Dear Blake,

I have a friend and co-worker who likes to play with my hair, rub my back and put her hands on me in general. I am not a touchy-feely kind of person with anyone, and it makes me very uncomfortable when she does this. Is there a polite way of telling her to stop without making her feel uncomfortable or hurting her feelings? I’m not a “beat around the bush” kind of person, and I sometimes lack the tact of putting things nicely.

Signed, Charlotte
From Springfield, Illinois

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Dear Charlotte,

Unwanted physical contact can be very awkward, especially in the workplace. But there are certain things you can do that will not only stop her from touching you, that she’ll eventually request a transfer if not outright quit. Ok, here are some of my suggestions. You said she likes playing with your hair, so I suggest you do the same thing to her, but instead yank some of hers out. And then tell her you are using her locks to stuff pillows that you are making for under privileged children. Or you can grab her blouse and tear it, and then tell her that you were thinking about buying a blouse exactly like that, and you were trying to determine if the fabric is durable or cheap. During lunchtime in the cafeteria, punch her in the stomach while she’s eating, and then tell her what she was consuming is unhealthy and you were doing her a favor, and in time she’ll thank you. But if you want to take a gentler approach, stand behind and massage her neck, and gradually begin increasing the pressure on her windpipe. And while she’s struggling to breathe, tell her what you’re doing will strengthen her throat muscles so she could probably live an additional 20 seconds if she was ever transported back into time to the old west through a time machine, and was being hung for cattle rustling. I hope this helps.

Blake

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