So you’ve found your person and you’re absolutely crazy about them. But you also like your friends and don’t want to gross them out. How much PDA (public displays of affection) can you get away with?
Hand holding is a surprisingly sensitive topic for some people. It says a lot with just a small gesture. It’s intimate but casual, and is often interpreted as, “We are dating.” While this interpretation is a little assumptive as friends and side hoes sometimes hold hands, it can also strike a chord in those around you. If you’re a single person and you’re bitter about being single, seeing two people holding hands around you can be a lot like if someone bragged about getting into the college you got rejected from. In that sense, hand holding is pompous and annoying. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold hands. Really, just be aware of the people you’re with. If your friend just had a nasty break up, then maybe save the hand holding for later.
Eye contact is also surprisingly offensive to some people, especially since we were all told our entire lives that it’s rude not to make eye contact with the people we’re talking to. For the people around you, though, eye contact can be something incredibly intimate and uncomfortable to watch.
The rule of thumb for cuddling in front of other people is that no part of your body should cross over theirs. If you start crossing limbs or sitting on their lap, then you are crossing a line. You can rest your head on their shoulder and lean against them, but that’s really the extent of it. Save the cuddling for your really cute couple movie nights.
Kissing isn’t necessarily terrible. Obviously don’t start making out with them in front of other people, but a peck to say “goodbye” or “hello” isn’t going to offend anyone. If it’s nighttime and the streets are a little dark and empty anyway, do what you have to do, but please don’t swap gum in the middle of a busy hallway. If you’re at a small party, please don’t make out with them. That, mixed with alcohol, is incredibly uncomfortable and can lead to worse PDA.
Do not kiss any part of their body that is not their cheek, head or mouth in front of other people.
Don’t try to pull off some sort of “Fifty Shades of Grey” sort of public intercourse. Just don’t.
Dating someone and being physically close with them can be amazing, but showing that off in front of your friends can create tension that you really don’t want to have to deal with. Be aware of those around you, especially your friends. Strangers still need some consideration, but at the very least you won’t have to talk to them about it later. Saving your displays of affection for later will make it more intimate and a lot less uncomfortable.
Congratulations on not being single, just keep the Spice Girls in mind and remember that relationships are temporary but “friendship never ends.”
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.