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Old 05-03-2019, 10:42 AM
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Is touching co-workers OK?


In another thread, someone posted that they had an incident at work where a woman was talking at the end of a meeting, and a man put his hand on her wrist and said essentially 'we're out of time, let's table this discussion until later'. The woman was bothered by the touching and complained to HR, who sent the guy to counseling. The person posting about the incident felt that this was overblown, that the woman should have handled it herself and that HR definitely shouldn't have done anything about the guy touching unwilling co-workers. I disagreed with that idea, hence the post.

I don't really think that it's asking for too much to expect employees to abide by elementary-school level conduct rules. "Billy, don't touch Sally" "But it was just her wrist, why is she such a big baby" is just not a reasonable exchange in a professional environment, and I don't think Sally has any obligation to take on the task of re-teaching grade school manners to Billy if he hasn't learned them yet. Also, I think it's pretty clear that people engaging in such touching understand perfectly well that it is often unwanted and inappropriate - I doubt you'd see that guy touching the CEO's arm while asking him to cut a meeting short, or patting the wrist of one of the burly guys on the factory floor when talking to him.

So, what do people think? Is it unreasonable to expect touchy-McFeely to not touch his female co-workers wrist when talking to her? Is it unreasonable for Sally no-touch to be disturbed or to go to HR? Is it unreasonable for HR to counsel the guy about third grade 'no touching' rules he doesn't get, and in which direction - should they fire him on the spot, or should they tell Sally to shut up and accept his hand on her?
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:46 AM
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First the wrist, then it's hooking the arm, then it's an arm around the shoulders ...........

"No touching" prevents any blurring of the line because the line is quite clear, NO TOUCHING.

Now, if somebody bumps into me at work, that's a horse of a different color.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:46 AM
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There have been several threads about this. Some people just HAVE to touch others, regardless of any changing societal rules. I don't understand it, myself. Keep your hands to yourself. It's not hard.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:47 AM
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IMHO, he shouldn't have touched her (on the wrist or anywhere,) but for her to go straight to HR was overreacting and excessive. She could have reprimanded him herself at first. Of course, if he persisted a 2nd time later on, then it's HR time.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:48 AM
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I don't like to be touched. The first time, I tell the person "Don't touch me. I don't like it." The second time, I go to human resources.

The last time I checked, my job description did not include being physically touched by anyone.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:55 AM
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There have been several threads about this. Some people just HAVE to touch others, regardless of any changing societal rules. I don't understand it, myself. Keep your hands to yourself. It's not hard.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:57 AM
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I don't really think that it's asking for too much to expect employees to abide by elementary-school level conduct rules.
I don't remember Never Touch Anybody Else Ever being a rule from my own elementary school days. I think there might have been situations where kids were specifically directed to hold hands, like when crossing the street or playing Red Rover.

I didn't see the original thread (or any other) where this was already discussed. I don't think there's anything at all inherently wrong with that kind of touching. But if the person doesn't want to be touched, you don't touch them. Which is why it makes a big difference whether this was a "first offense" with no previous indication that she hated being touched, or not.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:58 AM
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IMHO, he shouldn't have touched her (on the wrist or anywhere,) but for her to go straight to HR was overreacting and excessive. She could have reprimanded him herself at first. Of course, if he persisted a 2nd time later on, then it's HR time.
You left out a very important part of your tale-In the original this took part in the military, everyone involved were people of various rank, and there is currently a problem with sexual harassment in the military(a humongous 38% jump in sexual harassment reports from 2016 to 2018) that indicates that trying to deal with it as you suggest just isn't working out.
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:59 AM
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IMHO, he shouldn't have touched her (on the wrist or anywhere,) but for her to go straight to HR was overreacting and excessive. She could have reprimanded him herself at first. Of course, if he persisted a 2nd time later on, then it's HR time.
Perhaps she knew that reprimand would be met with indifference, or even worse, a downplay of the seriousness that she felt it warranted. As demonstrated by the poster in the other thread who brought it up.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
In another thread, someone posted that they had an incident at work where a woman was talking at the end of a meeting, and a man put his hand on her wrist and said essentially 'we're out of time, let's table this discussion until later'. The woman was bothered by the touching and complained to HR, who sent the guy to counseling. The person posting about the incident felt that this was overblown, that the woman should have handled it herself and that HR definitely shouldn't have done anything about the guy touching unwilling co-workers. I disagreed with that idea, hence the post.

I don't really think that it's asking for too much to expect employees to abide by elementary-school level conduct rules. "Billy, don't touch Sally" "But it was just her wrist, why is she such a big baby" is just not a reasonable exchange in a professional environment, and I don't think Sally has any obligation to take on the task of re-teaching grade school manners to Billy if he hasn't learned them yet. Also, I think it's pretty clear that people engaging in such touching understand perfectly well that it is often unwanted and inappropriate - I doubt you'd see that guy touching the CEO's arm while asking him to cut a meeting short, or patting the wrist of one of the burly guys on the factory floor when talking to him.

So, what do people think? Is it unreasonable to expect touchy-McFeely to not touch his female co-workers wrist when talking to her? Is it unreasonable for Sally no-touch to be disturbed or to go to HR? Is it unreasonable for HR to counsel the guy about third grade 'no touching' rules he doesn't get, and in which direction - should they fire him on the spot, or should they tell Sally to shut up and accept his hand on her?
I think different groups and workplaces have different norms about touching and people within those groups can have different feelings from the group norm. I cannot imagine someone touching my wrist and saying we're out of time at a meeting, but I absolutely see other types of touching all the time . Everything from people hugging when they haven't seen someone for a long time, to one person throwing their arm around another's shoulder to fist bumps and handshaking - which after all, involve someone touching another person just as much as a touch on the wrist. Which is not to say that everyone must accept such touching- but it does suggest that touches are not always unwanted and inappropriate.

Quote:
So, what do people think? Is it unreasonable to expect touchy-McFeely to not touch his female co-workers wrist when talking to her? Is it unreasonable for Sally no-touch to be disturbed or to go to HR? Is it unreasonable for HR to counsel the guy about third grade 'no touching' rules he doesn't get, and in which direction - should they fire him on the spot, or should they tell Sally to shut up and accept his hand on her?
None of the above. HR should tell Billy that Sally doesn't want to be touched and that he shouldn't do it in the future . Sally has every right to not want to be touched but it's unreasonable to expect coworkers to be able to read each individual person's mind as to what is offensive. Maybe Sally doesn't want Billy to shake her hand while Jane is offended that Billy shakes Joe's hand but not hers There are some touches that are likely to be offensive to anyone, but I am not at all sure that a touch on the wrist is one of them. Not to mention Sally doesn't come off so well running to HR about a touch on the wrist rather than telling Billy not to touch her in the future. According to you , Billy may not have learned the third grade no-touching rules- but it seems by your description that Sally hasn't learned some third grade rules herself.

Last edited by doreen; 05-03-2019 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:01 AM
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Which is why it makes a big difference whether this was a "first offense" with no previous indication that she hated being touched, or not.
Just default your personal actions to "Don't touch" unless you know otherwise. Again, it's not hard.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:01 AM
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I don't like to be touched. The first time, I tell the person "Don't touch me. I don't like it." The second time, I go to human resources.

The last time I checked, my job description did not include being physically touched by anyone.
I thought lightly touching a female on the wrist was some sort of control move(I've never seen anyone lightly touch a male on the wrist to control what they say, btw)-am I mistaken?
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:03 AM
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I never initiate touching, I just do not like it. I have friends/acquaintances who are very touchy-feely and I can tolerate it. But coworkers? Nope.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:04 AM
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Just default your personal actions to "Don't touch" unless you know otherwise. Again, it's not hard.
If it is, that's really wrong.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:05 AM
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You left out a very important part of your tale-In the original this took part in the military, everyone involved were people of various rank, and there is currently a problem with sexual harassment in the military(a humongous 38% jump in sexual harassment reports from 2016 to 2018) that indicates that trying to deal with it as you suggest just isn't working out.
I am confused - I agree that if this was in the military that is a very important part of the story. But Velocity wasn't the OP of this thread - was the "tale " you refer to in the other thread?
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:10 AM
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I am confused - I agree that if this was in the military that is a very important part of the story. But Velocity wasn't the OP of this thread - was the "tale " you refer to in the other thread?
Yes. It was in a thread I started about the increase in reported sexual harassment in the military.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:10 AM
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I don't remember Never Touch Anybody Else Ever being a rule from my own elementary school days. I think there might have been situations where kids were specifically directed to hold hands, like when crossing the street or playing Red Rover.

I didn't see the original thread (or any other) where this was already discussed. I don't think there's anything at all inherently wrong with that kind of touching. But if the person doesn't want to be touched, you don't touch them. Which is why it makes a big difference whether this was a "first offense" with no previous indication that she hated being touched, or not.
Here is a good thread that covered a lot (can't believe that was a year and a half ago): what touching is appropriate?
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:31 AM
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I will admit to the occasional light touch on a colleague's shoulder for emphasis, but only if I know them well enough to be informal. But this...

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I thought lightly touching a female on the wrist was some sort of control move(I've never seen anyone lightly touch a male on the wrist to control what they say, btw)-am I mistaken?
...in the context given does indeed sound like a control move, and it is usually male on female. I have had female bosses do something similar without actually touching - touching the table in front of me - when they wanted to stop me from rambling on in a meeting (usually with good reason) but actually touching is a no-no.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:31 AM
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Don't touch people at work other than handshakes.

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Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
In another thread, someone posted that they had an incident at work where a woman was talking at the end of a meeting, and a man put his hand on her wrist and said essentially 'we're out of time, let's table this discussion until later'.
While I don't think this touch was sexual in nature, it was an example of sexual inequality. He put his hand on her wrist and spoke to her that way because she is a woman. It's a way for him to put her in her place and let her know he doesn't view her as an equal. He would not have done the same thing to a man. I wouldn't be surprised if he also did things like tell a woman not to be so emotional in a meeting and stuff like that. Someone needs to talk to him to tell him to knock it off. It might as well be HR who does it.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Pantastic View Post
In another thread, someone posted that they had an incident at work where a woman was talking at the end of a meeting, and a man put his hand on her wrist and said essentially 'we're out of time, let's table this discussion until later'. The woman was bothered by the touching and complained to HR, who sent the guy to counseling. The person posting about the incident felt that this was overblown, that the woman should have handled it herself and that HR definitely shouldn't have done anything about the guy touching unwilling co-workers. I disagreed with that idea, hence the post.

I don't really think that it's asking for too much to expect employees to abide by elementary-school level conduct rules. "Billy, don't touch Sally" "But it was just her wrist, why is she such a big baby" is just not a reasonable exchange in a professional environment, and I don't think Sally has any obligation to take on the task of re-teaching grade school manners to Billy if he hasn't learned them yet. Also, I think it's pretty clear that people engaging in such touching understand perfectly well that it is often unwanted and inappropriate - I doubt you'd see that guy touching the CEO's arm while asking him to cut a meeting short, or patting the wrist of one of the burly guys on the factory floor when talking to him.

So, what do people think? Is it unreasonable to expect touchy-McFeely to not touch his female co-workers wrist when talking to her? Is it unreasonable for Sally no-touch to be disturbed or to go to HR? Is it unreasonable for HR to counsel the guy about third grade 'no touching' rules he doesn't get, and in which direction - should they fire him on the spot, or should they tell Sally to shut up and accept his hand on her?
As a general rule, no...it's not ok. It can often be misinterpreted, and can lead to an escalations of touching that is inappropriate. Also, not everyone likes to be touched...I don't, at least not by those who aren't close to me. I don't like casual touching, even if it's not inappropriate.

Basically, just say no. Now, if you are talking about close friends of yours at work, where hand shakes or back slaps or even hugs are what you and your friends do...well, that should probably be done outside of the workplace, regardless except maybe in some very special and rare circumstances.
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Last edited by XT; 05-03-2019 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:39 AM
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Don't touch people at work other than handshakes.
I honestly don't want to be shaking peoples' hands either. I'll sometimes counter with a fist bump if someone reaches for my hand, and they'll laugh and reciprocate.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:39 AM
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I thought lightly touching a female on the wrist was some sort of control move(I've never seen anyone lightly touch a male on the wrist to control what they say, btw)-am I mistaken?
You are not mistaken.
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While I don't think this touch was sexual in nature, it was an example of sexual inequality. He put his hand on her wrist and spoke to her that way because she is a woman. It's a way for him to put her in her place and let her know he doesn't view her as an equal. He would not have done the same thing to a man. I wouldn't be surprised if he also did things like tell a woman not to be so emotional in a meeting and stuff like that. Someone needs to talk to him to tell him to knock it off. It might as well be HR who does it.
Aye. Taking it to HR documents it, and something done so casually prolly isn't a first-time thing, so it prolly needed to be documented. And the behavior changed and monitored for that change.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 05-03-2019 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:44 AM
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I don't consider touching anyone casually to be a meaningless gesture, but that's just me. Every time I've been touched at work (and weeks or months pass between each instance), it comes off as weird, because I'm not in a touching relationship with anyone there. It doesn't rise to the level of harassment or the like to me, but that may be because I'm a man; in any case I'm pretty sure that whatever message of sociability or companionship they're trying to convey is not being received as intended.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:56 AM
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First the wrist, then it's hooking the arm, then it's an arm around the shoulders ...........

"No touching" prevents any blurring of the line because the line is quite clear, NO TOUCHING.

Now, if somebody bumps into me at work, that's a horse of a different color.
Yup. Same with talking. First it's a "G'mornin." then it's "Wanna watch some porn?"

No speaking. Oh wait. NO SPEAKING. No blurring of lines. Clear. Only written communication from a distance.


I (male) do not touch at work but have been touched. More often it is female doing the touching and it is to communicate a variety of things, from getting my attention, or for emphasis, or just as a friendly (not sexual or flirtatious) gesture. Men touching me is less common but also for all those things. Not touched as a matter of power or of sexuality.

Speech can be offensive. Touch can be offensive. Neither is inherently so. Context and intent matters.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:06 PM
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I honestly don't want to be shaking peoples' hands either. I'll sometimes counter with a fist bump if someone reaches for my hand, and they'll laugh and reciprocate.
Agree. Hands are nasty. I'm a germaphobe. I'm a no touch/don't touch me type. I understand, in my head, I won't die if you touch me. But my heart and psyche says different.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:07 PM
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Just default your personal actions to "Don't touch" unless you know otherwise.
Yes, that's what I do. But if I'm judging other people for their touching, some touches are much more of a big deal than others.

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...in the context given does indeed sound like a control move, and it is usually male on female.
Just from the brief description given in the OP of this thread, I could imagine it being that, but I could also imagine it being an example of the kind of neutral touching that could happen regardless of the sex of the two people, and the kind of situation where a light touch on the wrist might be the least intrusive or impolite way of communicating "We really need to wrap this up" (compared to interrupting, or tapping one's watch, or standing up and leaving while the other person is still talking, or throwing a glass of water in their face, or pulling a fire alarm...)

Or I could imagine it being the kind of thing where the toucher and touchee have very different cultural backgrounds that cause them to interpret such things very differently.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:14 PM
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While I don't think this touch was sexual in nature, it was an example of sexual inequality. He put his hand on her wrist and spoke to her that way because she is a woman. It's a way for him to put her in her place and let her know he doesn't view her as an equal. He would not have done the same thing to a man. .
How do you know that? You could read his mind? You have never seen a man grabbing another man's wrist or arm to grab his attention in your life?
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:18 PM
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I have a bit of difficulty with this sort of subject.

I tend to be quite touch avoidant. Heck - even in our family we aren't really kissy/huggy. I've had times in my career when women hugged me (unwelcome, but no big deal), and once when a woman grabbed my hand and started swinging it as we walked down a hall (REALLY weird and uncomfortable - but everyo9ne knew she was REALLY weird!)

I am ALMOST 100% in agreement with the no touching rule - BUT, I have a couple of exceptions.

In my opinion, not all touching is the same. Big difference between grabbing an ass, vs touching an arm or shoulder. For example - there might be some situations where the most natural action is to gently tap someone on the shoulder to get their attention. I think that is an entirely acceptable human action, and my impression is that the percentage of folk who feel threatened/offended by that is extremely small. If I tap someone on the shoulder once, and they ask me not to do so in the future, that is fine. But I think the contact is sufficiently innocuous that the initial instance ought not give rise to HR involvement.

Touching someone on the wrist - I can imagine someone MIGHT interpret it as dominance. But the guy might also think it the most effective way to get someone's attention - as opposed to saying, "Would you shut the fuck up?" Context matters.

I was actually discussing this with a couple of women the other day. VERY rarely at work, I will touch someone - of either sex. This will only occur if it is someone I have reason to believe I am on somewhat friendly and familiar terms with. In such instance, I may touch someone on their upper arm. Have never been called into HR for that. As with the tap on the back, I think that manner/extent of touching ought not be presumed inappropriate.

If I am talking with a guy, and he says something I think funny or insightful, I might give him a light knuckle rap on the shoulder. Like guys will do during sports. As I view that interaction, that signifies equality, respect, appreciation, etc. Nothing negative. I'm NOT talking about slapping asses. To the extent women want to be considered equal in the workplace, I think they do themselves a disservice to act as tho every instance of physical contact is actionable.

Just my opinion.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:20 PM
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How do you know that? You could read his mind? You have never seen a man grabbing another man's wrist or arm to grab his attention in your life?
Are you saying that grabbing another man's wrist to get a point across would be o.k. in a meeting? Are you saying that a man touching a woman's wrist to get her to stop talking(again, something I have never seen a man do to another man) isn't a form of control?
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:25 PM
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I've always thought that a sharp elbow to the kidney was the appropriate way to alert somebody of something. Touching a wrist is just weird - unless you're checking for a pulse, which wouldn't seem to be necessary if they're still talking.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:27 PM
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It's not a good idea, I'll put it that way.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:27 PM
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I've always thought that a sharp elbow to the kidney was the appropriate way to alert somebody of something. Touching a wrist is just weird - unless you're checking for a pulse, which wouldn't seem to be necessary if they're still talking.
Have you BEEN to any work meetings?

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Old 05-03-2019, 12:32 PM
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Yup. Same with talking. First it's a "G'mornin." then it's "Wanna watch some porn?"
That was you?!
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:35 PM
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There are times in my life where, to get someone's attention, where speech is not adequate, I have touched them, lightly. No one has ever complained, and I would be offended if they did. But there's a level of discourse that is appropriate and which is not.

I was watching a guy leaning on the wall close to my video tripod during a meeting the other day. He kept shifting his feet, and when one foot got within 2 inches of the tripod, I tapped him on the arm and asked him to move away and not bump the tripod. I consider this to be entirely appropriate, even though he was a stranger. He was potentially invading my space.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:38 PM
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There's no objective answer to the OP question. Whether someone can, or even should, touch someone else, where, how, why, on which part of the body and in which circumstances is entirely dictated by arbitrary cultural norms.

Our society's cultural norms are switching towards the idea that any kind of not clearly wished for physical contact is akin to an assault. This would be an extreme view wrt contact between people of the same sex, not so extreme or unusual wrt contact between people of opposite sex.

At this point, you can't know whether a person will feel justified in considering an unwanted touch as unacceptable in any setting or in a specific setting, and whether or not this perception will be backed by outside observers , because no clear and generally accepted norm has arisen yet. You're not anymore a weirdo for thinking that nobody should touch you ever, and you're not yet a weirdo for thinking that touching other human beings innocently is perfectly natural. However, the natural caution of HR and the growing concerns about sexual harassment will make likely that at least a woman complaining about being touched by a man will be listened to and is likely to be vindicated. So, in the workplace, if you're a man touching a woman, you do that at your own risk even though most people wouldn't consider that you have done any wrong in a case like the one described.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:43 PM
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Are you saying that grabbing another man's wrist to get a point across would be o.k. in a meeting? Are you saying that a man touching a woman's wrist to get her to stop talking(again, something I have never seen a man do to another man) isn't a form of control?
Beware of using terms like "grabbing," if the action might more accurately be described as a tap or touch. I can't think of specifics, but I imagine there have been instances where I touched another guy of a guy touched me to get my attention during a meeting. So long as they weren't grabbing my dick, I wouldn't think anything off if they touched my wrist.

Let's say you are seated next to someone, but in a manner that they are partly turned away from you - maybe looking at a screen or speaker. You want to silently get their attention - for any number of reasons. How do you do it? Any part of the body that CAN be touched?

Is it just me - I never considered the wrist to be a particularly erogenous area. In fact, I think grabbing someone by the wrist might actually be a type of contact among strangers that occurs somewhat commonly - say to prevent a stranger from walking into someone/something/traffic...
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:44 PM
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Just default your personal actions to "Don't touch" unless you know otherwise. Again, it's not hard.
It is hard, for some of us.
I'm a toucher. Always have been.I come from a family of touchers. It was how I was taught. We all hugged and kissed and sat close to each other. Touching was excepted in school. as pointed out above, younger students were asked to hold hands in certain situations. There were contact sports, including dancing, taught. There were handshakes and high fives and congratulatory pats on the back. I've spent 30 years in a work environment that is also very tactile; hugs and even kisses hello and good bye are were common.

I was always aware that there were some who didn't touch, but I always assumed they were a small minority and would say something to let me know. Maybe I and others like me were oblivious to the multitude around us, but you cannot deny that it was socially acceptable to varying degrees in most situations.

I think it's fairly easy to see that the societal permissiveness of polite touching is a contributing factor in allowing some (many?) to blurr the line between casual and sexual touching in the work place. And I think it's the correct tack to make touching taboo at work. But to pretend that this is not a seismic shift in attitude is just not realistic.

It is hard for some of us. It is hard for me. But, I am trying.

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  #38  
Old 05-03-2019, 12:48 PM
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Beware of using terms like "grabbing," if the action might more accurately be described as a tap or touch. I can't think of specifics, but I imagine there have been instances where I touched another guy of a guy touched me to get my attention during a meeting. So long as they weren't grabbing my dick, I wouldn't think anything off if they touched my wrist..
Not my words-It was a direct reference to this post:
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
How do you know that? You could read his mind? You have never seen a man grabbing another man's wrist or arm to grab his attention in your life?
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:00 PM
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How do you know that? You could read his mind? You have never seen a man grabbing another man's wrist or arm to grab his attention in your life?
How long have you been on this board? Donít you know that people lost their minds on this issue about 5 years ago.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:00 PM
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I honestly don't want to be shaking peoples' hands either. I'll sometimes counter with a fist bump if someone reaches for my hand, and they'll laugh and reciprocate.
I'm with you here. I have eczema and once I get my hands properly medicated, I don't want anyone else's sweat or cologne messing up the mix. I'm not fond of passive aggressive gestures as a rule, but I keep a wrist brace in my desk. When salesmen drop by in the lobby, I'll grab some business cards and put on the brace. When they go for the shake, I just hold up my hand. Some people really get offended if you won't shake hands, but I find it's worth the effort.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:02 PM
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So, in the workplace, if you're a man touching a woman, you do that at your own risk even though most people wouldn't consider that you have done any wrong in a case like the one described.
I do consider that kind of touch wrong in the workplace. It wasn't to grab the attention of someone who was distracted or in his way. It wasn't done as a friendly greeting. It wasn't done for a positive purpose. It was done to control the person to get them to stop talking. There are more workplace-appropriate ways to handle that situation that don't involve touching. A touch like was described is like telling the person to shut up. There was no need to touch her at all. Just saying "let's table this for next time" is sufficient.

Giving someone a pat on the back for a job well done is a positive action even if the person might like to be touched. But putting a hand on their back (or wrist or wherever) and telling them that they need to stop talking is a controlling action. That's what I see as a difference in the justification for someone being offended by being touched. They may not like being touched in general, but if the touch is done for a negative reason, then I think they are justified in being upset and that kind of touching should be generally not done at work.
  #42  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:03 PM
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Let's say you are seated next to someone, but in a manner that they are partly turned away from you - maybe looking at a screen or speaker. You want to silently get their attention - for any number of reasons. How do you do it?
Crumble up a post-it and throw it at them.
  #43  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:04 PM
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How long have you been on this board? Don’t you know that people lost their minds on this issue about 5 years ago.
No, a significant percentage of people have ALWAYS hated being randomly touched but have finally started sticking up for their right to bodily autonomy and aren't submitting to bullying and shaming if they don't want random people laying hands on them without permission. You want to touch someone, touch yourself. Anyone else, keep your hands OFF unless invited.

Last edited by SmartAleq; 05-03-2019 at 01:05 PM.
  #44  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Are you saying that grabbing another man's wrist to get a point across would be o.k. in a meeting?
I think both *should* be OK. I have a serious issue with considering touching as a threat as opposed to a part of natural human interaction. I associate touching with human warmth, not with assault, and I wish our norms wouldn't be switching towards the latter.

To answer your specific question about a work meeting, yes I would find that totally acceptable and in fact perfectly normal. I don't think that we're at point yet where a man touching another man will generally be considered untoward and unacceptable. We might be at this point though, wrt a man grabbing a woman.


Quote:
Are you saying that a man touching a woman's wrist to get her to stop talking(again, something I have never seen a man do to another man) isn't a form of control?
No, it's a natural way of effectively catching someone's attention. Once again I deplore that nowadays there is more and more a tendency of interpreting touch in the most negative way possible.

Even if you assume that this gesture has an imperative aspect to it (it's likely to be used to stop someone from doing something), there's nothing inherently toxic in expressing an imperative in a work setting. You can do it with words, tone of voice, face expression, or touching. It's perfectly normal to tell someone to stop talking in a workplace. Making the assumption that it's some form of toxic expression of male dominance to put a woman in her place and whatever else is just something you dreamed up. Telling someone "the meeting is over, let's stop this debate" is perfectly normal, and stay normal regardless of the gender of the persons involved. Expressing it by a gesture or touch rather than by words doesn't suddenly makes it more sexist or whatever.


As for not having ever seen a man catching another man's attention by grabbing his arm, I find it difficult to believe. But then again we aren't from the same culture, and possibly not from the same generation, which might be even more important in this case. Even with these caveats, I still find it difficult to believe, though.
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  #45  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
There's no objective answer to the OP question. Whether someone can, or even should, touch someone else, where, how, why, on which part of the body and in which circumstances is entirely dictated by arbitrary cultural norms.

Our society's cultural norms are switching towards the idea that any kind of not clearly wished for physical contact is akin to an assault. This would be an extreme view wrt contact between people of the same sex, not so extreme or unusual wrt contact between people of opposite sex.
True enough, but at the same time it seems like an (ostensibly) zero-tolerance approach is what's necessary to make some people think about what the fuck they're doing in the workplace. As the late Pratchett wrote, laws are there to make you think long and hard before you break them.

An ex of mine once made the "mistake" of going to work in one of those wraparound tops. I'm not sure what the fashion word for it is - basically it's a long swath of fabric you loop around your torso and all tie up in a big bow. Well, one of her coworkers undid the bow while she was Xeroxing some papers, in a corner of the very open space floor. I'm sure in his mind it was "as a joke", or playfully, or possibly "what she was waiting for" even because some men are shit that way. And the worst part of that story is, she was afraid of being made to look like a cocktease. So she never reported it. She didn't even bitch at the guy, just rushed away from the situation. The guy, I would assume, never learned a thing from the whole event - possibly even resented her for "not being a good sport about it" or however creeps like that think.


But if you think about it from a lawyer's point of view, there was no harm no foul there. He didn't touch her, didn't impose himself on her, didn't assault her, certainly didn't rape her. He just tugged at a piece of loose fabric while she was making copies. Nothing more. It was all in good fun. Just a joke.
And yet she felt humiliated enough, taken advantage of enough, pissed off enough that she told me that one story that'd stuck in her craw, years after the fact. So, how would you go around preventing that kind of... abuse ? Well, it's not really abuse, is it ? It's all in good fun, et y a pas mort d'homme, hein ?...


It all boils down, again, to the golden rule. With a weirdo caveat - if you adhere stricly to the golden rule, you could technically boobs my ex as long as you would be OK with being pantsed yourself. So the updated golden rule would be : stick to your fucking job, Keith. At all times.
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  #46  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:20 PM
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... A touch like was described is like telling the person to shut up. There was no need to touch her at all. Just saying "let's table this for next time" is sufficient. ...
Of those choices I'd see the light touch on the wrist as the least offensive and most appropriate way to communicate the need to move on, assuming that getting eye contact and communicating with facial expression is not possible. Overtly verbally interrupting a co-worker who is going on way too long, even without literally saying "shut up" is a bigger thing than the light touch on the wrist perhaps coupled with a quick look. Yes all communicate the same thing: "we need to wrap up here; please finish up." ... of the options the light touch on the wrist leaves the most power in the hands of the speaker as to whether or not to comply with the request and how to do it. Talking over the person, verbally cutting them off, with the request to wrap it up, would be worse, much more than what is "sufficient".
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:21 PM
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But if you think about it from a lawyer's point of view, there was no harm no foul there. ...
Not sure what kinda lawyers you deal with, but I am a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and have worked as a lawyer 30+ years. Sure, certain lawyers would make a BS argument if they were paid to defend the guy, but I'm hard-pressed to imagine a single lawyer of the thousands I've known who would call the intentional disrobing of a cow-orker "no harm no foul."

On the topic of touching (and sorry for a brief hijack), far more than any workplace touching, I've repeatedly been bothered by women - generally of a certain age - kissing me on the lips. Relatives, friends, whatever. I'm ok with a hug. If forced, a peck on the cheek is tolerable. But I have NO DESIRE to press lips against those of any female other than my wife.
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  #48  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:27 PM
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Of those choices I'd see the light touch on the wrist as the least offensive and most appropriate way to communicate the need to move on, assuming that getting eye contact and communicating with facial expression is not possible. Overtly verbally interrupting a co-worker who is going on way too long, even without literally saying "shut up" is a bigger thing than the light touch on the wrist perhaps coupled with a quick look. Yes all communicate the same thing: "we need to wrap up here; please finish up." ... of the options the light touch on the wrist leaves the most power in the hands of the speaker as to whether or not to comply with the request and how to do it. Talking over the person, verbally cutting them off, with the request to wrap it up, would be worse, much more than what is "sufficient".
Let me know when you see a male do that to another male in a business meeting...and let me know how the male being touched that way reacts, while you are at it. Every time I've seen it done it was a male coworker touching a female coworker and(farbeit from me to "mansplain" how females feel about such a maneuver, so corrections are certainly welcome) I have never seen the female being touched in that manner react positively.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 05-03-2019 at 01:29 PM.
  #49  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:31 PM
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  #50  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:43 PM
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Not sure what kinda lawyers you deal with, but I am a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and have worked as a lawyer 30+ years. Sure, certain lawyers would make a BS argument if they were paid to defend the guy, but I'm hard-pressed to imagine a single lawyer of the thousands I've known who would call the intentional disrobing of a cow-orker "no harm no foul."

Well, sure, but then again there's "disrobing" and "intentional" in there. Surely a lawyer and husband/wife of lawyer can see where I'm going with this.

They didn't expect the whole thing to fall off, they just saw a big old funny bow behind her back. Surely woman fashion is made so that your boobs don't tumble out at the mere, literal tug of a string. Men aren't expected to know about fripperies. And maybe if she *didn't* want her boobs to fall out, she would have worn a pantsuit. CLEARLY she chose disreputable, unworkplace clothes, because she's a whore. In support of my thesis on her being a whore, let me just tell you all about her sexual habits and past lovers that surely she won't mind being made public...

And, well, maybe real court doesn't work that way, even. Much less French court, when all of this is US court TV drama fare. I ain't know. She ain''t know. But that's... kind of definitely part of the point ?
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