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"inappropriate kissing and touching?" physical contact
Old 06-13-2010, 06:18 PM   #1
castalia
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One of my male friends publically told me that he thought my behavior towards him was too flirtatious. All I did was peck him and hug him a couple of times (and he lingered in the hug longer than I; he did not want to let go). I come from a southern European culture where displays of affection are very common. He comes from a northern European culture where such displays are apparently a sign of sexual interest. The fact that he was hanging out with me the days after the incidents told me that he did not mind and might was in fact asking questions about where my future was going,etc.

what I dislike about this guy is that he said that I was inappropriate in front of two of my female friends (that was mean of him; he could have done it privately). Apparently he thought I was teasing him.

Was this not mean of him to say this in front of other people? I wonder what type of a man would even publicaly state that I was being inappropriate. In my culture, a man is seen as weak if a woman comes on to him and he does not respond to the opportunity. I did not come on to him in a sexual way at all, but apparently either he did not like it or, more likely, he is interested and feels that I am teasing him.

How do you guys feel about pecking/hugging from close friends? Does it send the wrong intention?
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:32 PM   #2
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It could be he mistook your platonic affection as romantic interest. The lingering in the hug could have been a sign of his interest. So after seeing you don`t think the same way of it even though you still hung out after that he could have been disappointed and angry for feeling like you led him on for the fun of it. Don`t know why he adressed the issue in front of your friends though, maybe something about the topic of conversation or your behaviour made him remember it.

Otherwise I think it depends on the specific person. I have a close few friends who I have no problem kissing on the cheek or hugging, others I still hang out with, but don`t get that physically close to.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:35 PM   #3
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Which culture were the other women of? He was probably trying to let the other women know that he was not sexually interested in you. Although ideally he should have informed you of his discomfort with your actions in private.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:36 PM   #4
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I'm fine with it if the other person initiates it. Once got told off by a French friend of my partners for not kissing her on both cheeks. (In front of my partner , BTW :-))
Myself, I'm reserved at first, but will cheek-kiss hi/bye when I know the person better. (Because they might be a bit North-European too...)

Sounds like he misinterpreted your signals as a come-on, and the put-down was because he was 'hurt'.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:15 PM   #5
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Reaction formation on your friends part, much? He seems to be lying to himself and you about his desires for your relationship. Maybe another talk is required between you.
As far as close contact, I try to avoid it with men; they easily get the wrong idea I have learned.
Women friends who wish to "hug" is sort of offputting, not sure why. Feels contrived. I only hug my kids; little kids seem to require a ton of physical affection which is strange to me, especially as I don't remember ever being hugged as a child.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:32 PM   #6
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  Originally Posted by castalia
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what I dislike about this guy is that he said that I was inappropriate in front of two of my female friends (that was mean of him; he could have done it privately). Apparently he thought I was teasing him.

Was this not mean of him to say this in front of other people? I wonder what type of a man would even publicaly state that I was being inappropriate.

I think he sounds like a jerk. Do you really need this kind of passive-aggressive hostility in your life?

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Old 06-13-2010, 08:01 PM   #7
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Didn't you mention in one of your other threads that you have a bunch of friends with Asperger's or you do? Misinterpreting social cues is par for the course. Sounds like both of you crossed wires. Respect his boundaries in future and let it go.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:22 PM   #8
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I find women of Southern Europe a bit too touchy-feely. I socialise with a whole group of South Americans and Spaniards, and I have been told off for being a bit cold and unaffectionate (being Asian, albeit westernised) when it comes to greeting people. I did not take offense, I adapt but still can't escape the notion of how fake it feels, sometimes. A simple "Wassup Andrea?", rather than having to kiss the cheeks everytime I see her, conveys the same intentions, no?

In new Zealand, and elsewhere in the occident I suppose, people dont hug and kiss cheeks of people who aren't close families or known for a very long time. The kiss-and-hug culture is refreshing; but to some not accustomed to it, doing it to everyone may be perceived as devaluing the meaning of the (intimate) gestures.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:12 PM   #9
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  Originally Posted by MikeC
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I find women of Southern Europe a bit too touchy-feely. I socialise with a whole group of South Americans and Spaniards, and I have been told off for being a bit cold and unaffectionate (being Asian, albeit westernised) when it comes to greeting people. I did not take offense, I adapt but still can't escape the notion of how fake it feels, sometimes. A simple "Wassup Andrea?", rather than having to kiss the cheeks everytime I see her, conveys the same intentions, no?

In new Zealand, and elsewhere in the occident I suppose, people dont hug and kiss cheeks of people who aren't close families or known for a very long time. The kiss-and-hug culture is refreshing; but to some not accustomed to it, doing it to everyone may be perceived as devaluing the meaning of the (intimate) gestures.

Similar. I have American and non-American friends who view hugging and kissing (on the cheek) as their usual way of greeting.

I will do it to appease but I don't really enjoy it. I was raised in a non-hugging but loving family. People showed their affection though actions like cooking for you. I reserve my hugs and kisses for people that I am very close to -- e.g. you're a friend I've known for more than a decade or you're my boyfriend.

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Old 06-13-2010, 10:20 PM   #10
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  Originally Posted by castalia
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One of my male friends publically told me that he thought my behavior towards him was too flirtatious. All I did was peck him and hug him a couple of times (and he lingered in the hug longer than I; he did not want to let go). I come from a southern European culture where displays of affection are very common. He comes from a northern European culture where such displays are apparently a sign of sexual interest. The fact that he was hanging out with me the days after the incidents told me that he did not mind and might was in fact asking questions about where my future was going,etc.

what I dislike about this guy is that he said that I was inappropriate in front of two of my female friends (that was mean of him; he could have done it privately). Apparently he thought I was teasing him.

Was this not mean of him to say this in front of other people? I wonder what type of a man would even publicaly state that I was being inappropriate. In my culture, a man is seen as weak if a woman comes on to him and he does not respond to the opportunity. I did not come on to him in a sexual way at all, but apparently either he did not like it or, more likely, he is interested and feels that I am teasing him.

How do you guys feel about pecking/hugging from close friends? Does it send the wrong intention?


no. i too have been accused of being too flirtatious with close guy friends though, mostly by their jealous girlfriends who were afraid of our friendship even though it is ONLY friendship. i suppose if the shoe were on the other foot i'd feel the same way, but crazy gf's making my close friends turn against me really isn't my cup of tea. crazy girlfriends. or just crappy friends. anyway you slice it, it sucks. maybe we're too pretty for our own good.

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Old 06-13-2010, 11:35 PM   #11
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  Originally Posted by Storm
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Which culture were the other women of? He was probably trying to let the other women know that he was not sexually interested in you.

That's my thought. If he finds one of them attractive, then he might be overly concerned about making clear the status of your relationship with him.

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Old 06-13-2010, 11:48 PM   #12
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I would also agree that he's letting the girls know that the two of you don't have anything going. It also depends on when you did this. If out of the blue, you hugged and kissed him for the first time infront of an audience, he might have thought you were being competitive with the girls.
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:58 PM   #13
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  Originally Posted by castalia
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One of my male friends publically told me that he thought my behavior towards him was too flirtatious. All I did was peck him and hug him a couple of times (and he lingered in the hug longer than I; he did not want to let go). I come from a southern European culture where displays of affection are very common. He comes from a northern European culture where such displays are apparently a sign of sexual interest. The fact that he was hanging out with me the days after the incidents told me that he did not mind and might was in fact asking questions about where my future was going,etc.

what I dislike about this guy is that he said that I was inappropriate in front of two of my female friends (that was mean of him; he could have done it privately). Apparently he thought I was teasing him.

Was this not mean of him to say this in front of other people? I wonder what type of a man would even publicaly state that I was being inappropriate. In my culture, a man is seen as weak if a woman comes on to him and he does not respond to the opportunity. I did not come on to him in a sexual way at all, but apparently either he did not like it or, more likely, he is interested and feels that I am teasing him.

How do you guys feel about pecking/hugging from close friends? Does it send the wrong intention?

I'm sorry, but just reading this is confusing. Are you or are you not interested in him and were you or were you not trying to show interest with your affection toward him?

Hugs can be a tease, but it is a very gray area. The peck is definitely a tease.

Also, what region are you in? If you are maintaining your cultural expectations in a region where they aren't generally accepted, that is not so smart (and can be very rude).

Would he have had difficulty separating you from your friends to speak to you privately? If it appears to him like you are always with your friends, he might not have considered it a possibility.

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Old 06-14-2010, 12:09 AM   #14
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I tend to agree with Inquisitor on this. If you have read things correctly, then likely this guy got his feelings hurt when you failed to show romantic interest in him and he purposely said what he said in front of your friends in order to humiliate you. At the same time, what he said also served the purpose of, in his mind, shoring up his dignity. He can now pretend to himself (and to you) that he was never interested in you in the first place (thus, your "inappropriate" physical contact has been deemed offensive in retrospect - although you can bet he would have been JUST FINE with it had you shown romantic interest in him also so that things could have progressed romantically between the two of you).

So I guess he feels that it's inappropriate that you touched him physically at all without giving him any romantic/sexual lovin' to go along with it. Men. So picky.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:11 AM   #15
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If he's culturally really freaked out by that sort of thing, he might of thought you were being really inappropriate and wack, and if he has Fe, he's more likely to tell you in front of other people (ask me if you want an explanation for this!)

Does he have a gf? His public response would be totally understandable in that case.

Of course, there is the possibility that he was being mean, but I don't know.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:17 AM   #16
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Personally, I'm from Southeast Asia where this isn't the custom, and none of the "Southern Europeans" did the hug and kiss thing when they saw that others weren't. This cultural habit of yours might be intrusive and confusing for other cultures, so if he's a Northern European, at least check if he's receptive to that kind of thing and he won't take it the wrong way. The only time I've done it, honestly, was when a friend of mine asked for it. I'm aware of this custom, and I wasn't offended in the least, but you should hold back unless you were invited to do so.

A general rule of thumb is: if yours is the more intrusive, opt for the less intrusive option.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:26 AM   #17
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  Originally Posted by Antares
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This cultural habit of yours might be intrusive and confusing for other cultures...
A general rule of thumb is: if yours is the more intrusive, opt for the less intrusive option.

^ I agree. I'm a foreigner in the US and most of my friends are too. I always adjust the style of greeting to the friend. My Italian friends, I kiss and hug. My Korean friend gets a stalwart pat on the back, etc. The wide range of cultural and personal comfort levels with physical contact is why this question:

  Originally Posted by castalia
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How do you guys feel about pecking/hugging from close friends? Does it send the wrong intention?

has no absolute answer.

As for his discomfort: while it may seem odd that he waited a while to tell you he was uncomfortable, and he hung out with you after the hugging, it could be that he was unsure of how to tell you. It is a socially awkward situation, after all. Sometimes it takes a while to formulate a response and figure out how to tell someone. It sounds like he's not very straightforward when it comes to conflict situations.

I also think it was totally inappropriate for him to tell you off in the presence of your friends, and you could definitely discuss this with him if you want, and let him know that that was not okay, and that he should have shown more respect for you and told you privately.

But, even if you find his reasons baffling or inconsistent, it's not for you to question his level of physical comfort. If he says it's inappropriate for you to touch him a certain way, it's inappropriate. 'No means no' applies to everyone. If you decide to communicate with him about this incident, you need to make it clear also that you will respect his boundaries in future, and that they weren't clear to you.

In general, I'd suggest toning down the physical contact when you're outside of your cultural context. I learned this when I started making more American friends, whose cultural protocols weren't as clear to me as the Europeans, Asians and Africans. Some of them totally took the kiss on the cheek as flirtatious, and in grad school your friends are your colleagues, so I toned it down. Usually, with new people, I turn it into a joke when we're greeting each other, and ask directly how they do their greetings. It's still hard to keep track sometimes, with things like whether it's one kiss on the cheek, or two, or three.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:41 AM   #18
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I suppose I am Northern European. I would have a huge problem if someone I did not know for more than a year hugged me. If she were female, I would be forced by social rules to follow through with the hug. I am also obviously not very used to this so I really would not know when to stop, which may be interpreted as lingering. Since this would cause me extreme discomfort, I would definitely bear some negative feelings towards the offending party. If the negative feelings were strong enough I may even try to humiliate them in front of others, although I have never done that before.
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:26 PM   #19
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Just to clarify things a bit. I have been a friend of this guy for 2.5 years and the other two women are also friends of both of us for the same time. All four of us see each other on a regular basis.
He obviously liked the hugging while I was doing it and even said that he wanted to be in my arms longer (while we were hugging). One of the two women approached me today and thought that his behavior was really odd and unacceptable.
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:53 PM   #20
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Do you have romantic interests with this guy? It sounds like you don't but I'm just trying to help clarify. Don't hug/kiss guy friends that you don't want to be involved with is a good rule of thumb?
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:00 PM   #21
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  Originally Posted by castalia
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Just to clarify things a bit. I have been a friend of this guy for 2.5 years and the other two women are also friends of both of us for the same time. All four of us see each other on a regular basis.
He obviously liked the hugging while I was doing it and even said that he wanted to be in my arms longer (while we were hugging). One of the two women approached me today and thought that his behavior was really odd and unacceptable.

You know his sentiments - you have an idea that he likes you, but you don't feel the same way. Why must you egg him on by teasing the poor guy further?

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Old 06-15-2010, 06:06 PM   #22
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  Originally Posted by MikeC
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You know his sentiments - you have an idea that he likes you, but you don't feel the same way. Why must you egg him on by teasing the poor guy further?

Why do you view the hugging/pecking thing as teasing?
Are some men that bothered by it if they are attracted to the girl? I mean, I hug a lot of people, whether I have romantic interest in them or not.

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Old 06-15-2010, 06:19 PM   #23
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  Originally Posted by castalia
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Why do you view the hugging/pecking thing as teasing?
Are some men that bothered by it if they are attracted to the girl? I mean, I hug a lot of people, whether I have romantic interest in them or not.

I totally understand that it's your culture, and I think it's great.

What I don't understand is that:

  • you already know this guy sorta like you,
  • but keep on doing it anyway,
  • knowing full well that platonic hugging/pecking is not the norm to him.

That is why I call it teasing. Hugging/pecking per se isn't flirtatious at all.

Let's flip the coin... have you ever thought that he was being sarcastic when he said you were being inappropriate?
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:25 PM   #24
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  Originally Posted by castalia
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Why do you view the hugging/pecking thing as teasing?
Are some men that bothered by it if they are attracted to the girl? I mean, I hug a lot of people, whether I have romantic interest in them or not.

Some guys would be bothered by it if they are attracted to the girl, especially if they have any idea at all that she may not have the same feelings in return. They may be uncomfortable because any action to return such actions on their part could be viewed in an entirely different light than what you appear to have intended.

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #25
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  Originally Posted by castalia
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One of my male friends publically told me that he thought my behavior towards him was too flirtatious. All I did was peck him and hug him a couple of times (and he lingered in the hug longer than I; he did not want to let go). I come from a southern European culture where displays of affection are very common. He comes from a northern European culture where such displays are apparently a sign of sexual interest.

How very disingenuous of you. The female body is constructed in its every detail to be sexually attractive to men. Your culture, and all cultures, are fully aware of that. If that attractive body then places itself into physical contact with a male, and kisses him, there is only one possible message: Sex, right here and right now.

Now, what various feminine cultural contingents succeed in wrapping around that basic biology is another matter. In the endless balancing act between our two interested parties, male and female, it is in the female interest not just to be attractive, but to have a means of resisting the attracted males, so that a selection can be made from among the candidacies. Thus we have (sub)cultures that try to place "displays of affection" in a public/non-sexual realm, where men are both intensely goaded as well as prevented from acting further without further steps by the female.

What you want, it is plain to see, is for him to chase you, because you don't want to be seen as the initiator. You even imply he's weak for not chasing you!

What the male you have deliberately flirted with is telling you is that he is annoyed that you are offering sex to him, and not following up by actually taking further steps to have sex with him (either that or flirting when you both know you can't have sex--I don't know the situation). Either go in the store and make a purchase or get your nose off the window.

How about having the humility to admit to him that you want to have sex with him? Or if you just want to bask in the feeling of him wanting to have sex with you, then have the humility to admit that, too. But don't hide behind this 'hugging and kissing doesn't mean anything'...!


  Originally Posted by castalia
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The fact that he was hanging out with me the days after the incidents told me that he did not mind and might was in fact asking questions about where my future was going,etc.

what I dislike about this guy is that he said that I was inappropriate in front of two of my female friends (that was mean of him; he could have done it privately). Apparently he thought I was teasing him.

Was this not mean of him to say this in front of other people? I wonder what type of a man would even publicaly state that I was being inappropriate. In my culture, a man is seen as weak if a woman comes on to him and he does not respond to the opportunity. I did not come on to him in a sexual way at all, but apparently either he did not like it or, more likely, he is interested and feels that I am teasing him.

How do you guys feel about pecking/hugging from close friends? Does it send the wrong intention?

Obviously. So obviously. Unless your intention is to have sex.

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