When someone pats you on your shoulder - What does it mean?

Postby SeaDonkey » Sat May 29, 2010 1:25 pm

Being mildly autistic I'm terrible at reading non verbal cues. What does it mean when someone you don't know pats you on your shoulder as they're talking to you? Is this some kinda unconscious assertion of dominance over the person they're patting on the shoulder or is it a gesture of friendship? The reason I ask is because I've noticed it in people who display lots of confidence from the start and they act like they're my friend and although some of them have turned out to be good friends in the long run, I get cynical about people that pat me on the shoulder lol. Can anyone inform me about this kinda thing?
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#1

Postby Motivated » Sat May 29, 2010 4:58 pm

SeaDonkey - that bugs me too!
I think guys are often rough & I've seen NBA players pat eachother's rear ends, & it doesn't seem to bother them. Sometimes it could be like, "Good job!"

I've also been patted REALLY hard - almost like they were hitting & that upset me.

But I think usually, people have good intentions. My husband used to pat me on the shoulder - & I think he meant, "Don't worry, you're fine." To me, it came across as I'm a pittied pet, so I told him & he doesn't do it anymore. I imagine it depends on the context & relationship.
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#2

Postby SeaDonkey » Sat May 29, 2010 6:10 pm

Yeah it appears to me like its a disrespectful gesture. Kinda like saying "its alright" as if they know better than you do. Maybe thats just paranoia on my part though I don't know.
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#3

Postby Motivated » Sat May 29, 2010 10:06 pm

Maybe I'm paranoid too :) but I can't imagine someone patting a police officer, president or other authority. Then again, I know some people who want to be affectionate, but don't know how, so they pat (instead of hug) & I've seen grown brothers slug each other, but never hug. :)
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#4

Postby Annie7788 » Sat May 29, 2010 10:58 pm

it's a gesture of intimacy. Means they like you and are not threatened by you but feel comfortable and want to reassure you in some way. Does not necessarily mean that they disrespect you, but it really depends on the situation and the relationship between the two people. Can be patronising in certain situations if between someone who is in a position of power when the recipient of the patting is subordinate.
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#5

Postby Annie7788 » Sat May 29, 2010 10:59 pm

Motivated wrote:Maybe I'm paranoid too :) but I can't imagine someone patting a police officer, president or other authority. Then again, I know some people who want to be affectionate, but don't know how, so they pat (instead of hug) & I've seen grown brothers slug each other, but never hug. :)


well you would not be intimate with parole officers or policemen unless you have had too much to drink. You would normally respect the body space of people who are not informally acquainted with you.
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#6

Postby desperate788 » Sat May 29, 2010 11:04 pm

good night annie:)
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#7

Postby Annie7788 » Sun May 30, 2010 1:08 am

good night desperate :)
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#8

Postby Motivated » Mon May 31, 2010 2:05 am

Annie, I agree. As I posted here, "it depends on the context & relationship."
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