Why People Need to Stop With Public Appearances of Affection


According to a survey, “right before entering college” 37 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women kissed their partner in public. This public show of affection, or PDA, may feel good for the people in the relationship but can create an uncomfortable circumstance for other people who get caught unwillingly witnessing.

It makes the pair appear unlikeable.

One piece of research has been studying how the public responds to excessively affectionate couples, including both PDA and stuff like revealing too many intimate information about their relationship. Overall, people thought those couples seemed to be very happy and in love, but were actually “perceived as unlikeable and mentally unstable.”

It doesn’t send the correct message.

In one report, the researchers tried to get to the bottom of why certain people feel the need to participate in front of others with their partners. Interestingly, “the motives of the participants included improving their profile, triggering jealousy or envy, or showing off the fact that they are in a relationship.” Moreover, the study also shows that men indicated a boost to their credibility as a result of PDA, while women felt the opposite.

It could hurt a few people, too.

Psychologists say that being all lovey-dovey with an unwilling audience could cause fear in them. Keith E. Davis, a clinical psychologist at South Carolina University who has studied relationships of friendship and affection, says: “Affective conduct presents certain individuals with the disturbing fact that they are alone.”

At the same time, David E. Klimek, a clinical psychologist who has written about intimacy and marriage, thinks that our disappointment in watching PDA stems from our childhood: “Children sometimes get upset at the sight of mom and dad embracing and kissing. Sometimes one will see kids turn away from this scene — or attempt to break it up — because it’s highly charged, just like many adults turn away when they see lovers kiss freely.

For some, it may come off as insincere.

The biggest question on everybody’s mind is most often, “What are they trying to prove? “It seems very excessive and often even inappropriate for people who watch the PDA, so the couple may seem to be trying too hard to show off their love. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen so many celebrities kiss on the red carpet, so in our eyes, in the first place, PDA immediately sets off as a fake item.

It makes people want to disappear into thin air.

Witnessing someone kissing in public or touching inappropriately may feel like you are seeing something that you shouldn’t be. In these cases, it is virtually difficult to behave instinctively and most people leave the scene immediately. Otherwise, instead of being near the affectionate pair, they wish they could be somewhere else.

Psychologist Charles T. Hill explained that people may feel pressured to become an audience and sort out somebody’s session spontaneously and it’s a really awkward feeling. Perhaps worse, consider how people in the service sector feel when, for example, they have to take an order from a couple who can’t keep their hands off each other. In the end: be mindful of the environment and circumstances.

How do you feel about shows of affection in public? How do you think kissing your partner in public is actually appropriate?

Preview photo credit MEGA/Mega Agency/East News