You know those people who just have to touch your arm or pat you on the back when they talk to you, or who have to hug you when they see you? See, I’ve never been one of those people, and I’ve always felt weird around people like that because I’m generally uncomfortable touching people, especially if I don’t know them really well. However, I’ve at least gotten to where I’m less freaked out if people touch me, but I’m still hyper-aware of when people even start to move like they’re going to end up in my space to some extent.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot for the past few days because I keep running into situations at work where this comes up, and I’m not sure how I feel about how they seem to be playing out.
Today I was talking to one of our crew members, and my hair was in my face, which it often is, and to my horror, this girl just reached out and brushed my hair back over my ear. Cue Reeser’s internal flipping out. This is almost worse than being hugged, since strangers have hugged me, but only my mom, my sisters, Jesse, and extremely close friends of mine have permission to touch my face, and lots of times I tend to prefer it if even they announce their intentions in some way and don’t just come up to me and touch my face. Eek.
So yeah, there was that. But then there are some other instances where I sort of feel like the guidelines about never ever touching coworkers make our interactions somewhat less natural. Like the arm touch. I don’t mind the arm touch, and of all the largely inconsequential human interactions that involve touch, this is probably the only one I would almost ever do.
I was on the way to get dinner the other night, and stopping and asking the other management staff if they wanted anything. Nobody did, but one of the managers thanked me for asking and said he was going to get something else a little later, and as he said it, he started to do the arm touch that you do when you have a passing conversation with someone, but halfway through the motion, he stopped himself and got that horrified, “OMG I ALMOST TOUCHED A COWORKER D:” look on his face. It was kind of awkward.
Of course, then there are the situations where Luke (I can’t remember if I ever mentioned a name for the other newer supervisor) and I end up cartoonishly running into each other when we try to pass each other in the kitchen hallways. We seem to lack the understanding that we have with the entire rest of the staff which would enable us to automatically shift to the proper side of the hall and avoid each other…
I feel kind of like these are less odd than the others, partly because they’re at least amusing, and partly because we did discuss skipping arm-in-arm through the lobby one time, but figured our GM would frown on that.
Idk…I guess I can cope with someone who will do that sort of thing, or who will throw some mock punches with me (mmm…yeah, I confess we kind of fail at being professional when nobody else is around. We’re like small children.). The other two extremes, where people are getting all in your personal space, or freaking out because they’re so scared of being sued over having a perfectly normal exchange with you…I don’t know if I could really get used to either.