6

Background

I'm a 14-year old female and I've been friends with this specific girl for about 9 months. She has been really 'touchy-feely' with me for the past month. I'm the type of person that doesn't really enjoy skinship, but because I dote on this friend of mine, I just shook it off. I know the fact that she tends to hug people a lot, but it seems a bit different with me.

Problem

She tends to be touchy with me more than what a 'normal friend' would. She do things like what an over-protective girlfriend would do to her boyfriend (Hold hands, Lock arms, Blow kisses).

My best friend who I have been friends with for 7 years doesn't really do physical intimacy that much but this 9-months girl have stepped over the boundaries sometimes. She said that she used to be bisexual but has become straight; however, all my friends say that she probably has feelings for me. This has been bothering me for quite some time now...

Question

I don't want to break our friendship. How can I tell her that I'm not comfortable with the physical contact she is initiating? :(

Note

  • I'm Straight
  • I'm uncomfortable with physical intimacy
  • The girl used to be bisexual
16

We can't really tell you what it means, as she's the only one who is going to know that for sure. Maybe she's just a very affectionate person. Maybe she does have deeper feelings for you. The only person who knows that is her. So if you want to know about what her actions mean, it's likely that you're going to have to have a conversation with her about that.

That said, it seems like the real issue might be that you're not comfortable with the affection/physical contact, and that's making you unhappy. I'd strongly suggest trying to talk to your friend. Let her know that she's more physical than you're comfortable with. It's okay and healthy to draw these sorts of boundaries - friendship means that everyone should be comfortable and feel safe and such. So I think that the best approach at this point might be a couple of uncomfortable seeming conversations to figure out what is going on, and drawing some clearer boundaries about what you're personally okay with.

Ultimately, the why of it is less immediately important than the fact that she's doing something that you don't like. It's important that you let her know, as she might not realize that your comfort level with physicality doesn't match hers. So the best advice I can give is be ready to have an open conversation with her. I'd avoid accusing her of anything in terms of crushes or wanting a relationship with you - in fact, I'd avoid all discussion of anything beyond friendship at this point.

I'd just approach her when you can, away from everyone else so it doesn't end up being a big scene, and let her know that you're not comfortable with the hugs or locking arms or whatever it is, and also let her know what things you are comfortable with.

I'm someone who is naturally very affectionate, so I often ask friends if hugs etc are okay before I do them, but I'm also an adult who has had a lot more practice with this stuff. I used to be bad for assuming since I was comfortable with hugs and stuff, everyone else should be too. It took a few friends having the sorts of conversations I suggest before I really caught on - perhaps your new friend is like that too.

5

The other answers seem good, but to add one more dimension: You're at a time of life when people tend to try out different behaviours ways of being, what psychologists call identity exploration. (This is one reason why your friend might say she "used to" be bisexual — the current understanding is that sexual orientation doesn't keep shifting.) It's natural that your friends will experiment with different levels of affection, different ways of showing it, and different targets.

During this time, it's important to give unambiguous feedback about whether a behaviour is appreciated. The person honestly may not realize or pick up on the signals you're trying to give, and words like "weird" are too vague. (Don't the movies tell us that weird can be good?)

When I was just starting high school, I was also overly affectionate. One day a teacher quietly pointed it out to me, explaining the importance of making sure other people are equally into it, and simply to check on others' boundaries. That certainly made me change! It helped that this message came from a trusted adult, but it would also have made sense from a trusted friend. It didn't put an early stop to identity exploration and boundary-testing throughout high school, but it was the right move then and I didn't forget it.

Sometimes the message is hard to accept, so consider giving it gently and stressing that this isn't a reflection of not wanting to be friends. On the other hand, sometimes a gentle signal is also not a strong enough signal, in which case I think DDD's solution of temporary avoidance is a good one. When you're exposed to a person you like every day it can be hard to do the emotional work of deciding how it's best to act around them!

3

Don't allow your friend to behave in this manner

You have observed that she is behaving differently than normal friends do. You don't like something and that feels you uncomfortable. That is enough stuff to talk with her. Don't think much about her straight or bisexual physical status. This is her personal problem. Your goal is to remain her friend but without her touchy behavior. So, don't adjust her behavior because it makes you uncomfortable, frustrated, and diverting your mind. Better to tell her now than its become very late and which should not affect on your friendship.

So, tell her politely

"You are my good friend. But I really don't like your touchy behavior. Let us keep some distance while talking. Other friends are talking with me by keeping some distance. Being friends, we can talk on our dislikes. So I did. Hope you can understand."

OR

Otherwise, you can avoid her for 2 to 3 days. Later, whenever she will ask you by taking initiative that "why are you avoiding me since 2 to 3 days?". Then at that time also you can tell her above things. Then also she can understand it.

At the end, still she will behave with the same manner then just describe the fact to your mutual 1 or 2 friends. Together, you can arrange one meeting and tell her behavior and body language which you feel frustrating. More than one person advice, surely helps.

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