Touch of sense

I'm a hugger. I'm one of those people. I try not to hug anyone who doesn't want to be hugged, but I'm an enthusiastic participant. Not with just anyone, but I have a lot of friends who seem to like hugs, so that works out well.

But there are people I consider friends whom I usually don't hug. I know it's just not their thing. For some people, hugs don't feel like they do for hug-people. For any reasons or no reason (should not matter), they simply are not comfortable being hugged and hugging back. They might or might not want to be touched at all. They might like light touch, perhaps on the hand or arm. They might go as far as a semi-hug.

I'm not sure if there are more hug-people than no-hug-people, but hugginess seems to prevail. In these days of modern times, we hug a lot. People with whom we would have exchanged a handshake not many years ago now hug us and we hug them, with a greater or lesser degree of comfort.

We might have pushed this too far. The proliferation of hugging can be awkward even for me, because I'm free with hugs but not with just anyone. Shaking hands is a time-honoured way of greeting or parting.

And even though I love human contact, I don't think everyone else has to love it too. Non-huggers should be able to do whatever makes them comfortable and not do what makes them uncomfortable. Huggers need to remember that hugging or not hugging is not in itself a sign of the quality or depth of a relationship.

We need to be okay with handshakes, some kind of touch, or even words only without touch at all. We should know who our real friends are, regardless of whether they are into hugging or not. In fact, we usually do know who our non-hugging friends are and feel just as close to them. We don't base judgment on their non-hugginess.

I don't want to make people uncomfortable. I think society will be fine if we stop expecting hugging to be the default among a wide array of people. Huggers need to be more mindful, more perceptive of signs, and even ask if that seems to be called for. Be cool if the answer is "no."And give 'er with warmth if the answer is "yes."