55

I had similar problems for a long time. In college some of my friends thought my reactions were hilarious and would do the same "time for a group hug!!" things. The last major incident I recall was at lunch one day. I was sitting between two friends (which already made me slightly uncomfortable) and they decided it would be funny to slowly inch closer to me,...


20

Let's recap They touch you You explain to them, that you don't want to be touched They touch you nonetheless, even thinking it was funny So they are ignoring your wishes, although you made them explicit violate your boundaries invade your personal space They are disrespecting you I suggest the following way of escalating your reactions, as you may not ...


14

First things first: You are absolutely within your rights to refuse to hug anyone, no one should ever make you feel obligated to do anything you aren't comfortable with. I am an advocate for open and honest communication. You seem to think that this gentleman will be okay with this once you broach the subject, which can be the worst barrier. I might ...


9

I don't know the word for it but the gesture is like a lurch. What you want to do is move your upper body farther away from the person while not moving from your actual seated spot. Leave your hips where they are. This indicates that you need your space but would prefer not to physically move yourself. (Which also has the subtle indication that you would ...


8

I would suggest the direct approach, make a simple and polite request. "Please don't give me the eye rolls. You know I love to hang out with you, but I really need to study and I feel like you guys are scoffing at me for it." It might prove helpful to throw in some flattery as an explanation, "I'm just not as smart as you guys; I can't get away with ...


8

My team is moving into new space soon that's going to be set up in rows. Individual spaces are assigned and there will be short dividers between the desks, so it's not exactly your situation, but I have the same cringe reaction to somebody practically breathing down my neck, so I'll share how I'm approaching it. First and most importantly, when I talk ...


7

I wasn't going to write an answer since my usual strategy for that is hiding (so no one can ask me for a hug or anything less) but the other answers here are suggesting to raise the issue just after a request for a hug has been made and I think there is a better approach. Saying no to someone asking for a hug is absolutely valid in any situation. However, ...


6

It seems to me that there are 2 fundamental ways to approach a problem like this: Ask others to respect your boundaries, or work on improving your comfort level with these sorts of situations. Since the former already has some excellent answers, I will speak to the latter. There is a concept called exposure therapy, in which a person voluntarily subjects ...


6

For people reading this with similar issues, if it's a new person (you just met), one way to handle this from the beginning: Me: Great meeting you. I'm not a big fan of physical contact, so that's why I don't shake hands/hug/ect. I use [alternative - like a big smile] instead and it was great meeting you. It's polite and honest and can be done as early ...


5

All of this sounds rather innocent... except one REALLY BIG RED FLAG. These four words change the whole situation sometimes when I am alone with [the housemate] he will ask [for] a hug. Hugging without your boyfriend present is a really big problem - it is not "just hugging". You are right to feel weird about this. You don't say that this only ...


5

There are conventional and social rules about personal space and touching that are very cultural specific. I also lived in several countries with different conventions. I do not enjoy having my personal space invaded and much less touched by unknown people. The key is that. You usually have different personal space areas depending on wether it is family, ...


4

I once had a professor at university I was working for and had a similar issue. When he asked how I was doing, he was touching my arm or shoulder, sometimes even rubbing it. He definitely meant to be nice, but it was very uncomfortable and since he was higher than me in the hierarchy and I needed to be in his favor, since he was my boss, I never said ...


3

When someone wants to give me a hug, particularly someone I'm not close to I simply say something like "I don't like hugs" or "I'm not a hugger". If they insist I make it clear to them that I don't wan't a hug by giving them a plain "No" or something like that. Doing it this way sound less harsh than saying no strait off the bat because it gives them an ...


3

When bringing it up with your room-mates, I suggest focusing on the issue you yourself are having, rather than than their actions. This is generally a good way to go about finding mutually beneficial solutions as it helps the other person sympathise with your situation better, and rather than getting defensive about what they are doing, they will be more ...


3

I have the same exact touch issue, and am also conflict-averse. This is what I've been doing the last several years, and it has always worked. Stop them physically; this can be arms out, moving away, whatever you're most comfortable with. Don't let them engage in touch. "Please, stop." "Please respect my boundaries." (not emphasizing touch, but boundaries); ...


2

The important thing is getting other people to understand that you are not fine with people touching you. If explaining your point of view isn't working, another approach is to make them feel uncomfortable when they do it. I usually simply stare at them with a serious face for a while and then ask them not to do it again : I'm not really keen on ...


2

I feel you. It looks like nice talking and reasoning won't help here. Tell your friends very firmly that touching is a definite "no-go" for you, it is nothing to laugh about and that they don't respect you if they go against your requests multiple times. Honestly speaking, a little yelling at them could change the situation, even though it's harsh. With ...


2

You have said that you do not like nosy questions, especially about your personal life. To get over these feelings here is what to do: Ask yourself why they are asking such questions. Is it because you have offered no information on your personal circumstances, and is it possible that they are just trying to get to know you better. Think about what you are ...


1

Note : After rereading your post and my answer, I realized it doesn't really answer your question of making them aware they're taking up space. Those are more strategies to get space back. I also don't have ideas on how telling them non-verbally that they are too close without being passive-aggressive or rude. I do hope this still helps you but if you want ...


1

This may seem like an overly-simplistic solution, but the best way to avoid making an issue with someone with a disability is to say exactly what you would say to someone without a disability. Really his disability is a red herring of sorts in this question. The fact you have hugged him in the past suggests that he thinks of you as a close friend. Close ...


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