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  #101  
Old 05-03-2019, 05:17 PM
DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post

I notice that you don't say the book recommends touching a superior on the shoulder.

So I think if anything that backs the claim that such touch is often meant to be controlling. ...
Because it is the One Minute Manager not the One Minute Subordinate it is a manual for how Managers treat their employees.
  #102  
Old 05-03-2019, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
WTF?

Because I'm different than you are you think you're entitled to declare that there's something wrong with me?
That's for your physician to declare. If normal human interaction is causing you physical discomfort, he or she may be able to look into treatments for allodynia, haphephobia or similar very real disorders to improve your ability to function in society.
  #103  
Old 05-03-2019, 05:43 PM
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I am functioning just fine in society, thankyewverymuch. I would also thank you not to try to diagnose me over the internet.

And I have no problem whatsoever having physical contact with people -- when both of us want that contact.
  #104  
Old 05-03-2019, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
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".
I disagree that touching someone is better than saying, "We need to wrap up now." The verbal request includes other attendees. The wrist touch is patronizing.

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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
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.
Context matters, but in 25 years+ of working in everything from VA research to computer security I have never seen a male do this to a female. It's not normal behavior in a business setting.

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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Do you know what really ticks me off? The fact that we have chased off too many females from this board to even pretend that this can be a fair debate. First person narratives from the point of the possible victims are needed in my opinion, but it may be too late in the life of this board to get a fair number of those.
There are a few of us on this thread. What would you like to know?

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Originally Posted by spifflog View Post
My point was that it didn't appear to be anything at the time, except to the woman in question of course. They guy wasn't viewed as a "toucher." This was among a group of pretty senior civilian leaders. The issue isn't that she shouldn't be touched if she doesn't want to be. Or that she didn't have rights. It was that there is some expectation, especially at the senior level, that peers should be able to work out minor issues with other peers. If you're going to lead people, and manage millions (or billions) of dollars, you should have it in you to look someone in the eye and say "you touch my wrist at the end of the meeting, and I didn't appreciate it, I hope that doesn't happen again."
I don't think men realize how difficult it is for women to confront men directly in matters pertaining to touch, let alone anything more serious. From reports elsewhere in this thread, the woman got a great deal of flack for complaining about this. Going directly to the source is degrees of magnitude more difficult.

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As someone else said up thread, intent matters. The history between individuals matters. The actual act matters. As I said in that other thread, every interaction among peers that isn't 100% satisfying to all doesn't have to go to HR.
I agree that context matters. I also agree that not everything needs to go straight to HR. Issues involving bodily autonomy, however, should go to HR. HR needs to understand if this is a one-time thing or something that happens repeatedly. HR needs to make their own assessment of the seriousness of the complaint, and decide appropriate actions.

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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
That's a perfect example of what I say. Nowadays, the same language is used for touching and for sexual intercourse, and the same type of restraint is expected for both. As if touching a body in any way is something extremely intimate that requires prior authorization as opposed to a perfectly natural and usual way to communicate and interact between human beings. The body has become sacrosanct.

With this way of thinking becoming widespread, there's no way relaxed attitude towards touching that Left hand of dorkness experiences can last for long.
I understand that there are cultural differences. When I make trips to Europe, I cheek kiss and embrace. When I make trips to Asia, there is no touching, but there are other rituals, such as bowing when presenting a business card. Again, context matters.

That said, if I take you at your word that touching is "perfectly natural and usual way to communicate", what I hear is that you do not respect the bodily autonomy of others, that you won't respect my bodily autonomy, and that you think it's a shame that you can't just do as you've always done.

The world has changed (or, more accurately, is changing slowly). Someday, I hope that women will have the same rights over their bodies that men have over theirs.

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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
New and less of an extreme abnormal outlier than before but not to my view or experience the norm.

Non-sexual touch has been part of normal communication, well, forever. Certain cultures have forbidden it between genders outside of marriage (see Orthodox Judaism for example) but they have been exceptional and have some difficulties with those rules when interacting with the secular world.


Should we have prior consent for all communication?
One should have prior consent for all touch. If that has been established through friendship, great. Long working relationship and mutually understood boundaries, fantastic. One cannot presume that one has permission in the absence of verbal assent, however.

In fact, I'd encourage everyone to evaluate how much permission they actually have and how much they are just assuming they have, because that's the way they've been doing it.

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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I'm curious about those who feel strongly that a woman (or anyone being touched at work in a way that makes them uncomfortable) should confront the toucher first before going to HR. Surely if the touching in question were so obviously benign that the parties could have worked it out themselves, HR will take that into consideration instead of just firing the guy. Unless of course there's a history, because he makes a habit of touching the new girl in a way that makes her uncomfortable, but that isn't overtly sexual, so he has some plausible deniability... If everyone reports everything, HR will know whether this is one guy bothering a bunch of women who all get along fine with all the other men, or one woman who complains a lot about everyone, or some other dynamic. But if the new girls never report the touchy dude because they don't want to make waves their first week on the job, he could get away with doing this to a lot of women by just moving on to the next one as soon as his current victim gets ready to stand up for herself.
Exactly. Report it.

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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
It's not that you can't manage to communicate the same things without touching someone most of the time, it's rather : why would you want to communicate without touching? Why would it be preferable not to touch every time touching can be avoided?

It is this idea that shows a switch in attitudes. It might seems completely obvious to you that it's better this way, but touching used to be a perfectly normal part of interactions, and people used not to feel there was any reason to avoid touching even if they could. And not to feel that they had to wonder about the hidden reasons or implications of being touched because being touched was normal.
What you are describing was normal to YOU. It was not understood or experienced by women in the same way. I always wonder about the motivations of men when they talk to me unexpectedly or in any way violate the social norms in our interactions. I will tell you that I do not want to be touched by co-workers who are not also social friends. I do not want to be touched by strange men at the store. I do not want men to touch me at all without my permission.


Quote:
That participates of the same evolution. If it's perfectly normal to be touched, you have no reason to wonder why you're being touched. And even if the person touching is in fact secretly attracted to you, it still doesn't matter because he doesn't do anything abnormal or that others don't do.
This demonstrates that you have never been on the less dominant side of an interaction. Women always wonder. Others doing "it" too doesn't make it ok for the next person to do the same thing.

In summary, while context matters, one should have permission to initiate personal contact. Don't touch unless you know it's welcome.
  #105  
Old 05-03-2019, 06:01 PM
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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.
Many, even most, women, have huge inculturated inhibitions about telling men straightforwardly not to touch them inappropriately. Touching of women by men is filled with complicated implied messages about gender roles, power, etc etc. I am not surprised she did not tell him.
  #106  
Old 05-03-2019, 06:38 PM
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One should have prior consent for all touch. If that has been established through friendship, great. Long working relationship and mutually understood boundaries, fantastic. One cannot presume that one has permission in the absence of verbal assent, however.
I'm a little confused by this. Of the co-workers whom I touch on the shoulder, and who touch me on the shoulder, there's never been any verbal assent given. Boundaries are established through friendship and through workplace norms. I'm having trouble squaring your last sentence with the previous ones quoted.

Part of my thinking, and I recognize I may be wrong on this, is that touching someone on the shoulder seems like a fairly small harm under the worst of circumstances. If someone just a little bit doesn't like to be touched, can they respond to the first time by saying, "Actually, I'd rather not be touched"? If someone has a phobic response to touch, can they be responsible for that?

I've got a pretty stupid-serious phobia of needles, to the extent that discussions of drawing blood, or talking about carrying Epi-Pens, freaks my ass out. I handle that by mentioning it to people if it's relevant, and if folks start talking about needles anyway ("Oh, then I don't even know if I should tell you the story about when...") I interrupt and laugh and say, "For real, no, you shouldn't," and if they persist, I literally walk away. I figure my stupid dislike of needles is so rare that it's my job to handle it.

That is, perhaps, how folks who dislike shoulder-taps should handle it. (edit: please note that I'm only comparing a severe severe dislike for shoulder-taps to my needle aversion, not the run-of-the-mill don't like 'em dislike.)

Unasked-for backrubs? Those are the equivalent of needle-jabs. You don't give those without permission, full-stop.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 05-03-2019 at 06:41 PM.
  #107  
Old 05-03-2019, 06:38 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? 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?
A form of control? Maybe, sometimes. Context is everything.

This came up the other day at my workplace. A bunch of us, all on the same level on the org chart, were in a videoconference with our counterparts in another office of the firm, in another city.

There were, I think, about a dozen people involved. We had a limited amount of time. Each of us were speaking for a few minutes on a particular technical issue (this is an IT department).

A woman in my office was rambling. Way over her allotted time. A (male) colleague touched her arm (her hand, actually) in such a way that it was not visible to the camera.

He did this so that he could draw her attention to the fact that she was way over the time limit without embarassing her, without everyone seeing and hearing him say, essentially, "shut up, you've talked too long."

Was he wrong to do so? In my opinion (and hers, as it turned out, but that's hindsight), he was trying to help her, and succeeding.
  #108  
Old 05-03-2019, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I totally wouldn't mind. I'm at the grocery store looking for something,with my earbuds in, listening to a podcast. A stranger taps me on the shoulder. I have to turn off my podcast, remove my earbuds, get my hearing aid container out of my pocket, power up the device, put it in my ear, and say, "yes?".

"Ummmmmmm. . . Do you know what aisle the pickles are in, they used to be right after the mustard, but they aren't anymore. My husband likes pickles, but not the sour kind."
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Well, I personally don't like being touched because touching people is a weird and foreign behavior that people I know don't engage in. Persons who do touch people can thus be reasonably presumed to be invading alien beings intent on world domination. Pod people, the lot of you.
It really is harder and harder for me to be sure anymore but I do think that both of you are engaging in humor but it really does seem to be true for more and more people.

Again, non-sexual non-aggressive touch has throughout history been a normal and important communication channel (with some religious-based gender prohibitions in certain cultures and sub-cultures). We are in what is by the scale of history a very abnormal time in regards not only to touch but in regards to communication in general.

People (or at least some people) are not just uncomfortable with touch, they are increasingly uncomfortable with face to face, even voice to voice communication. They just have less and less of it. They go out in the world in their own bubbles, earpods in, engaging with their phones and private (or at least physically disconnected) worlds rather than with the people around them. Calling someone is increasingly considered intrusive and weird compared to sending them a text. Teens are growing up spending more and more time Instagramming and texting and less time talking face to face or even on the phone. A neighbor knocking on your door without calling (or texting first better yet) is something odd. I'm getting the sense that making direct eye contact is beginning to make more people uncomfortable.

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Originally Posted by filmore View Post
..., it would probably be just about as effective if they just said your name first instead of touching "DSeid... what did they mean by that". I can't imagine that it would be impossible or disruptive to get your attention without touching. ...
It exactly would have been relatively disruptive to the group get my attention verbally. Talking to me above a whisper would be disruptive to the group and as I am listening to the person who is presenting at the time talking to me in a whisper alone would fail to get my attention.

Touch can be a less public communication within a public context.

Even though I am not someone who communicates with touch much at all I find the overall arc that this seems to be a part of to be very sad.
  #109  
Old 05-03-2019, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I think the switch in attitudes is less that nobody was bothered by it before, and more that people who are bothered about it are now saying something about it.
That's a big assumption, in my opinion.

To take an example, let's assume an extreme case. A society where the normal way of greeting people is to grab their ass. Do you think that women whose ass is grabbed would feel the same about it as women whose ass is grabbed in our society? I think you would agree that they would think nothing of it. There would be of course some outliers who don't like ass-grabbing, as we have on this forum a woman who is extremely uncomfortable with men shaking her hand, but the overwhelming majority wouldn't care about ass-grabbing.

People don't feel the same about being touched (or about anything else) across all cultures, through all times. They adapt, their perception changes as social norms change. Someone who has been told all her life that a man touching her is trying to exert control on her or to derive sexual arousal from it, and that touching a stranger requires consent and is best avoided if it's possible isn't going to react to being touched in the same way as someone who has been told all her life that being touched is a perfectly normal occurrence.

People do more than adapt in fact. They *endorse* the new norms and values. They're almost always convinced that their current values are objectively better and have the greatest difficulties in even considering the possibility that they might not be. Convinced that the current norm is a proper answer to a perceived issue. Someone living in a society making "bodily autonomy" a matter of great importance will have difficulties envisioning that a society not protecting properly the right not to be touched and where being touched isn't at all considered as a significant issue isn't objectively wrong. And difficulties in envisioning that people raised in a different environment won't perceive being touched as a violation in the way they do.

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For that matter, though children of course routinely touched each other on the playground and at games (as I presume and hope they still do, though I hope now not if a particular child objects to it),
The problem is that adapting behavior to every individual's preferences doesn't work well. You have to remember that Timmy doesn't want to be touched at all, that Johnny doesn't mind to be touched this way but doesn't want to be touched that way, that Rickie will feel bad if you don't hug him, etc.. Trying to guess or relying on your perception of how people seem to react is even worse. Projecting your own preferences on others even worse. The result is that you end up facing the HR guy for having touched someone in a way that you felt was innocuous.

You just can't keep track of everybody peculiar preferences, and of course you can't know them before either trying or asking. And you aren't going to ask all your coworkers in advance : "can I touch your wrist to catch your attention and if yes in what way? What about your shoulder? What about your back?". No, you need general rules, that are generally agreed upon, and allow you to know what you can do and what you cannot do, and are the same for everybody. If the general agreement is that you can touch someone's wrist to catch his attention, then that's the way it is, and too bad if someone doesn't like to have his wrist touched, there no inherent right to not have one's wrist touched if the social norm is that wrists are touchable.

We can see in this thread that we're at a confusing point since people report not only strikingly different preferences and strikingly different assumptions, but also strikingly different experiences. There's no generally accepted clear rule anymore about this issue that people could safely rely upon. Some believe that the wrist touching was outrageous and oppressive and totally justifying the intervention of HR, others that it's probably fine but potentially suspicious, others that making an issue of wrist touching is absolutely laughable. Some report that they've never seen and instance of arm grabbing in their whole life, and others that arms are routinely grabbed where they work. Such a situation can't last with some people being laughed at when they report what they feel is an assault and others being fired for what they feel was an innocuous contact. There's a need for generally accepted ground rules that can be opposed to anybody.

And my belief is that these ground rules will eventually be that no non specifically authorized touching is acceptable because that the only one that takes into account this bodily autonomy/ people have the right not to be touched thing and because it's obviously pretty simple.
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Last edited by clairobscur; 05-03-2019 at 06:57 PM.
  #110  
Old 05-03-2019, 07:02 PM
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It really is harder and harder for me to be sure anymore but I do think that both of you are engaging in humor but it really does seem to be true for more and more people.
I'm being half-serious. I was raised in a house with relatively literal interpersonal physical contact, and I got into (of all things) computer programming as a career, which is a bastion of poorly-socialized male nerds. There is no reason for us to touch each other, and little reason for us to interrupt each other - when I leave the office I check to see whether people look like they're working and refrain from calling out "goodbye" if I think it'll disrupt somebody's chain of thought.

I'm quite certain that in the two decades that make up my employed life no other programmer has engaged in physical contact with me, outside of maaaaye a handshake or two. If that. We don't even tap shoulders - we're more likely to rap on the desk or cubicle wall if we want to get somebody's attention. That or simply lurk silently in the fringes of their vision in the hopes they'll finish what they're doing and notice us on their own.

The only at-workplace physical contact I've had in recent years is our elderly, really-oughtta-be-retired boss has done a shoulder clasp or two, and this friendly lady who sometimes naps on the same couch I read at in one of our break rooms has casually touched my arm once or twice. The shoulder clasps are super-awkward, and the casual arm touch elicited surprise more than companionship or whatever.

(As for outside-of-workplace physical contact, I get clumsily farewell-hugged a couple of times a year by visiting sisters as they're about to leave for home. That's pretty much it.)
  #111  
Old 05-03-2019, 07:44 PM
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I'm curious about those who feel strongly that a woman (or anyone being touched at work in a way that makes them uncomfortable) should confront the toucher first before going to HR. Surely if the touching in question were so obviously benign that the parties could have worked it out themselves, HR will take that into consideration instead of just firing the guy. Unless of course there's a history, because he makes a habit of touching the new girl in a way that makes her uncomfortable, but that isn't overtly sexual, so he has some plausible deniability... If everyone reports everything, HR will know whether this is one guy bothering a bunch of women who all get along fine with all the other men, or one woman who complains a lot about everyone, or some other dynamic. But if the new girls never report the touchy dude because they don't want to make waves their first week on the job, he could get away with doing this to a lot of women by just moving on to the next one as soon as his current victim gets ready to stand up for herself.
Because HR is not your friend.

It will go down as a black mark for him, and you the reportee. It, even tho perfectly innocent and one time, could cost him (and you) a promotion.

Let me make this clear, we're talking about a light shoulder touch, a wrist or hand touch, not a pussy or ass grab. Absolutely anything sexual or out of line should be reported. But many people have no issue at all with being lightly touched in a innocent and non-sexual manner, and in fact they appreciate it.
  #112  
Old 05-03-2019, 07:49 PM
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..
I agree that context matters. I also agree that not everything needs to go straight to HR. Issues involving bodily autonomy, however, should go to HR. HR needs to understand if this is a one-time thing or something that happens repeatedly. HR needs to make their own assessment of the seriousness of the complaint, and decide appropriate actions.
...
That said, if I take you at your word that touching is "perfectly natural and usual way to communicate", what I hear is that you do not respect the bodily autonomy of others, that you won't respect my bodily autonomy, and that you think it's a shame that you can't just do as you've always done.

The world has changed (or, more accurately, is changing slowly). Someday, I hope that women will have the same rights over their bodies that men have over theirs.



One should have prior consent for all touch. If that has been established through friendship, great. Long working relationship and mutually understood boundaries, fantastic. One cannot presume that one has permission in the absence of verbal assent, however.
...
Exactly. Report it.

.......
In summary, while context matters, one should have permission to initiate personal contact. Don't touch unless you know it's welcome.
Does that include handshakes?

That is a extreme way of thinking. And, itOk for you to feel that way, but not Ok for you to make everyone else hew to your personal standards.

If you feel uncomfortable to a light, innocent touch on the shoulder, that's Ok. It's your body. Just let them know.

I assume then, you refuse to shake hands?

If you report a light, innocent touch to HR, it will not go well for anyone. Including you.
  #113  
Old 05-03-2019, 07:59 PM
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Because HR is not your friend.
This is absolutely true. This is a fundamental truth.

I have posted this very same thought in threads here for years. If you bring a problem to HR, anywhere, at any company, you're the problem. That's it, that's all, that's how it is.
  #114  
Old 05-03-2019, 07:59 PM
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That's pretty sexist and/or homophobic of you, ain't it ?
Yes. My dating history is quite sexist and homophobic.




  #115  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:00 PM
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This is absolutely true. This is a fundamental truth.

I have posted this very same thought in threads here for years. If you bring a problem to HR, anywhere, at any company, you're the problem. That's it, that's all, that's how it is.
This seems strange. So who should someone go to if they are constantly unwantedly touched by their manager?
  #116  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:10 PM
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Full-body-contact smoochies are still okay though, right?
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  #117  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:11 PM
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This seems strange. So who should someone go to if they are constantly unwantedly touched by their manager?
Go to another company.

Or, if you're satisfied with your job, and don't have any desire for promotion, go to HR. The touching will probably stop. But you've identified yourself as "difficult."

Your career at the company will now come to a standstill. At best, you'll get to keep your job. You probably won't get fired on the spot. But, when the next economic downturn comes around, you'll be first on the list for layoffs.

It isn't right. It isn't the way it should be. But it's the way it is.
  #118  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:18 PM
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This seems strange. So who should someone go to if they are constantly unwantedly touched by their manager?
What did we say? You need to talk to whoever first, explain you dont like being touched.

If the touching is sexual or continues "constantly" yes, you should go to HR.

But dont take "Hey, Dave, the guy who shares my cubicle? He touched me on the shoulder to ask me a question. It only happened once, but he should be fired right now. Unwanted touching!!!"

It's the difference between:" I saw my manager stealing from the petty cash" vs "My manager made a personal phone call- on company time!"

Last edited by DrDeth; 05-03-2019 at 08:21 PM.
  #119  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:20 PM
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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?

For the purpose of this discussion I'm going to assume both Sally and touchy-McFeely are rational adults who are both acting in good faith.

Let's start with touchy-McFeely. It's completely acceptable for HR to speak with him about boundaries. However, unless there's a past history of unwanted touching, it's not necessary to fire him or even give him a written warning. It was just a pat on the wrist. I would ask him to apologize to Sally though.

Let's move on to Sally. I don't feel as though it's my place to tell Sally what she should be offended by or how much she should be offended by it. If she doesn't like anyone touching her on the wrist like that then I can't make any good argument for why she should accept it. I would happily listen to her concerns and I would speak to Mr. touchy-McFeely about what is and isn't acceptable on her behalf to make sure she works in a comfortable environment. I would also ask Sally what outcome she would like to see result her speaking to HR.
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  #120  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:21 PM
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Many, even most, women, have huge inculturated inhibitions about telling men straightforwardly not to touch them inappropriately. Touching of women by men is filled with complicated implied messages about gender roles, power, etc etc. I am not surprised she did not tell him.
This is true. But I also wonder whether she might have discussed a previous incident privately with the person who touched her, and this might have not been the first incident but the second or third or more. I don't know whether this is known for sure.

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Originally Posted by Saintly Loser View Post
A woman in my office was rambling. Way over her allotted time. A (male) colleague touched her arm (her hand, actually) in such a way that it was not visible to the camera.

He did this so that he could draw her attention to the fact that she was way over the time limit without embarassing her, without everyone seeing and hearing him say, essentially, "shut up, you've talked too long."

Was he wrong to do so? In my opinion (and hers, as it turned out, but that's hindsight), he was trying to help her, and succeeding.
I don't know how well he knows her; maybe he already knew that she wouldn't mind. If so, then I don't think he was wrong. If not: I think he had a better option, which would have been to hold his phone with the time showing, or his watch, similarly out of line with the camera but in her view, and tap on that to draw her attention.

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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
People (or at least some people) are not just uncomfortable with touch, they are increasingly uncomfortable with face to face, even voice to voice communication. They just have less and less of it. They go out in the world in their own bubbles, earpods in, engaging with their phones and private (or at least physically disconnected) worlds rather than with the people around them. Calling someone is increasingly considered intrusive and weird compared to sending them a text. Teens are growing up spending more and more time Instagramming and texting and less time talking face to face or even on the phone. A neighbor knocking on your door without calling (or texting first better yet) is something odd. I'm getting the sense that making direct eye contact is beginning to make more people uncomfortable.
Let me just throw in here that absolutely none of that is true of me. I wear no earpods. I carry my phone in my pocket, turned off, unless I'm expecting a call. I prefer phone to text. I do usually call my neighbors before stopping by, but I have a couple of neighbors who just drop in, and I have no problem with them doing so.

And I have been uncomfortable with unwanted touch since, probably, about 1951, though I can't actually remember about the first few years. That's unwanted touch, specifically; though it's got nothing to do with whether it's sexual or not. I only want to be touched by some people, and only when I'm in the right mood. I do fairly often want to touch some specific people, and, presuming they also want it at the time, do so. If the impulse comes over me during a business meeting, however, I have no problem resisting it.


-- Direct eye contact can actually be legitimately a tricky matter. A direct intent stare that's held too long can easily come across as aggressive. That reaction goes way back in the head -- such a stare in many other species is a sign that the starer may be about to attack (or thinks they may be about to be attacked), though it can also be a sign of intimacy. Humans do look each other in the eye, in most cultures, for longer than occasional glances; but the length of the look that's considered normal, and whether one looks at the speaker (who mostly looks elsewhere, with only occasional meeting of eyes) or the speaker looks at the person being spoken to (ditto), or both, can also vary.

So if you're noticing people who have problems with the amount of eye contact you want to make with them: it may be a cultural issue.

Or, of course, they may be uncomfortable with something that you're saying; or signalling a lack of interest.

Or they might be actually uncomfortable with personal contact in general. It's possible. But I wouldn't assume it before ruling out the other possibilities.

-- clairobscur, too late to quote you, but I see your post.

I very much doubt that most women in a culture in which grabbing asses is normal would be happy about it. They might of course be expected to put up with it; which is not the same thing.

Cultural variations are certainly real, and they can be pretty drastic. However, I've never heard of a culture in which men grabbing the asses of women they don't have an established sexual relationship with doesn't imply that the men are controlling and/or harassing the women.

There have been people all along who didn't want to be touched except by certain people in certain contexts. In some cultural situations, they've had to put up with it. I don't see why your desire to be able to touch anybody whenever you feel like it should trump somebody else's desire not to be touched by you if they don't want to. (I am curious as to whether you extend this attitude towards your boss/superiors in rank in general.) If you can't keep track of who wants to be touched by you and who doesn't, then don't touch people without checking.

You can generally tell that Rickie wants to be hugged by the fact that Rickie's coming toward you with his arms out, and that Timmy doesn't by the fact that he's backing away if he sees you looking like you're going to hug him. When everybody's sitting relatively still at a conference table, that's a different situation. That's one of the reasons (though not the only one) that it's usually a bad idea to start touching people at a conference table. It's also a bad idea to touch people to draw their attention to you, because by definition they don't see the touch coming -- if they do, you've already got their attention -- , and therefore can't signal if they don't want it.

And I don't think anyone on this thread has suggested that anyone should be fired for a casual touch with no harm meant.

I'm tired, and it's a fast moving thread. Not sure all the above is entirely coherent.
  #121  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by filmore View Post
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.
Are you sure the touch wasn't mean to convey a message of reassurance? He could have been touching her wrist to reassure her that he didn't mean to insult her by telling her they were out of time.
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  #122  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:30 PM
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What did we say? You need to talk to whoever first, explain you dont like being touched.

If the touching is sexual or continues "constantly" yes, you should go to HR.

But dont take "Hey, Dave, the guy who shares my cubicle? He touched me on the shoulder to ask me a question. It only happened once, but he should be fired right now. Unwanted touching!!!"

It's the difference between:" I saw my manager stealing from the petty cash" vs "My manager made a personal phone call- on company time!"
I see. And if the person touched considers all parts of their body the same, they should just suck it up because it was "only a shoulder touch"?
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:33 PM
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It just strikes me as odd, this thread going the same way as the other one I linked to. People trying their hardest to keeping "touching in the workplace" as something that should continue. Strange to me that the need to touch someone is so overpowering that "Don't touch people at your work" requires such a rigorous defense. Just strange.
  #124  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:36 PM
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It just strikes me as odd, this thread going the same way as the other one I linked to. People trying their hardest to keeping "touching in the workplace" as something that should continue. Strange to me that the need to touch someone is so overpowering that "Don't touch people at your work" requires such a rigorous defense. Just strange.
I get that that's strange to you. Do you get that it's equally strange to me--and to the other third grade teacher I talked with--that anyone would try to establish a blanket ban on touching in the workplace?

Analogies are tricky. But imagine if there were someone who found almost all jokes irritating, and recognized that many people find some jokes offensive, and therefore thought it reasonable to establish a blanket ban on jokes in the workplace. Why, they might wonder, would people find the need to make dumb jokes so overpowering that "Don't tell jokes at your work" would require such a rigorous defense?

Touch occupies a similar place to humor, in my opinion. It ain't necessary, and it can absolutely go horribly wrong; but when it's not going wrong, it can humanize the workplace and make it a better experience for folks involved.

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  #125  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:40 PM
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I get that that's strange to you. Do you get that it's equally strange to me--and to the other third grade teacher I talked with--that anyone would try to establish a blanket ban on touching in the workplace?
Yes, I understand that it's strange to you. But I don't understand why you feel the need to touch people in your workplace so bad, that you disagree with a "Don't touch your coworkers without their consent" rule.
  #126  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:44 PM
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Because HR is not your friend.

It will go down as a black mark for him, and you the reportee. It, even tho perfectly innocent and one time, could cost him (and you) a promotion.
It probably won't go down that way. Most people in HR aren't going to view Sally as a trouble maker because she's making valid complaint. Most people in HR aren't going to put a black mark on touchy-McFeely's record for something so innocuous unless there was a past history of such behavior he was warned about. HR might not be your friend but we're usually not out to get you. Some people just aren't comfortable confronting others on their own and it's entirely appropriate to come to HR if they are more comfortable handling things that way.
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  #127  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:45 PM
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Touch occupies a similar place to humor, in my opinion. It ain't necessary, and it can absolutely go horribly wrong; but when it's not going wrong, it can humanize the workplace and make it a better experience for folks involved.
Sure it's similar. How about this? Go to your job tomorrow and tell this joke:

"What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You've already told her twice!"

See how it goes over.
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
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?
My XO would touch my hand or arm when I was a battalion commander to get my attention. Sometimes he'd either use his hand or knee on my leg to get my attention under the table so others wouldn't notice. My CSM and one of my First Sergeant's (when I was a company commander) would get my attention with light touch on the elbow at meetings. All of us were male and all combat arms. I was their commander.

IME you are mistaken seeing a wrist touch as a strictly gendered thing.
  #129  
Old 05-03-2019, 08:59 PM
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I find this sort of discussion unfortunate. It suggests that there ought to be universally agreed upon rules that govern all human interaction - rather than assuming that there are various types of communication appropriate to most situations. As well-intentioned humans - or even mildly bad-intentioned, or clueless, or whatever - sometimes we will make a suboptimal choice among our options. "Sorry, I didn't know you would react that way to my touch/choice of words/facial expression/tone of voice... But if we are to assume that we are both trying to simply co-exist here, how ought you respond as a well-intentioned human? Why would a direct response, "Please don't do that." NOT be the optimal first response?

But no - it would be better to simply assume that EVERYONE we interact with is hypersensitive to every possible interaction. Assume ill-motive, rather than clumsiness.

For fuck's sake. A youngish woman, recently hired in - gasp - a subordinate position to mine asked me for some advice. I said sure, stop by. She came to my office this afternoon and - HORRORS - closed the door behind her! I had a fleeting thought of whether it was entirely appropriate for 2 people of different genders (sexist of me!) to be in an office behind a closed door - even tho she closed it. Then, fortunately, I ignored such thoughts and we had a very pleasant and productive discussion.

But we are picking up speed heading down a well-traveled path, so I'll check out.
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  #130  
Old 05-03-2019, 09:07 PM
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Are you sure the touch wasn't mean to convey a message of reassurance? He could have been touching her wrist to reassure her that he didn't mean to insult her by telling her they were out of time.
OMG, why does his intention make a fucking bit of difference? What difference does it make if he "meant" to be reassuring or if he "meant" it to mean "shut the fuck up" or if he "meant" it to be a purposeful transgressing of her bodily autonomy?

Look, if I don't want to be touched by you it doesn't matter a bit to me what you "meant." I'm fucking used to men getting offended when I tell them to keep their hands to themselves because they "only meant to be nice" or think I'm being too sensitive. I don't care what you think or what you intended or what you "meant" I just want you to keep your hands to yourself and NOT TOUCH ME.

DON'T TOUCH PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION. Why is this so hard to understand? Keep your hands to yourself. Don't touch. A person's body belongs to them, not to you and you have no inherent right to touch them.

Seriously, what if you have a male friend whose idea of friendly contact is to reach down and touch the head of your penis through your pants? Every time you run into this guy he touches your penis. Does it fucking MATTER that he doesn't "mean" it in a sexual way? Does it matter that he just "means" to be friendly? Does it matter that you don't want your fucking penis touched without your permission or are you just public property, with your penis belonging to every rando who passes? Does that seem comfortable or right to you?

And here's the big part--YOU don't get to decide that someone else is "too sensitive" or "taking things the wrong way." Your opinion is irrelevant and also unwelcome unless you've been ASKED for it. Just like touches. No invite, not needed, not appreciated.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:07 PM
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Yes, I understand that it's strange to you. But I don't understand why you feel the need to touch people in your workplace so bad, that you disagree with a "Don't touch your coworkers without their consent" rule.
I think what seems weird is more like "Don't touch your coworkers without their verbal consent". Everyone should work to maintain situational awareness and notice if the way they interact with others makes them uncomfortable. But I have coworkers I am on a hugging basis with and coworkers I am not and we never actually talked about it. It just evolved--because we are sensitive to each other, and we pay attention to body language. I have other coworkers that I am as close or closer to that I do NOT hug, because it's very clear to me that they don't want to be touched. And there's some gray area--I had a coworker squeeze my hand today in sympathy because I lost an Aunt, and I would probably in the balance have preferred he didn't, but we've worked together for many years and I knew the gesture was heartfelt.

I think it's super important that people respect boundaries, but I think that non-verbal communication of those boundaries is fine. It's how people work.
  #132  
Old 05-03-2019, 09:07 PM
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Why would a direct response, "Please don't do that." NOT be the optimal first response?
Why isn't "just don't do that" an optimal course of action? It actually requires LESS actions on your part.

Last edited by manson1972; 05-03-2019 at 09:08 PM.
  #133  
Old 05-03-2019, 09:09 PM
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I think what seems weird is more like "Don't touch your coworkers without their verbal consent". Everyone should work to maintain situational awareness and notice if the way they interact with others makes them uncomfortable. But I have coworkers I am on a hugging basis with and coworkers I am not and we never actually talked about it.
Sure. And you know for an absolute fact that those coworkers are comfortable with you hugging them?
  #134  
Old 05-03-2019, 09:11 PM
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Yes, I understand that it's strange to you. But I don't understand why you feel the need to touch people in your workplace so bad, that you disagree with a "Don't touch your coworkers without their consent" rule.
I, for one, don't disagree with such a rule. And I'm pretty sure that we're only months away from exactly that rule in any company big enough to have an HR department. Actually, I think we're going to see a rule that says "no touching whatsoever, ever, under any circumstances."

It's the only safe way to go.

That said, there are degrees of touching. Not every touch is sexual, or a means of asserting dominance or control. There are polite touches (for example, the silent time warning I described above, or the perfectly ordinary handshake upon being introduced to someone in a business environment*).

And then there are those touches that are out of line.

It is unfortunate that we couldn't find a better way. But we haven't, and I don't think we will.

* I vaguely remember that there was a poster around here, a while back (like years back) who thought that a man offering a hand to a woman to shake in a business environment was committing something akin to sexual assault. But it was a while ago, and I could be wrong.

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  #135  
Old 05-03-2019, 09:12 PM
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It always amazes me how many people in these threads insist that there should be no problem with them touching people who don't want to be touched, and that they should not have to do anything whatsoever before placing hands on people that they either don't know or only lightly know. I also don't buy the story that mandatory touch has always been part of human communication; if you watch films of people back in the early 20th century interacting, you don't see the unchecked touch that people here describe. Men will slap women's asses when they can get away with it, but the only time you see men slapping each other's ass is in a baseball game. Men don't come up to their boss or foreman and give him a big hug. Men don't put a hand on another man's lower back to go by him in a crowd, but do to women. Men will often come up and rub a woman's shoulder or shoulders, but doing the same thing to another guy will likely start a fight.

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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I asked if men touch touch one another in that particular manner to control what they say. Who in this thread said yes(without changing it to grabbing wrists, back pats and the like)?
I agree, I have never in life seen a man lightly touch another man on the wrist to get him to stop talking in any sort of work context. (I've seen partners do it to each other, but that's obviously a radically different context.) I think it's rather disingenuous to change from the specific "lightly touched her wrist" to something more general. None of the people claiming it's common have been willing to say that that particular gesture is something they see commonly.
  #136  
Old 05-03-2019, 09:16 PM
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That said, there are degrees of touching. Not every touch is sexual, or a means of asserting dominance or control. There are polite touches (for example, the silent time warning I described above, or the perfectly ordinary handshake upon being introduced to someone in a business environment*).

And then there are those touches that are out of line.
I guarantee you that if we worked together, any touch of you upon me would be out of line. I hate that.

There's a cool guy I work with everyday, and when he leaves, he comes over and fist-bumps me. I'd rather not do it. But I don't want to hurt his feelings, and I actually don't care if anyone touches me anywhere

But it seems like a lot of people here thing that there are some touches that are NOT out of line, simply based on their own feelings. Just don't do it. How hard is that?
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:36 PM
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I guarantee you that if we worked together, any touch of you upon me would be out of line. I hate that.
Really? So if I came on board at your company, and we were introduced, and I offered a handshake, that would be out of line?

I get that you may not like that. You may even hate it. You have every right to refuse. But a handshake is a socially acceptable touch, even expected in some environments, and I would not be out of line to attempt to shake your hand.

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There's a cool guy I work with everyday, and when he leaves, he comes over and fist-bumps me. I'd rather not do it. But I don't want to hurt his feelings, and I actually don't care if anyone touches me anywhere
I don't get this. Any touch is out of line, and you hate that, or you actually don't care? That said, you, of course, have every right to refuse to participate in the fist-bumping.

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But it seems like a lot of people here thing that there are some touches that are NOT out of line, simply based on their own feelings. Just don't do it. How hard is that?
Well, that's where we're headed. As I said, soon enough, all touch will be prohibited at any firm large enough to have an HR department. So be it.

That said, handshakes aren't out of line. The expectation that one participate in this age-old social ritual isn't out of line.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:41 PM
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Sure. And you know for an absolute fact that those coworkers are comfortable with you hugging them?
I don't hug them. We hug each other--it's a mutual thing, with lots of opportunities for either person to pull back--because even someone who might want a hug one day might not on another.

I mean, no one can really know the heart of another--even verbal communication isn't foolproof, if someone doesn't feel free to say no. But generally speaking, sane and thoughtful people can 1) take cues from each other's body language and 2) make a practice of respecting each other's boundaries. I mean, I also sit and eat lunch with the same people each day. I don't KNOW they want me to sit and eat lunch with them--we've never talked about it--but I'm not going to refrain from eating lunch with anyone just in case some people would rather I not sit at the same table as they do.

I fully, fully agree with you that people need to be sensitive to other's verbal cues and to never assume that touch is welcome. I'd go further and say it's super important to never expect anyone to explain or justify why they don't want to be touched--it's everyone's right to preserve bodily autonomy--it's the default. But I don't think that means touch is bad, and I don't think it's impossible to communicate that through non-verbal means.
  #139  
Old 05-03-2019, 10:15 PM
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I don't get this. Any touch is out of line, and you hate that, or you actually don't care? That said, you, of course, have every right to refuse to participate in the fist-bumping.
Sorry, I should have been more clear. I don't like when someone just comes up and starts touching me. The guy at work offers his hand. But there is a difference, to me, between me not being annoyed about something, and me caring about something to the point where I would make my views known.
  #140  
Old 05-03-2019, 10:16 PM
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Really? So if I came on board at your company, and we were introduced, and I offered a handshake, that would be out of line?
I don't consider "offering a handshake" and "grabbing a person's hand" as the same thing.
  #141  
Old 05-03-2019, 10:19 PM
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I don't hug them. We hug each other--it's a mutual thing, with lots of opportunities for either person to pull back--because even someone who might want a hug one day might not on another.
As an aside from this discussion, I can't believe that you actually hug people on a daily basis at your work. At the risk of sounding sexist, maybe that's just a woman thing. I would never go into my work and hug other male or female colleagues.

Last edited by manson1972; 05-03-2019 at 10:21 PM.
  #142  
Old 05-03-2019, 10:33 PM
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I get that that's strange to you. Do you get that it's equally strange to me--and to the other third grade teacher I talked with--that anyone would try to establish a blanket ban on touching in the workplace?
Context matters.

I very much doubt that anyone's trying to establish a blanket ban on, say, nurses or doctors or health care aides touching their patients in the workplace. It's part of the job.

And I think it's also a normal part of the job for teachers and other caretakers of small children to touch those children who signal, clearly, that they want to be touched. (And to keep their hands off any who don't want to be touched, unless necessary for the safety of the child.)

But I don't think any of that applies to adults having a meeting in a conference room. Or to most people on most sorts of jobs.
  #143  
Old 05-03-2019, 10:41 PM
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I very much doubt that anyone's trying to establish a blanket ban on, say, nurses or doctors or health care aides touching their patients in the workplace. It's part of the job.
Weird but maybe relevant anecdote:

I went to my Urgent Care facility one day because I had a sore throat. And typically with a sore throat, they take a throat swab. And sometimes when they do that, I throw up. So normally, I'm ready to push the PA's hands away if I'm close to throwing up. The last time I went, I had my hands ready, and the PA said "What are you doing?" And I explained to her that I might have to grab her hands to stop myself from throwing up. And she wasn't too thrilled with that, and made me sit on my hands so I wouldn't grab her to keep from throwing up.
  #144  
Old 05-03-2019, 11:06 PM
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OMG, why does his intention make a fucking bit of difference? What difference does it make if he "meant" to be reassuring or if he "meant" it to mean "shut the fuck up" or if he "meant" it to be a purposeful transgressing of her bodily autonomy?
Another poster suggested the the touch was to control her behavior. It could have been intended as a friendly gesture to assure her that he wasn't being dismissive by telling her they didn't have time to listen to her. So obviously intent seems to matter to some people.

And, yes, intent matters. It's not the only thing that matter nor is it necessarily the most important thing that matters. But it matters. So does context and past behavior.

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DON'T TOUCH PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION. Why is this so hard to understand? Keep your hands to yourself. Don't touch. A person's body belongs to them, not to you and you have no inherent right to touch them.
I respect your right not to be touched if you don't want to be touched. If you were in Sally's position what consequences should Mr. McFeely suffer for touching you lightly on the wrist?

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Seriously, what if you have a male friend whose idea of friendly contact is to reach down and touch the head of your penis through your pants? Every time you run into this guy he touches your penis.
Reductio ad absurdum arguments cannot be taken seriously. You're not arguing in good faith.


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And here's the big part--YOU don't get to decide that someone else is "too sensitive" or "taking things the wrong way." Your opinion is irrelevant and also unwelcome unless you've been ASKED for it. Just like touches. No invite, not needed, not appreciated.
I think you missed parts of this conversation where I pretty much said this. You might want to go back and read the thread before taking a single post out of context.
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  #145  
Old 05-03-2019, 11:11 PM
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Sure it's similar. How about this? Go to your job tomorrow and tell this joke:

"What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You've already told her twice!"

See how it goes over.
Man, what the fuck? Are you really going to escalate in a totally unreasonable way like that?

Lemme break this down, using my own words: humor, like touch, can absolutely go horribly wrong.

What you offered is an example of how humor can go horribly wrong, the joke equivalent of groping someone.

But just because there are shitty-ass jokes that should never be told in the workplace doesn't mean a blanket ban on jokes is appropriate. It means a ban on offensive jokes, jokes that make people uncomfortable, is appropriate. Some jokes are obviously inappropriate to any remotely-socialized adult, and if they tell them, it's a first-time firing offense. Other jokes might not be inappropriate for most people, but for a few folks they are, and in those cases, the joke-teller ought to be sensitive to that problem, but also the joke-hearer needs to recognize that it's not the same thing.

And just because there are assault-type touches that should never be made in the workplace doesn't mean a blanket ban on touches is appropriate. It means a ban on offensive touches, touches that make people uncomfortable, is appropriate. Some touches are obviously inappropriate to any remotely-socialized adult, and if they touch someone that way, it's a first-time firing offense. Other touches might not be inappropriate for most people, but for a few folks they are, and in those cases, the toucher ought to be sensitive to that problem, but also the touchee needs to recognize that it's not the same thing.

Don't fucking escalate with a shitty misunderstanding of the analogy, okay?

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 05-03-2019 at 11:13 PM.
  #146  
Old 05-03-2019, 11:18 PM
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As others have said, slight non-sexual touching has been a mainstay of human experience for thousands of years across almost all cultures. A pat on the back, a fist bump, a handshake, a tap on the shoulder, an "atta boy" tap on the thigh, etc. have all been considered normal types of human interactions.

Default rules of human interaction are not made for the most hypersensitive person. The hypersensitive person must deal with the rest of society. Because some people are extreme germaphobes, we do not mandate that public door handles are sterilized every hour. If you are that sensitive, then carry a handkerchief of a bottle of hand sanitizer.

And in any interaction between two adults, the first step in any problem solving is to have a discussion with the person who offended you, except in the most egregious cases. If the neighbor kid breaks your window with his baseball, do you immediately sue or call the police? Or do you walk over and have a talk with the kid's parents first? Sadly in modern society, more people are doing the first thing.
  #147  
Old 05-03-2019, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
Another poster suggested the the touch was to control her behavior. It could have been intended as a friendly gesture to assure her that he wasn't being dismissive by telling her they didn't have time to listen to her. So obviously intent seems to matter to some people.

And, yes, intent matters. It's not the only thing that matter nor is it necessarily the most important thing that matters. But it matters. So does context and past behavior.
And this is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Had the man interrupted Sally and said, "Sally, please finish up, we are over our allotted time" he might be raked over the coals for embarrassing her in front of the whole room and might be told that he should have tapped her on the wrist as a more subtle gesture.
  #148  
Old 05-03-2019, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
It means a ban on offensive touches, touches that make people uncomfortable, is appropriate.
The point is you only seem to want a ban on touches that YOU consider offensive. My point is, if you don't touch anyone without their consent, then it's a better for everyone.

You have a friend that you know appreciates hugs? Hug away. You have a coworker that you don't know? Keep your hands to yourself. Again, it's not hard. It actually requires less work for you.
  #149  
Old 05-03-2019, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
And this is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Had the man interrupted Sally and said, "Sally, please finish up, we are over our allotted time" he might be raked over the coals for embarrassing her in front of the whole room and might be told that he should have tapped her on the wrist as a more subtle gesture.
No, he actually wouldn't be "raked over the coals" for that.
  #150  
Old 05-03-2019, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Sure it's similar. How about this? Go to your job tomorrow and tell this joke:

"What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You've already told her twice!"

See how it goes over.
Maybe you donít realize it but are illustrating his exact point. Some communications are inappropriate and some are appropriate. Verbal and non-verbal both. All communication can be misunderstood and the same message may be welcome by most and offensive to some. Jokes may be very inappropriate and offensive. And they can be an important tool in getting a message across or a concept sold. Some people may find any joking in the workplace to be inappropriate. Some people may find some joking in the workplace is part of natural communication. Do the facts that some believe the former and that some jokes are clearly inappropriate mean that one must always get consent before trying to be witty?
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