i love my friends, but it is not ever okay to grab someone from behind if they don't know you are there. or to snatch them up for a hug or kiss them on the cheek or pet their bald head or... regardless of whether you've got permission to hug, kiss, pet, etc please stop this shit (unless you have specific permission to grab from behind while you're at X because they like the scare).
in recent weeks people have done a form of this to me when i was getting off the subway, on the street, at the club, and out for food. please, i beg, never ever blindside someone. i can guarantee you that several of the people you know have had trauma or training of some sort which means if you do that their brain might work like mine.
1) where am i and what's my escape route?
2) is there anyone here who can back me up?
3) do i need to fight? if so what's my best course of action?
4) who the fuck has me (size matters in self defense)?
5) oh, that's Z - stop. do not hit, kick or scream, you know them. (also, Z is fucking lucky i took the time for step 5 before i kicked them in the groin or elbowed their face hard enough to cause a nosebleed or...)
6) spend the next 30 minutes plus trying to come down from being triggered, probably need to go hide in a quiet corner to get myself under control
7) try to pretend i'm okay so that i can get back to whatever i was doing before my friend grabbed me
8) if i have time have a talk with them about why what they did isn't ok regardless of who they are or who they've grabbed
9) hope that my afternoon/plans/night/etc isn't totally ruined by the adrenaline rush, fear, anger, come down cycle (note - it often fucks my day up bad; i just walked home rather than going the rest of the way to the pharmacy to pick up my meds because i needed to retreat and regroup)
call their name, move so they can see you, at most tap their arm/shoulder gently to get their attention. or wait a minute and see if they turn around - they'll be much happier to see you without the flight or fight response. trust me, and thank you.
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eta (from failbook discussion) the thing is, i know it's not just happening to me; i've seen it happen to other women who freeze up and get silent. and some of the guys i know too - only they're uncomfortable saying anything, especially when it's an attractive female friend who's done it. so it's something everyone needs to be aware of - it's one thing to grab someone when you've already made sure you've made eye contact and that's normal for your interactions, and it's a whole other ballpark when they're unaware you're there. but i'm okay now - the rant actually helped, and i heated up pulled pork bbq for dinner while i calmed down. i'll get meds tomorrow instead.