A few days ago two of my colleagues and I were discussing hugging in various settings. (Not typical office chat and I’m not totally sure how we got on the topic.) Now, I’m all for private (or necessary: see below) hugging but it’s all that hugging in other settings — what I call casual hugging — that can be an issue.
I am not a hugger. This is surprising to some, as apparently I look like a hugger; like the type of person who could break into a hug at any moment for no reason at all. I am told that I am so warm and friendly — not to mention cuddly looking — that the fact I don’t really enjoy getting hugged is rather surprising.
Well not to me…but you get the idea.
I mean I have hugged and been hugged in myriad settings but given my choice there are only a few reasons I will endorse full body hugging (with squeezing and/or patting) while in public.
My top ten reasons for hugging:
- You are moving to Australia.
- I am moving to Australia.
- You are on fire.
- I am on fire.
- I am dying.
- You are dying.
- Someone one (or both) of us loves is dying.
- You are in emotional crisis. (But not if I am — in that case a drink is probably a good bet.)
- You are one of my huggy relatives — it’s a cultural thing one can’t escape, even me.
- For the sporty among us: goal!
Reasons not to hug:
- How are you?
- I like your sweater.
- Where did you get those cool boots?
- How nice to bump into you at the mall.
- Let’s go get some lunch.
- That was such a nice lunch. Let’s do it again soon!
- I love your new apartment!
- Have a nice vacation!
(Note: I will actually say these things and mean them.)
Now granted, I don’t go around telling people not to hug me so I do get accidentally hugged on occasion. I am polite so I try to not make a spectacle of myself. In these situations I employ what my friend P. calls the half-hug. Sometimes she’ll give a half-hug (in which only one arm is used and there is very little squishing) just to annoy me.
I actually don’t mind it, but I am keeping that to myself and my three readers. But please, don’t get any ideas.