DEAR ABBY: I have a male relative who puts his arms around me, holds me close, and hugs me every time he sees me.
I have hinted that I don't like it, but to no avail. When I casually mentioned this to his wife, she smiled and said, "People who experience physical contact tend to have fewer emotional problems."
Abby, this may be true, but as far as I'm concerned, every time he does this to me, I feel manhandled, and I dislike it intensely.
If I were to take harsh measures, my other relatives would say I'm being foolish -- he is just being friendly.
Please tell me how to handle this situation. I am not a child. -- YOUNG FEMALE ADULT
DEAR YOUNG FEMALE ADULT: Quit hinting, and when this male relative approaches you, give him the straight-arm and this short speech: "From now on, no more hugging, please. I don't mean to be unfriendly, but I really am not into hugging."
And if his wife again interjects her opinion with regard to physical contact and emotional problems, you smile and tell her that you don't need that much physical contact -- and you'll take your chances with "emotional problems," should any occur.