Thursday, April 28, 2011

Know me before you hug me

I am not a hugger. In fact I would go as far as to say I am possibly one of the least huggy people you will ever meet. I come from a family that does not hug unless someone has died, been born or has gotten married. Oh and if the All Blacks score. But that goes without saying really.

My in laws and adopted family and friends despair over my aversion to hugging. There have been many discussions about how hugging shows love, and how hugging is a source of comfort. Even after all these years, I still don't really get it. So when I found out my brother was marrying into a family of huggers, there was some fear and trepidation about the impending wedding day and the unavoidable hugs to follow.

Now don't get me wrong. My brother's in laws rock. They are pretty cool people who I have gotten to know over the past few months and consider them an extension of my own family. So when it came to hug time, I just sucked it up and hugged them (briefly). It was slightly traumatising and made me incredibly uncomfortable (and this is with people I like!) but it was their custom so I hugged these new members of our family.

After the required hugs were over, I breathed a sigh of relief. Until, from out of the blue, a random stranger grabbed me and HUGGED me! With no warning.

Apparently, saying 'get the hell off me' is not the appropriate response to someone hugging you at a wedding. Also describing this ambush (and I was ambushed) as bad touching is also viewed as slightly over the top.

Why do people feel compelled to hug me? I kind of understand people who are close to me wanting to hug me, but strangers? Why would someone want to hug a stranger?

This person at the wedding looked stunned when I didn't hug back. In fact they looked offended. But they weren't family, they weren't even someone I knew, so I told them 'I'm not a hugger'. Their response? 'Oh don't be silly, it's just a hug'.

As a hugging novice, I am guessing that hugging shows a degree of love. So it seems inappropriate for a stranger to hug someone because they don't have that level of intimacy with you. It's not just a hug. It's a sign of love.

I don't think I am a prickly person. I am generally a bubbly person who will talk your ear off if you let me. I just don't like being hugged. So my advice for you all from the non huggers of this world: know us before you hug us. Wait for us to initiate a hug. It will happen, just not as regularly as you huggers would like.

And if you are a stranger, don't hug me. Next time, the mace is coming out.


  1. To my credit, as one of the rockin' in laws, I did NOT hug you at the wedding :-) I hugged your brothers because they were hugging everyone else..but I left you alone. I was kinda scared you'd bite me ;-)

    I gotta say...although I do enjoy a hug, I'm actually in agreement with you on the vast majority of this. It bugs me when people who don't know me try to hug me. It irritates me when people just grab me and hug husband included.

    But I'm still gonna call you a porcupine...

  2. I totally agree about the hugging by strangers. However, from the perspective of someone to whom a hug expresses love and affection, it's hurtful when someone you love doesn't want to be hugged at all or does it reluctantly holding you at arms length. I think you non-huggers need to find another way to express affection so that huggers know you do care about them. And also to make an effort to show your children that hugging is okay with someone you are close to.

  3. Very good points ladies. I think non huggers are often viewed as unemotional people which sometimes is just not the case. We do feel love just as deeply as everyone else. My new goal? To find a way to express my love to others. I'm pretty good at expressing myself in other ways (hence the blog LOL) so this is an area I could work on. :)