another time when I went to get my father after his colonoscopy, his nurse took me by the elbow and led me like a horse to where he was waiting (you could never have told me before that how compelling it is to follow someone when they're tugging you by the elbow!).

    I've complained to people I do know about this, but they don't take me seriously, and it seems to be expected that, since I am a man and an adult, I should have no problem with it. I've been told that I'm overreacting. Yet growing up in school I was always taught that I had a right to resist unwelcome touching, and if it doesn't feel right, that it is definitely wrong.

    I feel like if I asked a person to not touch me in a social situation, it would be offensive to them and I'd be accused of causing a scene or being hypersensitive, so I say nothing. I know that unwelcome touch can legally constitute battery, but I think I'd make some people pretty mad in some situations if I filed for battery charges.

    I'm not a touching person, and I don't like being touched. I don't mind handshakes--I like shaking hands with people I meet or know. If I'm friends with someone, like say a girl, I'm very hesitant about how I touch them and I do very well to keep my hands to myself, even if certain kinds of platonic touch are welcome by them. I'll hug and kiss my mom, but that's because she's my mom.

    I'm also uncomfortable about strangers calling me names like "sweetie" or "honey." This most often happens in restaurants, but even in social situations or in college people have called me that.

    Does anyone have advice for dealing with this? I'm already a very nervous and shy person in social situations, but I don't want to be left out of all of them in order to avoid being touched in a way I don't like.
  2. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    I feel just the same. I generally have no problems being touched or touching my friends, and they've all learned to 'ask' me before they try to hug me, but I never think it's appropriate for strangers to touch, except a handshake when it's appropriate.

    Not too long ago a guy stopped me in town to ask directions. As I was talking to him (he was standing a respectable three feet or so away), his (older, male) friend caught up with him, and for no reason I can think of, put his hand on my shoulder! I didn't say a word, but the look on my face must have spoken for me as he backed off and apologised pretty quickly!

    The only time I will touch people I don't know is when I'm on a night out and they're drunk. Saying excuse me gets you nowhere with drunk people, so if I have to get close to get past I will put one hand on their shoulder to let them know I'm there. Unfortunately, drunk people don't care where their hands are, and I've been known to scream at guys who think it's ok to touch me. My friends don't get that, they think I should just ignore it, but to me it's completely and utterly unacceptable and they shouldn't get away with it.

  3. Illusion

    Illusion Well-Known Member

    I don't have any advice since I'm currently having an issue with unwelcome touching as well :| so sorry. Perhaps someone else will have some advice for you. I just wanted to tell you that I'm the same way. I don't even like hugs from people I do know much.. Makes me feel awkward & sometimes I get a little to 'happy'. :grr:

    I remember when people use to go around giving free hugs at school. I HATED THAT. Everyone would say I looked like I was gonna cry when they got done hugging me cause thats how embarrassed I get from a stranger hugging me. I don't like being called "sweetie", "hun", etc to much either in public. Online I'm alright with but face to face gets me a little to 'happy' as well. =___=
  4. UsedToBe

    UsedToBe Well-Known Member

    I really dislike being touched. I usually wait until I'm comfortable enough to firmly say that I'm not a touchy feely person. Until then I suffer in silence.
  5. Athnys

    Athnys Well-Known Member

    I think the hardest thing for me to accept is that I feel like I have to accept it. I'm a man, so it shouldn't bother me.

    If an older man gave a girl he didn't know a butt pat, I'm sure he'd regret it. If some old woman does it to me, it's harmless.
  6. Mr Stewart

    Mr Stewart Well-Known Member

    This is every day of my life.

    I wish I had advice. I wish I could help. All I know to do is to take control over my facial muscles and breathing and do my best not to flinch. Sometimes I can't stop it. People react with such hurt looks when I slightly recoil away from them. Don't twitch, don't flinch, don't frown when the appropriate response is to smile. Don't stare down in horror at a hand extended for the purpose of friendly shaking. That is what I tell myself. I don't want to live this way but I don't know what else to do.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2011
  7. Growing Pains

    Growing Pains Well-Known Member

    I'm the same way. I don't even like being touched by people I do know. Generally, what I do, is pull away. I guess that's not a solution for everyone, though, because like mr stewart said, they react with hurt expressions. It honestly doesn't bother me much, but I can see where it might bother someone else. People who know me know that I don't like being touched and I guess I'm lucky in that most of them respect that. I have one acquaintance (who seems to think we're closer than we are for some god-awful reason) that will even ask for a hug rather than initiate one. If I say yeah, we give a "half hug". If I say no, he drops the subject. I once recoiled from my own sister for trying to touch my shoulder. I just don't like being touched. In my mind, I have this "bubble" around me and when people invade it, I back away. When it's strangers, I don't even hesitate to show them I'm testy. Outright touching a strangers shoulder (or any other part of their body), to me, is just rude. And yeah, if it were an older man touching a woman's butt... I'm completely sure he'd regret it.
  8. Sais

    Sais Well-Known Member

    I just say "stay there please". Sometimes it comes even without thinking it.
    And then it has something of a disgust sound(when those are people who
    I DO NOT like anywhere near, in any way, but they like to pretend we
    like each other and so we can pretend we are good old friends..)
    Simple. You just say, I don't want you to touch me now, if they
    don't understand you explain, but if, after that, they still have that
    "Oh how weird" look on their faces,
    I'd say fuck off (out loud or to myself), and I'd leave, because they're not worth it.

    That's how I deal with it, but I don't particulary.. like people most of the times.
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