Stop touching me!
March 29, 2011 6:05 PM Subscribe
My coworker is touching me and I need to make her stop without making a scene.
The first instance: she was leaving for the day and she placed her hand on my shoulder while I was at my desk while saying goodbye. I did not know she was behind me, so she startled me. It wasn't a tap or a caress, just placing her hand on me for a couple of seconds.
So, that was innocent enough and though it was a little too familiar for me, I certainly wasn't going to mention it. But then yesterday, she came up behind me and ran her fingers through the back of my hair while saying hello. Again, she startled me, and I almost instinctively whipped around and hit her. I was so shocked I couldn't form words.
We're both women in our 30s. I don't know her orientation, but I don't think this is a come-on. We're the same race, nationality and class so this isn't a cultural thing. I think that we have very different boundaries. If this were a guy I'd be very assertive but I'm having trouble gauging what to do here. We work in a professional office environment for a large corporation.
We both work with my husband. She does not report to him, but he is at a higher level than both of us, and she works on projects for him. I'm a temp and she and my husband are both permanent employees. He intends to stay there for awhile and I don't want to sour his working relationships with anyone. She and I report to the same person. My husband is at the same level as that person and reports to someone else.
We work on similar projects, with the same people, but not generally with each other. I think she feels very friendly towards me because our working environment is 90% male and I think she likes having another woman to chitchat with. I like her fine but she's not someone I'd hang out with after work.
I cannot stand being "surprise touched" by anyone but my husband, probably because of parental abuse. I had what felt like mild PTSD for hours after the second incident, even though I knew intellectually she just meant to be friendly. I do not know what to say or how to deal with this at all. I was dreading coming in to work today and I was very relieved that she was not in the office all day.