My co-worker keeps on touching me while he talks or works on a project. We are both male. I believe he does not mean it sexually, but tries to do it by habit. He hits me very slowly. As slow as it can not be count as hitting in any legal sense. I still do not want him to touch me. How can I best communicate this to him?

Update: I am located in Karachi, Pakistan.


Today, after suggesting him not to do so, he again did it. What should I do?

  • 31
    I have never heard of a religious view which requires you to hit someone of another religion. Can you please explain that more?
    – David K
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 12:04
  • 5
    Can you actually tell us what religion(s) we're talking about here? It might help someone else who ends up in a similar situation Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 14:25
  • @ErnestFriedman-Hill: I would have done so but I don't want to offend anyone.
    – user1061
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 8:30
  • 1
    @FahadUddin I don't think anyone would take offence since this is him interpretting his religion is a certain way and acting on it. Saying "Buddists hit Muslims" would likely be offensive but saying "His interpretation of Buddism requires him to hit Muslims that he interacts with" would not since this is a statement about him and his individual motivations rather than all people of his faith.
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 22:05

4 Answers 4


His religious views force him to hit people of my religion. He hits me very slowly. As slow as it can not be count as hitting

You know that, and he knows that. And both of you don't know that the other one knows.

In any way, it is wrong. And you can gently ask him not to do so.

As slow as it can not be count as hitting.

Even if it's a slow pat, if you are not comfortable, then he shouldn't be doing it. And how does he know that you aren't comfortable? You tell him that you are not comfortable.

  • 4
    Thanks for the answer. Today he again did it. I went to his room and politely told him that I get offended when he touches me and he should not do that as I am his co-worker.
    – user1061
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 8:29
  • See. Talking always helps. :) Kudos!!
    – Dawny33
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 8:31
  • Today he repeated it again.
    – user1061
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 12:46
  • 6
    That's sad. As he has crossed the limit, you might want to try one of these. This or this or maybe complain to your manager or your incharge. Before taking the situation outside you both, try talking to him one last time. You might want to be a bit stricter with the warning.
    – Dawny33
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 12:50

This question strikes me as odd. At first he was "touching" you but now it sounds like he's pretending to "hit" you which is different "touching." It's unclear how religion plays into this at all.

In any event whatever it is next time he does it just say, "Sir, please don't touch/pretend hit me from this point forward."

  • 7
    I would remove the Sir and be blunter "Please do not do that again" is enough
    – Pepone
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 22:36
  • 7
    The next time "Do not ever do that again", with a finger poking hard into his chest.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 7:58
  • @gnasher729 Maybe he has to do it now. :D (Look at the recent edit of the question.)
    – Dawny33
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 12:52

Looking at your comments, it seems that he doesn't really care about if it makes you feel uncomfortable. If you haven't spoken with a higher-up about it (manager, HR, something) then this will continue. If you have and he continues, keep bothering them. If nothing changes, leave the company if it's really that big of a deal.

UNORTHODOX: If you let them know every time it happens, and tell him to stop every time it happens, and neither does anything, make them feel uncomfortable. Whenever you see them, lick your lips really loudly, when they touch you, rub their arm hair or neck hair, never break eye contact, flare your nostrils and breathe only through your mouth. In my experience*, they either get the picture real quick and stop doing what they're doing, or they take it to the higher-ups. If they action on his complaints and not yours, leave.

*Results may vary

  • I doubt passive-aggressive fake responses will help, particularly in this situation.
    – SeraM
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 14:57

Not an answer, but slightly too long for a comment (and you have already accepted an answer, in any case).

You should not have deleted " his religious views force him to hit people of my religion" from your as it is very relevant. To whom is he going to listen - you & HR or his God?

Also, he is presumably saying some like “you are of a lower caste than me, therefore I strike you”, and implying that you are, whether through following a different religion (or not at all) or an accident of birth (not born into his caste/religion) in some way inferior to him.

To westerners reading this, it may seem bizarre, but that is simply a fact of how things are in your country.

Depending on how prevalent this behaviour is, you may never be able to avoid it as long as you live.

On the other hand, maybe he is overdoing it a little and other followers of his religion have long abandoned this behaviour.

I do not see why you should change job because of this (in some countries he could be terminated for persisting with this behaviour; I don’t know about yours).

Nor do I know how much he wants/needs this particular job. If the answer is “a lot”, can HR threaten him with termination?

There is so much here that we cannot know. Can you please tell us how the matter gets resolved - if it ever does?

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