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Don't touch me!

Ms. Meniscus gives advice to a woman on how to politely avoid friendly workplace touching, such as a pat on the back.

Ms. Meniscus,

 I have RA. Some co-workers touch my arms or shoulders. It is very painful. I haven't said anything for fear of consequences (no one at work knows about my condition). How do I get them to stop touching me?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

An unwanted workplace hug, touch on the arm or a pat on the shoulder – believe me, one needn’t have arthritis to not want a coworkers paws all over them. Since you’ve decided it’s best for you not to reveal your condition, my advice is to simply be polite and not make a big deal out of it.  Arthritis or not, a lot of people don't like to be touched at work. But there's no need to yell, "Get your hands off of me!"  When/if a coworker touches you, smile and say,  “I’m sorry.  I’m just not a touchy person. Please don’t touch me.” Then quickly change the topic. Lunch?

--M

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