Hugs Aren’t For Everyone

On a night out in Dublin recently my partner and I  bumped into a friend. We chatted with him and his friends for a while.  When we left they were standing outside the front door while one of them smoked a cigarette.  We did the goodnight chat thing and then I hugged our friend good night. His friend, admittedly quite drunk, tried to hug me back. There was an awkward half embrace which I ended by saying “I’m sorry, I don’t really hug until at least the third friend-date”. There was nothing he could really say in response to that.

I haven’t been a hugger all my life. In my family we don’t hug much. There have never been many long embraces. I remember when I started college one of my friends had to teach me how to hug. It felt awkward. It felt horribly over-intimate and forced. She became one of the few people I hugged and I still have warm memories of her telling me that I was a lovely hugger once you actually got me to give one.

Then when I moved to Scotland to do a course I was surrounded by folk who loved to hug. And I became the non-hugger again. It was too much. Too forced.  A year later I discovered 5rhythms and I discovered hugs that came from within me. I met people through my body and I met them through theirs. Words were put aside. There was only the dance and the hugs. When I met a friend in the dance, there was a hug to connect and then a smile and we let go and moved back into our own dance.

If I hug you, I mean it. A handshake is still my normal means of greeting. I hug old friends. I hug some new friends very quickly if it feels right. I hug the people I share ritual with. I hug my niece and my sister. My brother and I sometimes sorta hug.  I have been to a few Quaker meetings and after the meeting everyone shakes hands. I like that.

Hugs are wonderful. Hugs are special. Hugs aren’t for everyone.

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2 thoughts on “Hugs Aren’t For Everyone

  1. My partner and family weren’t huggers, and now after 12 yrs all apart from his Dad are. My family never did either, it is something I grew into, and if I’m honest, it became part of my process of coming out. I shake hands readily, hug those friends and family I love….. as for friends/partners of friends; second friend date normally gets them a hug, if I know that is what they are comfortable with. Hugs, genuine holding (not back slapping) hugs are special.xx

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