You’ve witnessed a couple kissing away on the couch as your friends mingle, before. And you know it is customary for your friends to chat about how disgusted they were by the overly affectionate couple, after the event. In your new relationship, you want to avoid earning such a despicable reputation but don’t know how.

To be on the safe side, you may wish to forego all public displays of affection altogether. That means you’ve sworn off  hand-holding, pecks on the cheek, pecks on the lips, sitting on each other’s laps, make-out sessions, chewing each other’s necks off in public and the like. With all these elements of your relationship missing, you and your honey may feel as though you are strangers while you are away from the love nest. But the good news is that there are subtle ways of feeling connected with your partner in public without coming across as obnoxious.

So what are acceptable ways of warming up to your significant other while in public? Just some include:

Rubbing the back

This does not mean a full-out massage. Rather, your rubbing or patting your partner’s back briefly will reassure him or her of your feelings and make him or her feel desired.

Hand on the knee

Of course, it is not advisable to rest your hand there for the whole of the evening, but your placing your hand on your other’s half knee for a few moments reaffirms that you care.

Smiling

Every once in a while, your throwing a smile at your romantic companion will make him or her feel welcome around you and not merely like a stranger in your group of pals.

Eye contact

Your connecting gazes with your partner lets him or her know s/he’s on your mind and acknowledged while the two of you are in public.

The almost-arm-wrap

In this move, your arm rests on the chair next to you, nearly around your honey, but casual enough not to sicken your friends with physicality.

The wink

Your sending a playful, affectionate wink your sweetie’s way may bring a smile to his or her face.

Pet names

You can still use cutesy nicknames for your romantic companion while out in public, as long as they are not explicit.

To portray a clean image of you and your partner to your social circle, you may wish to be less affectionate while out with a group. You have to admit most people are uncomfortable watching a couple kiss and caress in public. Your being discreet about your emotions will not only earn you respect with your friends, it will spare you embarrassment.

In addition, your partner may regard you even more highly when you respect him or her enough to avoid embarrassing him or her with over-the-top phone. And your friends will be glad you and your other half don’t physically boast about your happiness. Thus, you, your sweetie and your companions will be more comfortable when you and your significant other choose not to caress each other when you are all out together.