I am an outgoing person who likes to share jokes and laughter with my friends, family and coworkers.
So when new people get to know me, my aversion to hugs confuses them. If you don’t mind delving into my psyche for a few moments, I can explain why I became so anti-hug.
1. My Hometown’s ‘Constant Casual Hugs And Kisses’ Culture
Where I grew up, it is considered polite when arriving or exiting a party to kiss everyone on the cheek. This usually involves a hug, which varies in intimacy depending upon how well the partygoers know each other.
I hated this. It is what caused my descent into Irish goodbyes (leaving without telling anyone). It also reinforced my dislike of hugs. I still cringe when I go home and have to deal with it.
2. My Family’s Constant Hugs And Kisses
Don’t get me wrong: I love my family. My family is important to me. They are my number one life priority.
However, my family is touchy. My mom throws out hugs like Oprah does cars. She’s basically a tackle on a football team. It’s my belief that I was overhugged as a child, which made me wary of anyone who wants to hug me. I know the term “overhugged” is ridiculous, but I’m only partly joking.
3. And Most Importantly, My Association Of Hugs With Romantic Relationships
I first fell in love when I was 15. We were crazy about each other. And we hugged all the time. Besides kissing, hugging was a big way we expressed our feelings (I mean, I was young, and hadn’t quite figured out all the other physical ways of “expressing feelings” in a romantic relationship).
We were hugmonsters, but when it came to hugging other people, things didn’t feel right for me.
I associate hugging with intimacy. To me, hugs should be shared between lovers or close family/friends in situations where someone needs comforting. I’m not sure when I developed this train of thought, but it’s been true for at least the past 10 years of my life.
My friends don’t understand that a big giant hug, which they think is a nice thing to do, feels like an intrusion into my privacy.
This isn’t to say I never hug my friends or family. Are you newly engaged or married? CONGRATS HUG. Did someone die? SAD HUG. Am I intoxicated? DRUNK HUG.
I liken this to the European tradition of kissing others on both cheeks as a greeting (similar to my hometown culture). Would that make you uncomfortable? Would it invade your personal space? Would you think it was abnormal? I’d wager the answers are “yes.”
That’s the same reaction I have when I get blindsided with a hug.