It is my fervent wish--a dream, even--to have one of my essays, or ramblings, posted on the Thought Catalog site. That and meeting Rich Alvarez in person would be the top 2 things on my "After These Things Happen I Can Die Peacefully" list, if I have one. Passing the bar exams and being a lawyer, obviously, is not part of the list because why would I be peaceful after I've endured five years (god forbid, not more) of law school only to die without being able to enjoy being a lawyer!
Anyway, one of the articles that gave me that "Eureka!" feeling as if someone had read my mind and wrote about it, was this article on hugs. I was so amazed by it that I felt I had to write something about hugs, too. This, for me, is a long overdue piece
These are Mr. Weatherhead's questions about hugs and my answers...well sort of.
What are they? Are they important?
A hug is an action whereby one person completely invades another person's personal space--whether necessary or not, voluntary or otherwise--to show affection of whatever level.
People say they are important but, frankly, I can do without them. I don't remember being enveloped by parental hugs when I was young. Kisses, praises, jokes and capital punishment, yes; hugs not so much. Growing up I never really thought about its positive effects. Or if it had any.
Are there different kinds of hugs?
I think so. But I'm not sure. If kisses have different kinds then, by analogy, hugs have them as well right?
Should I hug different people differently?
If it's up to me I won't hug anyone at all. But, to answer the question, yes I do think that a hug, being a socially accepted gesture of affection, should be dished out in varying degrees of intensity corresponding to the degree of closeness (physically or figuratively) of two people.
Should I put my arms over or under their arms? Or should one arm go over and one arm go under in a criss-cross pattern?
I've often wondered about this whenever I feel I cannot wiggle myself out of a hugging circumstance. Too bad for me, though, I wonder about these things while I'm about to hug someone and it's too late to go over the pros and cons in my mind. My mind completely shuts down and my body just waits for the other person to finish hugging me.
Does it depend on height?
I think it does. I can't just hug people who're way smaller/taller than I am without thinking of where my face (or any part of my body, for that matter) will end up during the hug. Ex. If I hug someone who's too tall then my face may end up in their chest or, god forbid, near their crotch area. Because if that happens, my mind would be too preoccupied about hygiene issues that I will not be able to focus on the hug and will myself to hug that person properly. Same thing goes for hugging someone who's way smaller than I am.
How should I hug a girl/boy that is taller than me?
See discussion above.
What’s the best way to avoid accidentally punching/hitting someone when going to hug them?
I've never actually punched someone while hugging or attempting to hug them but I've regularly bumped heads with the other person.
Can I hug from a seated position?
Yes I believe so. I've seen it done (quite effortlessly) on TV and in movies. But I've never really tried it since I'm too f*cked up just perfecting the basic etiquette of hugging someone while standing up I can't bring myself to think of doing it while sitting down.
Should I pat the other person’s back while hugging? Is that a weird thing to do?
As a general rule, I don't pat the other person's back while hugging. Exceptions: (1) When I feel that they need to be comforted or (2) When I feel that the hug is slowly getting awkwardly long and has to stop ASAP.
Should I rub/slide my hand on the person at all?
No. Definitely not. Unless, of course, you have something else in mind.
Should I close my eyes? (No, right?)
No. To close your eyes is equivalent to showing third parties (or those who're not part of the hug) that you
Can I hug with just one arm?
I believe so, yes. But I always, if I can afford it, try not to extend any part of my body and just... let myself be engulfed in another person's hug. It's less complicated.
If a girl/boy knocks my hat off while hugging, should I get mad?
Most likely, he/she didn't do that on purpose so I think it's best to just laugh it off. Who knows, maybe some other time it would be you who would be knocking somebody else's hat and you would wish that they just laugh it off, too.
Is it weird to shake a girl’s/boy's hand?
No. I have done this (or give a tiny wave) to wiggle myself out of hugging someone. It's slightly awkward because it gives the other person the idea that you're not into hugs. But it's a useful tactic nonetheless.
Should I talk during the hug? Or is that a telltale sign of social anxiety/insecurity?
Talking during a hug is for me a no-no because it's weird and doing so means that the hug is taking longer than expected. If I hug someone, I just do it as quick as I can. I don't linger or prolong it because it will give my mind the time and opportunity to overthink. And more often than not, overthinking is never good for me...or my social skills.
After the hug, what’s up with an arm or shoulder squeeze? Why do I feel like an asshole when I do either of those things?
I've made hugging less complicated by doing nothing before, during or after the hug. I just let the other person do all the hugging. I just let myself be hugged not because I like it but because I will just f*ck things up or make things more awkward by doing something. So, no arm or shoulder squeeze for me.
If I have a gay male/female friend and I am a straight male/female, do I hug?
Yes. Gender equality.
Is it weird if I only feel like hugging people I’ve known for 10+ years?
No it's not. I've known my parents forever and my siblings a little less than that and I'm not really into hugging them all the time. Yes, my brothers hug me like crazy (sometimes I think they do it to spite me or make me feel awkward--they love doing that) but I still feel awkward. More so for people (huggers as I call them) who wants to hug me 10mins after meeting me. God.
Whenever I feel someone is expecting a hug from me, I do some other thing like pat them on the back, give them a high five, or make a joke to make them laugh.
At what point in a friendship/platonic relationship should hugging begin?
This is a tricky question that deserves another essay/article of its own.
If I fail to hug at the appropriate time in the relationship, will I never be able to hug that person?
Yes. This is very consistent with my "Moments" theory which goes something like this, there comes only one moment in two people's lives when they have to decide whether they want to be friends or something else. Once that moment passes and neither of them do nothing, there will be friends forever. Rarely does it happen that two people are given more than one moment. Applying this to hugs, once that moment passes and they don't hug or attempt to, they'll be no hugging between them forever. The line has been drawn, so to speak.
But I can always be wrong. Hugs, after all, are not my strong suit.
What does it mean when you have an attractive female/male friend who hugs everyone except for you?
Ha. I kind of do this. I try to, at least, not close my doors to the possibility of hugging everyone in the future (maybe when a loved one dies or when something insanely good happens and "congrats" would not suffice) but I absolutely do not hug (I have a memo to myself) the person I like. Why? Because I'm bad at hugging and I don't want the person I like to think of me as The Worst Hugger in the History of Hugs.
What does it mean when a girl/boy tells you you are a bad hugger in 6th grade?
That you need more practice?
What does it mean when a girl/boy tells you you are a bad hugger in college?
That you need to get laid?
What does it mean when a girl/boy says chidingly “you can give me a hug, I won’t bite” when you’re in graduate school?
In general, when people say something and follows it with a "I won't bite" and you're mature enough to know the phrase's other connotations, it's safe to assume that some flirting is going on. But, again, I can be wrong.
Is my hugging ability in any way an indication of my ability in other forms of intimacy?
Why didn’t I hug my mom that one time she was crying in the elevator as we were leaving her dementia’d mom in a nursing home in Georgia?
If there's anything in this world that I can stand and gladly welcome, it is my mother's hugs. They're the warmest, least awkward hugs in this world. The best kind there is.
What does it mean when an attractive girl/boy who has a boyfriend/girlfriend hugs you in really cool and unexpected ways… almost goes out of her way to hug you? How should that be interpreted?
If you are someone who really suck at hugs, like me, then maybe she/he is just lonely. She/he needs a hug so bad she/he is willing to hug a hugger like you. If you're really good at it, then maybe, she/he can't get enough of your hugs. But, again, I shouldn't be trusted with reading into things because I am an overthinker and most often than not I got it wrong. Ha.
What if you’ve read several eHow/wikiHow articles re: “How to Hug” and you really, really can’t see yourself doing what they say?
Develop your own rules. Find out what works for you (and what doesn't), and make rules. Keep it simple and easy to remember so as to not confuse yourself whenever you panic when the possibility of hugging someone is imminent or inevitable.
Of course all of these rules are only necessary to remember if you are an over-thinker and a socially awkward individual who thinks words, not actions, are safer (read: less complicated) tools for conveying a wide array of feelings/moods. Like me.