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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Need help communicating disinterest and boundaries for social touching?

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Author Topic: Need help communicating disinterest and boundaries for social touching?
Member # 67683

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Hey everybody,

Just having a situation I would really appreciate some feedback on.

I recently started a new job--it's been really great! It's in a field I adore, working with friendly people in a welcoming environment. I'm stuper-stoked to get started working. Plus a lot of new hires are from abroad so I get enjoy a lot of cross-cultural communication and conversations. Overall my experience has been very positive.

However I need some help with some things. First and foremost, there's a guy making passes at me that I don't appreciate. Aside from the fact that this guy is about nine years my elder, from a different country (I don't want a relationship that's guaranteed to last only a few months) I'm sincerely not attracted to him. I'm only nineteen and have never dated/been in a relationship. And I'm a geek. Guys don't really hit on me and it took me a few days to realize this guy might be doing just that, and I wish he wouldn't. He hasn't explicitly asked me out, but I'm getting a vibe that I don't reciprocate.

How do I deal with this? I'm not even sure how to initiate it...

Also related to this is communicating boundaries for social touching. How do I tell people not to, say, put their arm around my shoulders or hold my wrist when they're talking? He tried that last one and I really didn't know what to do.

It's also confusing because with a different guy I work with I have no problem greeting him with a friendly hug, or those social shoulder/arm taps people give during conversation from other people. When the guy in question does it, it just feels janky, you know what I mean?

I realize I could just be like, "Hey, please don't put your arm around my shoulder." But I worry about sounding clunky or stuttering.

Yeah...any advice would be really appreciated. I'd be glad to clarify anything.

I'm the youngest person in this new job; everyone else is in their mid-twenties, so maybe that's why I'm having trouble navigating this situation.


Posts: 9 | Registered: Jun 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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"I'm not comfortable with the way you're touching me," pretty much works at work, at home, out and just about any social situation. And when we say that, that person should stop and shouldn't repeat it.

Might it sound clunky? I guess it could, but does it matter? What you want is for the touching to stop, yes? So all you need from what you say is to achieve that with some grace. And saying something like that is fine.

That said, one of the iffy things in work settings is that if we do let some co-workers get pretty touchy, but not others, it can send mixed messages. So, if you're asking for a big divide here, you might want to set better boundaries with everyone, not just this dude.

Congrats on your new gig, btw! [Smile]

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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