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105

When it comes to my own young cousins and children of friends, I usually give them an explicit choice between sharing physical affection and not, while still expecting that they will obey the spirit of the parents request by giving a greeting. My personal script for it is, "Hugs, bye-byes or high fives?" (Basically, give a hug, wave goodbye at each other, ...


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,...


46

I have lived in France for roughly 25 years, and from experience, I can tell you that: You never know for sure if you have to cheek-kiss. Even the French don't know if, in case you cheek-kiss, you do it 2, 3 or 4 times: it depends on the part of the country you're in (but it's 1 in Belgium). You usually do that only with close friends or family. But it ...


45

You don't need to explain it. Explanation about boundaries can backfire and lead to people trying to maneuver around them. Say something simple clear and definitive like "I don't do hugs" and offer a celebratory gesture you are comfortable with, high fives being an obvious choice. Since this has been ongoing you're going to need to find a way roll ...


36

You should talk to Samuel and calmly explain how you feel about this issue. Samuel, I need to talk to you about the hug circles at our weekly meetings. I appreciate the celebration of our accomplishments, but I am uncomfortable with hugs. I would much rather give high fives or handshakes. The key is open and honest communication. You don't have to ...


28

I don't particularly like it when other people touch me, especially in the head. My wife and kids (family I guess) are one thing but for any others it is uncomfortable and sparks a bit of irritation in me. I actually have dealt with this using the following tactics: I wear long sleeves or a jacket except when the temperature is too warm, so that I ...


22

I've never been a seventeen year-old boy but I'll be the mother to one in about 16 years. This, I think, is something that you need to discuss with her as a way of setting boundaries as a burgeoning adult. I have had to deal with a similar situation with my mom - growing up we kissed on the mouth and now I find it distasteful with anyone other than my ...


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 ...


18

Here are the norms for adults greetings based on gender in my area: F/F, F/M, complete stranger: handshake (usually) F/F, F/M, acquainted: hug F/F, F/M, good friend/family: hug M/M, complete stranger: handshake M/M, acquainted: handshake (usually) M/M, good friend/family: hug, handshake, or nothing These vary with age, personal preference, and the type of ...


16

I won't even pretend to have seen this type of situation, because in India men are not supposed to hug any women except their immediate family, nor even shake hands with unrelated women (though men shaking hands with women is nowadays allowed in college classrooms and in corporate settings): However OP @Catija has specifically asked for a referenced answer ...


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. ...


15

I am Chinese, and I dislike this practice as well. I don't know if this will work for you, but I sometimes hold out my hand for a handshake, this has 2 effects: It creates a barrier and extends a common method of greeting. I will be honest it doesn't always work, but it is better than nothing and has worked for me sometimes.


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 ...


12

they tend to greet me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek [...] I don't kiss them on the cheek in return. [...] My mother-in-law and father-in-law have picked up. And they keep doing that. That means they like you, and may not understand what it means to you. They see that you behave differently by not hugging/kissing back. They don't feel hurt, but want to ...


12

These situations are generally context dependent. Your relationship to/with the person makes a big difference in what would be expected or appropriate. If it's someone you already know well, there's more leeway than with someone you don't. In either case, I'd caution you to consider that a comforting gesture is only really comforting if you're comfortable ...


11

From my own experience, this is not black or white. I will agree that if you aren't sure, let the other person make the first move. You can politely extend your hand to be on the safe side. You can't go wrong with a handshake. Or is it expected even among acquaintances? Not necessarily, even though people usually expect for reciprocation. So, if they hug ...


11

I can guess that these men believe that women are more likely to express emotion in their greetings (and hugs are a kind of emotional expression.) But that might be a starry-eyed interpretation. It probably has more to do with power distribution and dominance. In 1977, N.M. Henley wrote a book, Body Politics, about power interactions revealed non-verbal ...


11

Be proactive and step into the conversation before the parents insist with the child. The general conversation will be something like this: Sibling: Do you have hugs and kisses for uncle Rainbacon? *Child hides face Sibling: Come on, give your uncle Rainbacon a hug and a kiss and say goodbye In this scenario, give your ...


8

In seeing this in other areas, I think there are a couple of aspects to consider. Historically, the handshake was a way to show trust, by giving your weapon hand, open and empty, to someone you didn't know or trust well - evidencing no immediate intent to attack, while retaining some distance for safety. And this was in a very masculine, warrior space. A ...


8

The best way to get your granddaughter to learn that it is ok to speak up is to talk with her about it, and then reinforce that conversation with your actions. I'll start my answer by covering why it is important to talk to your granddaughter and then I'll cover how to reinforce what you've talked about. Speaking to your granddaughter The most important ...


7

Supervisors pushing people into physical displays of affection? What a horrible, horrible idea. Especially with a guy angling to hug you every week. You need to tell your supervisor to knock it off; that you are not a hugger, and that this makes you intensely uncomfortable. He's basically giving this guy a chance to harass you every week. Maybe ask if ...


7

I don't know of any direct, non-verbal communication that gets at what you want to know. Further, I wouldn't say that this is something at which people not on the spectrum (or deep into territory considered neurotypical, I'm unclear on how the terminology is used here) are much good at. This is an interpersonal situation in which anyone can easily get it ...


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, ...


7

I have some experience with this, coming from both an affectionate family and a large one. (I have 18 nieces and nephews, 1 great nephew, and several "step" nieces and nephews) Like you, I'm also against forcing kids to give physical affection. When I run into situations like this, if the kid doesn't want to, I just say "That's cool, how about a fist bump ...


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

I think people may be reading a little more into this than is really there... Most people pick up these behaviors by watching adults and peers in childhood. That seems simple enough, right? Human see human do, and we all do it to some extent. So, chances are pretty good that if you're a guy and your Dad was the type to shake hands with men and hug women, ...


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, ...


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