I admit it. I am a hugger. I like to give hugs. I like to get hugs. Leo Buscaglia was my hero. Yesterday, at work’s senior staff meeting, I hugged my co-workers. One guy pulled me right up off my feet and gave me a bear hug. What is so unusual about this is that I supervise him in the workplace. He either was saying that I’m a good supervisor, or he wanted to crush me as a giant python would.
When I go to visit friends, I greet them with a hug. If they come to visit me, I welcome them in my home with a hug. When they leave, they get a hug goodbye. That touch is very reassuring.
I believe that all of this touchy-feeliness started in childhood. In my family, we were huggers. We had individual hugs and group hugs. The group hugs usually wound up with my sister, my mother and I having a fit of the giggles. My father gave reassuring hugs, and the occasional bear hug, on request.
But I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone is as touchy-feely as I am. You can tell when someone doesn’t like to be hugged. They become as stiff as a board and avoid as much body contact as possible. One of my sons is this way. Maybe he doesn’t think that hugging is very “manly.” My husband would disagree with that. He loves to hug. Of course, his hands roam right to my rear-end, but that’s beside the point.
You can tell a lot by the way someone hugs. A full on body hug means love, affection, and a strong bond. A neck hug with little or no body contact means “I like you.” A sideways hug means “I like you” but is safe when you aren’t sure how the other person feels about hugging. Hugs mean reassurance. They reinforce verbal messages. I think all world leaders should have to hug each other when they have meetings to decide the fate of the planet. It would be interesting to see which ones become as stiff as boards and which ones try to crush someone like a giant python.