- Gender and Relationships
How to Deal with Unwanted PDA
Ah, the classic issue of unwanted Public Displays of Affection.
This hub will deal with both sides: There's the uncomfortable one being affected upon, and there's the one having to awkwardly witness the affection from afar.
What Is It?
What makes some PDA unwanted and some of it seemingly okay? Many Americans (I only want to speak about my own country because of cultural differences such as those in the video to the right) do not mind a nearby couple holding hands or sitting close together in a booth.
And I'm pretty sure that most Americans would be fairly uncomfortable with a nearby couple whose hands are clearly under each other's clothes and tongues are clearly down each other's throats.
So where is the line between tolerable and disgusting?
It seems that everyone's personal "line" is different, whether they be okay with their own kissing but not okay with that of others, vice versa, or any mix of any of these.
Instead of trying to make everyone's morals align with ours, then, let's develop some methods of how to deal with excessive PDA. When is it right to ask for it to stop, and when should we just walk away?
When It's Someone Else Getting Loved On
As long as both of them seem to be enjoying it (and you can bet they will be), the best thing to do is probably to ignore it. After all, do you really think you'll change the behavior of complete strangers at first meeting? Of course, if you're in a bad mood and think it will make you feel better, go for the gold at calling them out for being gross.
In any other case, it's probably best to walk in the other direction.
This is, of course, unless they are blocking your path or otherwise preventing you from going about your business. This might be the case in a small hallway, on a bus or subway, or in various other cramped spaces. In this case, I think you should go to town in any fashion you feel comfortable. This can include (depending on your level of anger/annoyance, necessity of getting to your destination, and quality of outgoing personality):
- Tapping one or both of them on the shoulder.
- Poking them very hard in the fleshy part of the arm.
- Saying "Excuse me," in your most obnoxious voice.
- Verbally reaming them for obstructing your daily activities.
Rest assured that you have sufficiently embarrassed them to stop for at least a few minutes and have therefore bettered someone else's day.
When It's You Getting Loved On
This is, of course, slightly more complicated. You might not mind hurting the feelings of the strangers or otherwise embarrassing them, but you probably don't want to do this to your significant other!
Try to get him (or her) in a good, talkative mood when the two of you are alone. It may be easier if you are not in public (like a restaurant) because that eliminates the possibility of the behavior arising before you can start the conversation!
You'll want to approach the subject lightly, as it's hard to predict how your partner will react. Try opening with an "I" statement, as this will focus the attention on how you feel instead of what he is doing. It should help avoid him jumping to defensiveness at first. An "I" statement works like this:
"I feel ____ when you ____ because ____, and I need ____."
It might help, at this point, to immediately say what you do like. Remind him that you love kissing him, or hugging him, but that you feel uncomfortable doing it when other people are watching. If you feel like you might eventually be more comfortable, tell him that. And tell him what you are okay with doing in public. Is holding hands okay? Say that, and then remember to initiate hand-holding often.
Don't be offended by him (or her) showing affection for you in public. While it may make you uncomfortable, remember that he just wants to be close to you. You can acknowledge this when you confront him, and reassure him that you want to be close to him, too.
A relationship is about communication, comfort, and affection. So as long as there's a balance of the three, you'll both be better off.
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We can never stop teenage hormones from surging, but we can certainly hope that adult decency will eventually kick in. Otherwise, we gotta just keep on going!
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