Too much physical contact is discomforting

If there is one thing I like, its friendly people. I like it when I’m in the supermarket and as I’m squeezing my way through an aisle, someone smiles at me and tries to create more room for me to pass. I love it when a waiter/waitress brings my order with a smile. I love it when I enter a taxi and someone smiles and helps me with my seat.
Rachel Garuka
Rachel Garuka

If there is one thing I like, its friendly people. I like it when I’m in the supermarket and as I’m squeezing my way through an aisle, someone smiles at me and tries to create more room for me to pass. I love it when a waiter/waitress brings my order with a smile. I love it when I enter a taxi and someone smiles and helps me with my seat.

But no matter how much I appreciate the courtesy, too much ‘friendliness’ makes me uneasy. I know in Rwandan culture people greet in certain ways like kisses to the cheek, handshakes and head nods.

I totally respect that but you see, some people take the courtesy a little too far. Allow me to explain – once, I was introduced to this guy who shook my hand in a way that baffled me - I didn’t know if he was being friendly or coming onto me.

When I tried to retract my molested hand, he kept squeezing it even harder. It was an awkward moment because he was talking to the one who introduced us and not once did he turn to look at me during that time yet somehow he wouldn’t let go of my hand.

I’m sure the ones who greet a stranger like they’ve been friends for years don’t mean any harm by it but in all sincerity, it is rather uncomfortable. Of course if you are friends by all means hug it out, kiss, scream…whatever!

But if you have just met me, a simple handshake will suffice.  And by simple I mean shake it politely (it’s not a cow hoof) then let go. If you have just met me, there is really no need to make me uncomfortable with endless bizzou’s to my cheeks.

Other than the guy who molested my hand, some chap decided to give me one bizzou too many when a friend and I bumped into him. By the time he was done, I literally felt a sting in my cheeks. You know that feeling when you suck on ice too long? Something like that…He then insisted on giving me a hug and rocked me as if he were rocking a baby’s cradle!

It’s okay to be friendly but it’s not okay to make someone feel - how can I out this delicately – besieged! As of now, every time I’m being introduced to someone I make sure my hand is ready for action lest my cheeks become someone’s dummy (those things babies suck on)!

 

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