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Dealing with non-religious men and shomer negia
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amother




OP
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:26 am
[sub]
I work with a lot of masorti clientele as a photographer. I never shake their hand, but recently, a man touched me on the shoulder a couple of times.
I know it was just out of habit.
What should I say?
Usually when they put their hand out to shake mine, I just kind of bow forward slightly and smile.
I never found the right words to say and think it makes it more awkward, but here there is a more fine line that was crossed.
I asked a rabbi and it's not assur for me to be touched, but obviously I'm not comfortable with it.
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singleagain




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:34 am
You don't have to make it a religious issue. To can just say "I do not like to be touched" everyone has their boundaries. You are allowed to enforce yours.

I would approach them at a quite time and explain that you simply do not appreciate any touch
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amother




Seagreen
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:35 am
I wouldn’t say anything. Talk about making it uncomfortable!
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amother




Seashell
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:44 am
amother [ Seagreen ] wrote:
I wouldn’t say anything. Talk about making it uncomfortable!


So she should be uncomfortable so that the man is not uncomfortable?
No woman, regardless of religion, should have to be touched if it makes them uncomfortable
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amother




Coral
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:45 am
amother [ Seagreen ] wrote:
I wouldn’t say anything. Talk about making it uncomfortable!


This. Saying 'I don't like to be touched' to someone who taps you on the shoulder is ridiculous and makes a huge deal out of nothing. He's not harassing you, for heaven's sake, but that's how you'll make him feel.

Just try to move away/stand at an angle that this is not possible.
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singleagain




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:48 am
amother [ Seashell ] wrote:
So she should be uncomfortable so that the man is not uncomfortable?
No woman, regardless of religion, should have to be touched if it makes them uncomfortable


This!

Plus the best time to make boundaries is when it first happens you don't want to wait a month and then suddenly "why wasn't it a problem all last month? You never used to be this stuck up/cold/unfriendly."

Any human can deny contact if they want.

If you Google workplace and casual physical touch you will find tons of articles about what is / is not recommended.
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yersp




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:49 am
singleagain wrote:
You don't have to make it a religious issue. To can just say "I do not like to be touched" everyone has their boundaries. You are allowed to enforce yours.

I would approach them at a quite time and explain that you simply do not appreciate any touch


This is the best piece of advice!
It's a certain mindset if you bring in religion. When you say it that it's for yourself because you don't like to be touched, then people would be more willing to avoid any touch as opposed to it being a religious thing. Then they might consider you a fanatic.
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singleagain




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 7:49 am
amother [ Coral ] wrote:
This. Saying 'I don't like to be touched' to someone who taps you on the shoulder is ridiculous and makes a huge deal out of nothing. He's not harassing you, for heaven's sake, but that's how you'll make him feel.

Just try to move away/stand at an angle that this is not possible.


OP said touched, not taped. There's a difference.
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amother




Forestgreen
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 8:55 am
Will you be in contact with this person for a while or is it just a one time thing?
If you know that you will be working with someone for an extended time I would say something. But one day? And you were told it's ok. I'd let it fly, unless it's bordering on inappropriate.
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amother




Silver
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 9:24 am
This has nothing to do with religion. Just say that you're not comfortable being touched or tapped.
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lavenderchimes




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 9:25 am
I always say it's a religious thing. I meet a LOT of not-frum men, and feel that avoiding a handshake without any explanation is weirder than not touching men for religious reasons. I always smile a lot, and explain that it's not personal (to them,) it's just a religious thing:) It seems like most people then understand (those who want ask questions, which I am happy to answer,) and I rarely have problems with men casually touching me, because they already know that I have a weird religious thing, lol. Sometimes, they don't quite get it, and touch my shoulder, or whatever, in which case ... if it's someone I will be in regular contact with, I explain further that in Orthodox Judaism, men and women don't touch at all. If it's someone I will only meet once or twice for a short time, I let it go.

I think it's easier for people to accept and understand (and not take personally) religious reasons than a woman just randomly asking not to be touched.
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singleagain




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 9:34 am
lavenderchimes wrote:
I always say it's a religious thing. I meet a LOT of not-frum men, and feel that avoiding a handshake without any explanation is weirder than not touching men for religious reasons. I always smile a lot, and explain that it's not personal (to them,) it's just a religious thing:) It seems like most people then understand (those who want ask questions, which I am happy to answer,) and I rarely have problems with men casually touching me, because they already know that I have a weird religious thing, lol. Sometimes, they don't quite get it, and touch my shoulder, or whatever, in which case ... if it's someone I will be in regular contact with, I explain further that in Orthodox Judaism, men and women don't touch at all. If it's someone I will only meet once or twice for a short time, I let it go.

I think it's easier for people to accept and understand (and not take personally) religious reasons than a woman just randomly asking not to be touched.



Maybe that used to be the case. But I don't think it hold true anymore. You can just state your boundaries bc you deserve boundaries
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amother




Crimson
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 11:32 am
amother [ Forestgreen ] wrote:
Will you be in contact with this person for a while or is it just a one time thing?
If you know that you will be working with someone for an extended time I would say something. But one day? And you were told it's ok. I'd let it fly, unless it's bordering on inappropriate.


This.

I've told coworkers that I can't make contact with men for religious reasons. But if I go to a one-day professional development course and a man taps me on the shoulder or whatever, I just let it go.
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amother




Sapphire
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 11:49 am
I work in a completely non Jewish environment and 2 of my female co-workers don't like to be touched. They say so outright. Even I don't shake their hands.
Your probably embarrassed because it's a religious thing. You don't have to say it's that.. just say: I really don't like to be touched by strangers.
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lavenderchimes




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 1:48 pm
singleagain wrote:
Maybe that used to be the case. But I don't think it hold true anymore. You can just state your boundaries bc you deserve boundaries


I don't want to argue, but ... that hasn't really been my experience. Officially and legally, yes, you can state your boundaries, and no matter what they are or why you have them, everyone is supposed to respect them. In reality, people don't always respect your random boundaries, and even if they do, they can still think that you are a crazy you-know-what for "not wanting to be touched, which is beyond most (non-frum familiar) men's comprehension. I'm sure it also depends on the circles you are in, etc, etc, but I have had a MUCH easier and more pleasant time, been more respected, and had less people give me flack since I started saying it was religious. And that has been my policy for the past five years - tell them it's a religious thing. And I always say it REALLY cheerfully, which I think makes a huge difference:)
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singleagain




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 1:58 pm
lavenderchimes wrote:
I don't want to argue, but ... that hasn't really been my experience. Officially and legally, yes, you can state your boundaries, and no matter what they are or why you have them, everyone is supposed to respect them. In reality, people don't always respect your random boundaries, and even if they do, they can still think that you are a crazy you-know-what for "not wanting to be touched, which is beyond most (non-frum familiar) men's comprehension. I'm sure it also depends on the circles you are in, etc, etc, but I have had a MUCH easier and more pleasant time, been more respected, and had less people give me flack since I started saying it was religious. And that has been my policy for the past five years - tell them it's a religious thing. And I always say it REALLY cheerfully, which I think makes a huge difference:)


Right here I think you hit the nail on the head. The way you say it, makes all the difference. I know a guy who told an older lady that he doesn't touch for religious reasons. He got a little too detailed for a passing explanation. And is not been well received.
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Ruchel




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 2:53 pm
If you'll see them again, explain
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naturalmom5




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 4:44 pm
lavenderchimes wrote:
I don't want to argue, but ... that hasn't really been my experience. Officially and legally, yes, you can state your boundaries, and no matter what they are or why you have them, everyone is supposed to respect them. In reality, people don't always respect your random boundaries, and even if they do, they can still think that you are a crazy you-know-what for "not wanting to be touched, which is beyond most (non-frum familiar) men's comprehension. I'm sure it also depends on the circles you are in, etc, etc, but I have had a MUCH easier and more pleasant time, been more respected, and had less people give me flack since I started saying it was religious. And that has been my policy for the past five years - tell them it's a religious thing. And I always say it REALLY cheerfully, which I think makes a huge difference:)


LC really covered it well
Let me just add , maintain your boundaries
Maintain your frumkeit
BUT , finesse is everything.
If people feel weirded out , or don't perceive you aren't a team player, when layoffs or downsizing comes you'll be the first one out the door
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Boca00




 
 
 
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 8:33 pm
In regards to not knowing what to say when someone sticks out their hand, I've said, "I dont shake hands for religious reasons, but its a pleasure to meet you."
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amother




Natural
 

Post  Wed, Nov 06 2019, 11:16 pm
singleagain wrote:
You don't have to make it a religious issue. To can just say "I do not like to be touched" everyone has their boundaries. You are allowed to enforce yours.

I would approach them at a quite time and explain that you simply do not appreciate any touch


I disagree. People will have much more respect if you tell them truthfully, ‘it’s against my religious beliefs to have any physical contact with males other than my family members.’
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