Questions for y'all

Red flags vs fear of new things

I don’t know a solution to this, but this is a problem I think it’s worth discussing: It can be hard to identify red flags when you have a general fear of change and trying new things.

For some of us, anticipating change always or usually feels bad, regardless of whether there’s anything actually wrong. For instance, I hate all new TV shows until I’ve watched them with someone else at least three times. To use more weighty examples: for a lot of people, moving to a new apartment, taking a new job, starting school, getting close to another person, exploring a new hobby, eating new foods, or anything that involves change, will at first invoke an unreasonable sense of dread whether or not anything is actually wrong.

For most people who have routine fear of new things, it can sometimes be important to override that dread and do some new things anyway. Because sometimes change is necessary, or an improvement. But overriding and ignoring dread all the time causes a serious problem.

The problem is - sometimes the feelings of dread are because you’re noticing red flags. Sometimes the problem isn’t that you’re generally averse to change; sometimes the problem is that you’re noticing something that’s actually wrong.

I’m not sure what the solution is. Most people get told that the best way to avoid walking into trouble is to always trust your gut. That’s not necessarily viable for people whose guts tend to dread all change. Trusting all of those instincts would mean never trying anything new, and also never walking away from bad situations (since that would have to involve change). But disregarding your gut all the time doesn’t work well either, because sometimes it’s the only thing alerting you to trouble.

I think the best approach might be: listen to your gut, but don’t necessarily obey it. I think it’s a good idea to think, in as concrete terms as possible, what your gut feeling might be about. Some examples of questions that some people find helpful in that regard (not exhaustive, and not all the questions on this list are helpful for everyone with this problem):

  • Is the dread you are feeling the same way you always feel when you’re doing something new, or does this feel different?
  • (If it feels like a different feeling, it’s very likely something you should be taking seriously)
  • Are you afraid of a particular person?
  • Do you know why you’re afraid of them? Is it that they’re unfamiliar, or something in particular about them?
  • Are you afraid of a particular risk?
  • Does something seem physically unsafe?
  • Are there other available options that would be safer?
  • Do people seem to be treating you respectfully?
  • Is someone being mean to you, or to other people, in a way that’s making the new thing seem inadvisable?
  • Are people assuming that you can do things that you can’t?
  • Is anyone treating you like a child?
  • Is someone taking your private decisions weirdly personally?
  • Are you being pressured into spending money you can’t afford to spend?

I don’t think that there is a general answer to this. I think that deciding whether to go with your gut feeling, or whether to assume that you’re just fearing change, is something that you have to decide on a case by case basis. Either option involves risks; it’s ok to decide which risk you’d rather take in a certain situation. Sometimes that will mean you do the new thing (and risk ignoring a red flag); sometimes it will mean you don’t do the new thing (and risk avoiding a necessary or beneficial change for irrational reasons). Sometimes that will mean doing the new thing, but cautiously. Sometimes that will mean modifying the new thing. All are legitimate approaches; you’re the only one who can decide.

It’s ok to decide that something real is going on and that you’re not going to do the thing (even though it’s possible that you’re afraid for no good reason). It’s ok to decide that you’re going to risk doing the thing (even though it’s possible that you’re ignoring a red flag.) Both have risks. There’s no generalized answer to every situation; it’s a decision you have to make for each situation.

tl;dr If you’re generally averse to change, it can be really hard to tell whether your apprehension about a new situation is irrational fear of change, or a red flag you’re picking up on. It can help to evaluate in concrete terms what you think you might be noticing. 

For those of you who have a general aversion to change and want to be able to do new things sometimes: How do you deal with this? How do you tell when bad feelings are related to general aversion to change, and when they’re related to red flags you’re picking up on?

Question for little people

What kind of words do we use to describe adult little people and which ones should we avoid?

I don’t think I have strong enough knowledge of that community to give a nuanced answer to this. (Except the usual standard answer about terminology: try to use the terminology someone prefers for themself, don’t make a big deal out of it, and don’t try to convince someone that they’re describing themself the wrong way).

I do know that Little People of America considers midget to be an offensive slur. 

Do any little people want to weigh in? Which terminology do you prefer? Which terminology do you consider offensive? Why? 

When teachers use ableist slurs

Anonymous asked:

Today we did a spelling test in English,and when someone asked what question two was when we were on question four, the teacher shouted. “Special NEEDS!!”. Is this acceptable??!

I don’t mind teachers swearing at us,but this seems even more inappropriate.

Should I complain?

realsocialskills said:

I think there are two questions here which may have different answers:

  • Did the teacher do something significantly wrong? and
  • Should you complain?

So I’ll consider them separately. The first question is easy. The teacher definitely did something wrong. Several things, actually.

The first thing they did wrong was insult a student who was asking a question. Teachers should encourage questions. It was entirely reasonable for the student to want to have questions they’d missed repeated. Spelling, writing, and paying attention are hard for some people, and a moment of difficulty or inattention shouldn’t mean that you’re not allowed to ask what the question was. It’s really unfair to mark students as not knowing the material when the problem was actually that you refused to make the test accessible to them. That would have been wrong no matter how the teacher chose to insult the student.

It’s especially wrong that the teacher chose to use the insult they used. When they said “special NEEDS!”, they were expressing contempt for students with learning disabilities and learning difficulties. They were also threatening students by implying that if they show disability related struggles, they won’t be seen as having a legitimate place in the class. That’s a horrible kind of sentiment.

They were also showing any students with disabilities who may have been in the room that this teacher is not a safe person to discuss disability-related struggles with. That’s awful, too.

What the teacher said was mean and hateful. Teachers ought to be building their students up, not tearing them down. Teachers ought to be teaching their students to be respectful of everyone, not participating in a culture of ableist hate. Teachers ought to be actively showing their students that they will find solutions that make it possible for them to learn; not insulting them for asking for help. They ought to be actively seeking out effective accessibility and accommodations; not mocking special needs.

The second question is more complicated, and I’m not sure I know the answer to it. It depends on a lot of different things, and I think it is on some level a personal choice.

Some options:

Complaining to the teacher directly:

  • I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this in your situation, but:
  • Some teachers who say this kind of hurtful thing don’t understand the implications of what they’re saying
  • Sometimes when someone points it out to them, they listen and stop doing it
  • This is risky, especially if you are in grade school rather than university.
  • I wouldn’t recommend talking to this teacher about the problem directly unless you have a generally good relationship to them and have reason to believe that they’d care what you think and listen seriously

Talking to another teacher:

  • Is there another teacher you trust to understand why this was an awful thing to say?
  • If so, it might be worth talking to them and seeing what they think is the best way to proceed
  • (But be careful about this too - some teachers in this situation might not understand that you’re vulnerable and might repeat things or  pressure you to confront the mean teacher in ways that are not in your interests)

Talking to an authority figure:

  • I know that it can sometimes be done effectively, but I don’t know how to describe how to do it
  • One thing is that you can’t assume that they will understand why this is a big deal
  • But you can sometimes insist that it is a big deal
  • It helps to be as polite as possible in every way aside from the fact that you’re pushing the issue
  • (Eg: It is helpful to refrain from shouting or swearing, dressing in a way that’s against the rules, or doing anything else they can claim is a discipline problem)
  • It also helps to be pushing for a specific solution. If there’s a built in thing they can do that would get you to stop bothering them, they’re much more likely to do something
  • (Figuring out what to ask for can be complicated. What do you want? Do you want the head teacher to tell your teacher that they can’t say things like that? Do you want a general memo going out about why you can’t say things like that? Do you want to put a letter of complaint in their file? Do you want to to be transferred into a different English class? You might be able to get one of those things to happen if you push in the right ways.)

Involving your parents:

  • If your parents are supportive and understand why this is a big deal, it might be worth talking to them about ways they might help you with this
  • Sometimes teachers and administrators who don’t listen to teenagers do listen to their parents
  • Parents can also sometimes be anti-helpful, so I don’t know whether this is a good idea or a bad idea for you. You’re the best judge of that.

Talking to other students:

  • You might be in a position to influence and/or support other students here.
  • Do you think other students think this was wrong? 
  • Do you think they know that you think it was wrong?
  • Knowing that someone else thinks it was wrong can make a huge difference to people who are vulnerable
  • There’s probably at least one other student who you could support in this way
  • (Possibly discreetly, like talk to a particular person alone at lunch and say something like: Hey, did you hear what Ms. Meanteacher said to Rina the other day during the spelling test? That was so mean/ableist! Why do teachers think that’s ok?“ Or "Why is Mr. Meanteacher always insulting us?”)

Beyond that, I’m not sure what to suggest. Do any of y'all have ideas about what might be effective in this situation? (Answers from people who are familiar with the education system in the UK would be particularly helpful.)

Do you or your followers have advice on taking those online assessments during job applications? I’m applying for jobs and many applications include an assessment at the end asking questions with multiple choice answers (ex: “I am a friendly and outgoing person” with the answers ranging from “Strongly disagree” to “Strongly agree”). Some of them are very confusing, and I feel I am marking the wrong answer often. Any advice?
realsocialskills said:
Unfortunately, I also find those completely incomprehensible. I can’t imagine what purpose they serve or how to fill them out correctly.
Do any of ‘yall have advice?


Boyfriend’s parents are coming for a visit.  I never know what to say and always end up feeling awkward and weird. Could you guys give me some suggestions for parent-in-law appropriate conversations?

realsocialskills said:

First of all, it’s normal to feel a bit awkward around in-laws. That’s not necessarily a sign that something is wrong. Being around in-laws is weird because they’re often close to your partner and not you. They also are often close to your partner in ways that you are not, and they probably cross all kinds of boundaries with him that you are careful to avoid crossing.<p

It’s a confusing and complicated relationship, and it feels awkward for a lot of people.

That said, there are principles of how to talk to in-laws that sometimes work.

Ask about stuff they do and care about:

  • If they are active in a club, ask about the club
  • If they have a hobby, ask about it
  • If they like talking about work, ask about work
  • In conversations like this, listen more than you talk, and don’t offer advice unless they ask for it

Sports is a safe topic among sports fans

  • Did you see the game last night?
  • (this works best if you also watched the game, but it can also work if you didn’t but know they like to talk about sports)

Fandoms you share:

  • Did you see the latest episode of (show you both like?)

Do any of y'all know other good topics?

Talking to people on the subway

I read some stuff online about people being really creeped out when people talk to them on the subway. I’ve had some really awesome conversations on the subway. I talk to people on the subway a lot so it occurred to me that maybe I’m creeping people out. Do you have any tips on figuring out when subway conversations are or aren’t okay?
realsocialskills said:
I’m not entirely sure - I don’t really know how to initiate that kind of conversation. I know what it’s like on the receiving end, though. I’ve had some really good conversations initiated by strangers on the subway. I think I know a bit about it, but not enough to tell you how, since it’s a skill I don’t have.
Here’s what I think I know:
Do not hit on people in the subway. (Some people might be ok with that, but most people are going to find it threatening. Don’t do it.)
And don’t half hit on them. And don’t do it if there’s a reasonable chance that they will think you’re hitting on them. (Eg: even if you mean it innocently, complimenting a woman on a pin she’s wearing on her chest is probably a poor way to start a conversation, especially if you are a man.)
If someone has earbuds in, leave them alone. People often put in earbuds specifically to send the message that they do not want to interact. 
If someone is having a conversation about something deeply personal, leave them alone. (Eg: If someone is having an emotional conversation with a friend about the death of a relative, it is not a good time to try to join in and talk about death.)
Pay attention to who else is in the car. If it’s a full car, talking to a stranger is more likely to be ok than if there are only a couple of people there. If the car is empty, approaching strangers is going to seem like a threat, especially after dark.
Don’t touch them. And be careful about physical distance. If you walk up to someone and stand way too close, hover over them, or sit next to them uninvited on a mostly-empty car, it’s going to seem threatening even if you mean it innocently.
If you intitiate a conversation, make it clear that it’s an offer, not a demand. For instance: “You’re reading that book too? It’s one of my favorites”. Or: “I overheard you two talking about Sesame Street - is it ok if I talk about Sesame Street too?”

If they seem uncomfortable, back off.

That’s what I think I know. Do any of y'all know more about how to have conversations with strangers on the subway?

follow up question about tumblr hyperbole

Is it ok to use tumblr fake upset hyperbole in asks, or is that only for posts and reblogs?

I’ve only ever seen it used as a third-person kind of thing.

Like where SCREW YOU I DIDN’T NEED MY HEART ANYWAY is something you say about something to another fan of the thing, not to the creator of the thing.

Is that something people also say to creators directly?

Computer games to teach boundaries?

I love this blog so, so, so much and I am so happy it exists. I go to school for special education and game design and I have devoted a large portion of my life working with children with specific needs, helping them to learn new tricks to feel more included and comfortable in social spaces. I was eventually hoping to create a video game that would help to teach these very concepts, as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, if you wouldn’t mind sharing ^_^
realsocialskills said:
I don’t know huge amounts about game design, but I’ve wondered if there’s a way to use games to teach people about boundaries. 
Maybe you could make a game about saying no?
And I’m not talking about “say no to drugs” or “resist peer pressure to do things adults think you shouldn’t” or any of that. I’m talking about figuring out what you want, and saying no when you don’t want that thing.
I think it might help to make a list of situations in which people might be pressured into making choices one way or the other. Like:
  • when adults want you to be friends with someone
  • when people want to play with you
  • when someone wants to borrow your toy
  • when someone wants your phone number
  • when someone wants to be your girlfriend/boyfriend
  • when someone wants a hug

And then make game situations involving those things? This would be hard to write, but I bet it could be done. (One reason it would be hard to write is that saying no doesn’t always work even when you have every right to say no, and it’s important not to teach kids that it’s their fault when they can’t make people stop hurting them.)

It’s really, really important for people to be able to assert boundaries. And people with disabilities are often taught from early childhood that they aren’t allowed to have any boundaries, dislike anything, or say no. 
What do y'all think? Is there a way this might work as an educational game?

I’m autistic, and my mom outs me against my will to anyone she has known for more than 5 minutes. How do I get her to stop?
realsocialskills said:
Unfortunately, I can’t think of any way to get her to stop that seems likely to work. I’m posting this in hopes that someone else has ideas.
Have any of y'all succeeded at getting a parent to stop outing you?

For the sake of vocabulary-building

What are some good words that are either:

  • Swears (eg: fuck)
  • Not-quite-swears that are clearly substitutes for actual cussing (eg: exclaiming fudge or sugar, saying something stinks instead of saying it sucks, etc) 
  • Clean insult words/phrases (“go step on legos”, asinine)

These are important words, and I know y'all know some I don’t.

Question for y'all: dementia

I don’t know very much about interacting with people with dementia, and I’m hoping that some of y'all do.

Here are things I know:

  • Folks with dementia are still people
  • They are also still adults; dementia doesn’t make someone into a little child
  • Their preferences matter
  • Their consent matters

The problem is that standard verbal methods of assessing consent are often not effective with people with dementia:

  • Some people can’t answer open-ended questions
  • Some people can’t answer yes-or-no questions, or can only do so some of the time
  • Some people vocalize in ways that may or may not be intended as words
  • Some people repeat words over and over in ways that may or may not be intended as communication
  • Some people have very limited voluntary movement and expressive body language

Also, communicating with people with dementia can be harder than communicating with people with developmental disabilities that affect communication. This is because people with dementia don’t usually have a lifetime of experience being disabled and compensating for disability. 

I’m not sure how to assess consent in people with dementia when my usual strategies for getting an unambiguous yes or no don’t work. I’m also not sure what my defaults should be, or what guesses I should be making about what people might want.

Do any of y'all know things about treating people with dementia right?

I kindof need the accessible seats on busses and kindof don’t need them all that badly. Sometimes I just sit in them. Sometimes I sit in them as long as there’s still another one free, but move if they’re all taken. Sometimes I move if I see someone coming onto the bus who looks as if they likely need it more than me. Sometimes I sit in a seat near the accessible seats, because it’s almost as good but there are no rules about leaving them for others.

realsocialskills said:

My situation is similar. (Although I’ve been realizing that I need the seats more than I thought I did, and that it’s ok for me to sit in them if that’s what makes riding the bus possible for me.)

I don’t have much else to say about that, but I think more needs to be said.

Any of y'all want to weigh in?

I’m really interested getting a degree in Social Work…but I’m wondering how much math you need in order to get a degree. I know each school is different, but wouldn’t the amount of math you need be pretty much the same? I ask this because I have an extreme fear of math. I get severe anxiety whenever I have to do even simple math in front of teachers.
realsocialskills said:
I’m not sure. Here’s what I do know:
  • In order to become a licensed clinical social worker in the US, you will need an MA as well as an undergrad degree.
  • I think once you get to the MA part, it is possible to avoid math classes
  • It probably is not possible to avoid math entirely undergrad
  • But there are often classes that count as math which aren’t particularly mathy
  • And at some schools, math classes and science classes are considered interchangeable for purposes of meeting distribution requirements
  • It’s worth looking into exactly what will be required when you’re considering schools, because it’s not the same everywhere
  • Also, many colleges have online math classes. If your anxiety is about doing math in front of teachers, that might be a good option for you

Does anyone who knows more about math phobia or social work degrees want to weigh in?

Getting supervisors to explain things

Do you have any suggestions for how to ask supervisors and employers to explain something to you in a way that they’ll understand you actually want to know? Ex: I had an issue at work with a girl using her sister’s employee discount at my register, and I didn’t know they were sisters? They could have been married for all I knew and my manager came over to talk to me about it and when I asked how to find out if a person is allowed to use the discount, she basically just said it was obvious.
realsocialskills said:
Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything that works particularly reliably.
One thing I’ve found is that a lot of people really do have trouble understanding that other people don’t know things they know.
Sometimes, if you are really explicit about the fact that you care but don’t quite understand, they eventually get it.
For instance:
  • Manager: You can’t keep letting her sister use her discount card. She’s done it several times at your register.
  • Employee: How do I tell if a person is allowed to use the discount?
  • Manager: Just don’t let people use it if they’re not allowed to.
  • Employee: I definitely want to make sure I’m following the rules, but I’m actually having a lot of trouble telling who is allowed to use the cards. I thought they might have been married or something. How can I tell?

Sometimes that works. Sometimes it just makes them more annoyed. Sometimes it makes them more annoyed, and then works. Sometimes it backfires. Sometimes you have to back down and let them end the conversation by just letting them say it is obvious.

It’s not super reliable, but it’s more reliable than anything else I know of at getting supervisors to explain things.

Another possibility is to accept that the boss isn’t going to explain it to you, and to ask another employee. Sometimes, peers are willing to believe that you don’t understand something and explain it to you, even if the boss doesn’t.

Do any of y'all have strategies for this?

I teach children and I don’t have much experience. Do you have any thoughts for how to interact with twins and make them feel respected as individuals? I can tell the girls in my class apart by their hair, but I sometimes mess up and blurt out the wrong name, and I can tell it hurts them. Any advice would be appreciated.

realsocialskills said:

That’s a really good question, and not something I have direct experience with.

I have a couple of guesses:

  • I wonder if it might help to make a bulletin board where all of the kids in your class could put a picture of themselves and something about their interests?
  • It seems to me that having something like that in the room might be a good reminder that you know that they are different people who like different things
  • What if you had *all* of the kids wear name tags? (I don’t know how logistically feasible that is, but I wish they would have done that in my school because I never once managed to learn the names of all the other kids in my class).
  • I think it’s important to apologize when you call them the wrong names, and not to get defensive about it if they'e angry or hurt. 

Beyond that, I’m not sure what to suggest

Do any of y'all have experience being a twin or teaching twins?

How do you ask someone for more information about a situation - as they’re asking for advise, and you want to give accurate advise because you know you don’t have all the info to give informed advise — without them thinking you’re doubting them or judging them? — This is something I struggle with because I want what I say to be accurate and pertinent but I don’t know how to ask for more information. Any advise?
realsocialskills said:
I think sometimes it can help to say explicitly that you believe them, want to help, and need more information. Eg:
  • “I’m sorry that’s happening to you. I think I need to know a bit more about what’s going on in order to give you good advice. Can you tell me ___?”

Another approach is to ask them more about their needs than about the situation. This isn’t always the right approach, but in some situations it works well, eg:

  • What do you need right now? Are you trying to find a safe place to go? Advice on how to talk to them about the situation? Something else?

I think there are probably other things you can do, but I’m not sure what they are. Do any of y'all have suggestions?

Writing autistic characters

I’ve found a lot of guides for what NOT to do with autistic characters in writing, and basic “to dos” like “treat them like people.” These have been useful and I have taken it to heart. But I’m actually struggling with how to show that a character IS neurodivergent without relying on stereotypes or anything offensive. It’s a med/fantasy setting, too, so I don’t even know if they would have a diagnostic label. Any suggestions?
realsocialskills said:
I don’t write fiction, so mostly I’m going to turn this over to followers.
There are a few things I can think of to suggest, though:
Read a lot of things by autistic people describing their experiences.
  • If you want to write autistic characters, you have to know a lot about autistic people
  • The best way is to find out about what people say about themselves
  • Read more than one perspective
  • Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking is probably a good starting point
  • Do not read stuff written by nonautistic parents of autistic children for this - that will give you information about parents; not information about autistic people

Watch/read/etc media with good autistic characters:

  • The only thing I can think of offhand is Community seasons 1-3. Abed is a very good, non-stereotypical autistic character. 
  • There are probably other things too, but I don’t know what they are

Make your character’s disability matter:

  • Autistic people are disabled
  • Autistic people are also capable of doing worthwhile things
  • These two facts do not cancel each other out
  • If you want to write a realistic autistic character, their disability has to create practical problems from time to time
  • This does not have to be a big deal or a major plot point or a focus, it just has to be there
  • It’s ok to write stories where it’s a major plot point, but it doesn’t *have* to be.
  • People with disabilities are disabled all the time and it causes a lot of practical problems, but we do things other than be disabled, and we care about things other than the practical disability-related difficulties we face.
  • Make sure that disability matters and that it isn’t the only thing that matters

Be realistic about social violence:

  • If the culture you are writing is anything like ours, your autistic characters will be treated poorly in it
  • If you want to do justice to your autistic characters, it is important to show that. Because the way they are treated influences every aspect of their lives, including how they see themselves
  • If you write a culture in which autistic characters are treated as fully human all of the time, it will need to be very different from our current culture
  • And one of the ways in which it will need to be different is that there will be a *lot* more severely disabled people around being treated equally in public space
  • If your autistic character is the only disabled character in the story, it’s because there are a lot of other autistic folks being kept out of the space they’re in.
  • The pervasive discrimination against people like them will affect who they are. Acknowledge that context, or else change it and write in their disabled peers.
Get feedback from autistic people about specific things you’re considering, and about drafts:
  • You’re probably going to write in some stereotypes on your first attempt
  • There’s no way to completely avoid that at first, getting this right will take practice
  • But it’s better if you don’t make your initial, inevitably somewhat stereotyped, attempts really public
  • Get autistic people to beta your initial attempts so you can get some experience first
  • If you post in #askanautistic, you will likely be able to find someone willing to help you
Do any of y'all have suggestions?

Saying no to unwanted touch

Anonymous asked:

One of my friends has recently begun touching me a lot, either by grabbing my hand or knee etc in situations that don’t necessarily feel they warrant such contact and don’t actually feel organic.

At best this is just a case of her being too physical and making me uncomf, at worst, knowing that I’m queer, it may be that she is trying to make me her “experiment,” despite also knowing I’m in a monog. relat.

I can’t tell exactly if I’m overreacting or not but either way, if this continues, I’m not at all sure I know how to handle the situation. It’s difficult for me to imagine navigating this type of conversation, esp if I want to keep the friendship (since I know what I would do if this was a situation with a man, or someone with whom I didn’t want to maintain a friendship).

Plus, being a survivor makes navigating all of this all the more difficult. I would appreciate your advice, thank you.

realsocialskills said:

I don’t have a lot of experience defusing this kind of situation successfully, so I’m not sure my answer will be a good one.

This is my best guess:

First of all, I think you’re probably not overreacting:

  • When people repeatedly touch others in invasive ways, it’s usually not an accident
  • It’s really, really common for people to touch others in invasive ways that are just-barely-deniable
  • People who think others are touching them in creepy ways are usually right
  • This is especially true if the person who is touching you invasively *used* to only touch you in ways you were ok with

Second of all, regardless of why she’s touching you, it’s ok to want it to stop:

  • There are all kinds of reasons that friends sometimes don’t want to be touched in various ways
  • If you don’t want her touching your leg or holding your hand, it’s absolutely your right to have it stop
  • If she’s doing this unintentionally, telling her in the moment to stop might solve the problem
  • Friends do sometimes inadvertently violate the boundaries of friends, *and if they respect their friends, they stop when they find out it isn’t welcome*

Things you might say (possibly in combination with pulling away or pushing her hand away from where you don’t want it to be):

  • “I don’t like that”
  • “I don’t want to hold hands”
  • “Please don’t touch my leg”
  • And if it is repeated, you might add “I meant it”.

She might respond by angrily denying that she’s doing anything wrong. That’s a sign that something is seriously wrong:

  • Telling her to stop touching you in ways you don’t like is not an accusation
  • It just means telling her that you don’t like it and want it to stop
  • It might hurt to hear that, because nobody likes hearing that they’ve done something wrong. But if she lashes out at you about it, that’s a sign that she feels entitled to your body
  • And whether or not it’s sexually motivated, that’s a major problem
  • I wrote this post and this post about that kind of reaction

Captain Awkward also has a post on unwanted and possibly-sexual touching from friends  which might be helpful.

Any of y'all have suggestions?