I live in a very huggy place. S.O.P. for greeting folks you know is a good, solid hug, and even if a first-time intro miiiiight include only a handshake, by the time you’re saying goodbye to your new acquaintance, welcome back to Hugsville.
This happens to be fine with me. But I can’t help but wonder, what about people for whom hugging is NOT fine? I know a few who, in a group, go along with the hugs, but I can feel that their body isn’t into it.
Why, I ask myself, should it have to be?
Hugs are supposed to be a physical demonstration of mutual affection.But if someone’s preference for affection-demonstrating takes other forms than physical;
if, gods forbid, they might not be feeling all that affectionate;
or if they have ANY other reason that’s nobody else’s business why they don’t want someone’s arms wrapped around them in that moment–
—shouldn’t they have a right to excuse themselves without being uncomfortable?
I don’t have a specific solution to this situation, except perhaps this: When thinking of hugging someone you’re not sure wants to be hugged…
…use the ancient, tried-and-true handclasp as default.
While clasping, make eye contact.
Use those ol’ windows-to-the-soul to look for clues: encouragement to move into full hug-mode? Or keep it right there?What do you guys think?
You are absolutely correct. Always put the feelings of the other person above your need to be hugged.Read them and respect them.
Amen, Brother Goodwillie!