I don’t like being hugged.
Maybe I should clarify that statement a bit. I don’t like being hugged by strangers and most acquaintances with who I have no real relationship or bond. When you come at me with outstretched arms, I might obligingly sort of hug you back, but I hate it. Really, really hate it.
See, I’ve never been one to enjoy being touched. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable. It’s not as if I wasn’t hugged as a child, but we were not overly touchy. The Pennsylvania German culture—my people—are like that as a community.
That’s not to say I NEVER want to be touched. As always there are exceptions to this rule—like with children, teenagers, old people, and dogs. I don’t feel threatened by any of them and therefore, touch is welcome. Besides, try explaining to a baby why they can’t fall asleep in your arms or a teenager why a game of surprise poking isn’t funny or an old lady who misses the embrace of her deceased husband why a hug isn’t permissible. My compassion overcomes my discomfort. I seek opportunities to touch those who most need it.
To me, a hug is an intimate act between two people, which I take seriously. I may spontaneously hug someone in excitement or because of genuine care or love. But if you ask me for a hug, I say no, and you hug me anyway—that makes me mad, uncomfortable, and puts distance in our relationship. You have violated me and my personal space.
It’s not that I can’t offer grace to those huggy types, because I do. I see the intention of a hug wasn’t to harm, but rather to share a great gift. I am trying to become more comfortable with hugs because I need physical touch, especially as a single woman.
There are huggers, semi-huggers, and non-huggers. I’m a semi-hugger, which means I hug with discretion. Non-huggers would rather not be touched at all and huggers, well, hug everyone and everything. Here’s what huggers need to understand—not everyone wants to be hugged.
You should never force a hug on a semi- or non- hugger. No means no!
It doesn’t make us frigid people—maybe slightly controlling—but not lacking the full real of human emotion. Whether it’s how we were raised or personal preference, we need to be respected for the discerning huggers that we are.
And maybe, just maybe, when you enter our inner circle, you’ll get a hug, too.
Until then, don’t force it. Hugs should be given in love with the feelings of both people in mind.