Physical touch is personal. Be it a kiss, a hug, or —and all the female presenting folks know this one— a hand on the waist or shoulder . It’s important to always make sure the person being touched actually wants to be.
Redditor Hides-Their-Heart turned to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgement on a night out turned awkward when a guy decided he deserved a goodbye hug—without consent.
“AITA for dodging a hug & making an acquaintance look like a creep?“
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this but I would like some outside opinions. Lockdown has lifted where I (24F) live so a couple of friends + a few friend friends and I decided to go have a little meet up, share some drinks, and shoot some pool at a local pub.”
”Everything was going great and we all were having a really fun time. Towards the end of the night one of the friend friends, Johnathan, was getting ready to head out and came over to me to say goodbye while I was grabbing another drink at the bar.”
”Now, I knew next to nothing about Johnathan except that he looked really familiar so I assumed I maybe went to high school with him or perhaps he worked at the grocery store I used to work at while attending high school. I never bothered confirming it as I didn’t really care + it didn’t really matter.”
“I looked up as I heard him say goodbye and noticed he was moving in for a hug. Now, I hate hugging, like REALLY hate it.”
”I can’t stand the feeling of someone’s arms around me, especially someone I’m not familiar with so I panicked and dodged him, fast as a bird, (dropping my drink). Next thing I know one of the male bartenders was pulling Johnathan away and yelling at him to get away from me.”
”I think he thought Johnathan was a drunk and trying to make a move on me. I quickly jumped in and said everything is fine, he just startled me.”
”From somewhere in the pub I heard someone yell ‘Keep your hands off woman!’ and noticed a table of people were giving Johnathan the evil eye.”
“After that Johnathan quickly left but later that night I got a very angry message from him saying how he can never go back to his favorite pub now because I made him look like a creep and how I shouldn’t have overreacted like I did.”
”I had already apologized for the whole fiasco and explained how he shouldn’t just hug people he doesn’t really know/ don’t really know him. That just pi$$ed him off more and now he’s blocked me. So Reddit, AITA?”
Redditors were asked what they thought on this potential creep situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was NTA for expecting consent before physical contact.
“NTA, you don’t control other people’s reactions. And maybe this one guy that barely knows you shouldn’t have tried to hug you and maybe if it is his favorite pub and the staff was so quick to react, it might not have been his first time doing that and maybe he’s mad because it was indeed a creep move and he knows it.”~In_Dreams_Begin
”NTA – I hate the whole hug goodbye thing, especially from people I don’t know. Usually if I see it coming I step back and thats enough of a signal for most people I don’t want to be hugged. But people get really offended. I view being hugged without consent as on the same level as fondling a stranger’s breasts or feeling a man up through their pants.”
”I understand for many it’s socially acceptable but take a moment to really think about a hug…think of all the places and things that can be ‘accidentally’ touched and it’s considered completely ok and if you raise a stink your the bad one for ‘making it awkward’ never mind it’s allowing someone to completely get a grip on you.”
”Every aspect of it makes me uncomfortable and understandably makes others feel the same. Contact with others should only be done with consent and that’s any kind of contact from fist bumps to intercourse.”~Ciimmeri
“NTA, you did everything you could to explain to the bartender that it was a misunderstanding. Also, if he frequently goes to that bar and everyone immediately started reprimanding him, it makes you wonder if maybe he is known for having questionable behavior?”
”He should also know that if you don’t know someone/have never hugged them, you should always ask before just going in for one.”~Recent_Tadpole_706
”Oh, but he’s such a nice guy. You know… A Nice Guy. 😉 NTA, OP. Not at all. I hate when people go in for the hug uninvited, and would have reacted the same way.”
”Heck, he’s lucky he didn’t get that drink in his face. People have lots of different kinds of self-defence mechanisms, and he’s lucky that yours was ‘flight’ rather than ‘fight’! You’re all good, fam!”~VLDreyer
“NTA. Someone thinking he was a creep is just direct repercussion for trying to randomly hug you. It’s his fault not yours. And if he’s blocked you? Seems like a toxic person waltzed out of your life with no skin off your back.”~thelesserdaughter
“NTA- his response is creep behaviour. You don’t owe anyone access to your body for any reason.”
”I’m a hugger, but only to people I’m extremely close with. If you come at me like that, as someone I don’t have that level of familiarity with, you can expect the same.”~CatteHerder
“NTA. He shouldn’t have hugged you. He didn’t even know you directly.”~veryhappybanana
Consent is important before assuming physical contact is wanted, especially for people you are unfamiliar with. Given the recent pandemic it is important to maintain personal space for health reasons as well. Sounds like this “nice guy” never got the memo.