Hug Haters Unite!

I saw this on Facebook the other day and I had to laugh, because it is true.

I am one of those people.  Not the huggy variety.  The not so huggy variety.

I hate hugs.  Well, most hugs.  Especially those from strangers.

I do like the chocolate variety of hugs.  And hugs from people I care about greatly.  Very greatly.

The thing is, most people are, well, huggy.  I have based this decision on the number of times people have violated my personal space.

Now, I am not saying I hate hugs.  I love hugs.  From people I know and care about.  And who I know well enough to want to touch.  Those hugs communicate the love and comfort hugs are supposed to communicate (at least what I think they should).

I like personal space.  I have issues with texture and touch.  So, hugs are potentially overwhelming and terrifying experiences for me.  Especially when they come unexpectedly.  A hug from the right person, however, is lovely and even invited.  I hug my friends and family.  I do not want to hug you if we just met.  It is how I am.  I think that is a social norm.  But, it is not all of the time.

An illustration of appropriate inter person spacing. Image via

One of my best friends is an extremely touchy feely person.  For years, she would hug me and laugh because I hated it.  And we would have obligatory hugs.  They grew more frequent.  Eventually, I grew to like her hugs.  And now I invite them.  This took years.

For some odd reason, most of my church family at home is very huggy.  Like prolonged hugs and touching kind of people.  I don’t really know why.  And it isn’t like it is just a few people.  Many of them hug… And several are awkward about it.  I love these people dearly.  But, I don’t love hugs.  My friends laugh when I come home because of the onslaught of hugs that comes my way.  I appreciate it.  I also appreciate when it is over and I can go on breathing.   I have been to other churches and have been hugged a lot less.  I like some of the hugs now.  Others I still dodge.  But, I have come to realize our hug to person ratio is high.

Image via

Weddings are a hug nightmare.  At my own wedding, there came a point where I just started hugging everyone because everyone was hugging me, even people I swear I didn’t know.  As a result, I think I creeped out a few strangers.  In my mind it was like sweet space violating payback.

I thought about it and there are appropriate hug situations.

If you know a person well… Meaning you have conversations beyond saying how your day is going and the weather, then you can consider a hug.  But, screen the person first to make sure they are receptive.  And then, hugs are more of a hello/goodbye in the longer term sense.

If you are best buddies with a person, then hugs can be given as a sign of appreciation.  Hugs should be doled out on special occasions… You know, weddings, Christmas, deaths to those who fall into the knowing well category.

I like to think that one does not need to hug strangers or not known well people in any circumstance, though apparently not all people agree.

Hugs are appropriate always between lovers, though they should be limited when others are present to avoid gagging sounds by onlookers.

Lastly, hugs should never be okay when you first meet someone.  No matter how much you heard about them.

There are also different hugs.

The awkward hug… Compliments of The Office. Image via advanced

The awkward hug… The person who doesn’t know where to put their arms or body or who tries to carry on a conversation or who puts some part of them in an inappropriate place.

The rubber…  People who pat or rub your back, arm or other parts while trying to hug you.  These folks are my least favorite hugging peple.

The squisher…  The people who try to smother you to death with their body or squeeze your insides out like sausage.

The feather duster… The ones who brush up against you and are gone again.

Gymnastic type hug compliments of Gilrmore Girls. Image via

The gymnast… People who do a combination of the squisher and some various twirls, twists or running starts so that you almost fall over when they hug you.  These make for good reunion hugs… But only with people who meet the always allowed to hug you criteria.

PDA… Public displays of affection.  If it would be on an R rated movie or if you wouldn’t want your grandma to watch you do it, please don’t do it to me or in front of me.  Think teenagers in a dark empty movie theatre or that annoying couple at the concert who rarely come up for air let alone listen to the music.

Other… The hugs that are just plain normal hugs without any weirdness.  These are rare, but highly pleasant.

I probably sound like a psychopath.  I’m not.  Again… If I like you and am comfortable with you and you don’t do anything weird like linger, hugs are good.  If you breach any of those criteria… I am going to be uncomfortable and possibly look like a deer caught in headlights.

The high five. Made cool again by Barney on HIMYM. Image via

I think people should be aware of hug haters.  Sometimes, the best way to show some love is to use words… Or a nice high-five or something (Pro tip: High fives are always awesome to hug haters like me, except in a place where total silence is expected, then you will disturb the peace).  Something a bit less invasive.  Until it becomes clear that both parties want to reciprocate hugs.

Hug haters need to create awareness.  People need to know we don’t hate them… Just the feeling of their arms around us.  Until we invite them on our own terms.

19 thoughts on “Hug Haters Unite!

  1. I am not a kissy person! I don’t particularly like to be kissed except by my husband. I used to be married into a family where everyone kissed hello and goodbye. Eyuk! I know how you feel!

    • Wow! I think kissy people scare me more than huggy ones. I don’t have many of those in my life. That would have been different to have in the family.

  2. sign me up! you and I see things just about the same. I still get some teasing from some of my family members because I am not the touchy feel-ly type. too bad I say… as you so accurately put it, people are violating our space. end of discussion. this is just my opinion, but having known several men over the years in the context of church, some of them are “wolves” in sheeps clothing and have no problem getting more familiar w/ the women of the church than they need to. Here’s a u-tube clip you might enjoy..someone who likes to tease me about hugging sent it to me last year. 🙂

  3. Totally agree! I do not understand people who hug those they don’t know well.

    I laughed at all your hug type examples. My uncle did demonstrations of most of them after a funeral a few years ago.

    • The hugging people that you don’t really know is the thing that puzzles me the most overall.
      I love that your uncle did a demonstration. That is amazing.

  4. When he first came to America, my Dutch husband was very uncomfortable with all the hugs. Americans hug alot. Dutch people, not so much. In Holland friends kiss each other on the the cheek, three times alternating cheeks. Different cultures, different social norms. =)

    • Social norms are fascinating things. I think because I see having as a norm the kisses on the cheeks would freak me out more. Interesting how anyone switching cultures notices he oddities or dofferences more than those in the culture.

  5. so funny! I used to love hugs. Until some unknowns tried to hug me and I realised my hug-loving came with a clause. I have a friend who is overjoyed when he sees me and picks me up and swings me around. I like that one.

    • I do quite enjoy being picked up and swung around by the right people. Your friend sounds fun!
      It is the unknowns who ruin hugs most of the time.

  6. OOOOOOO- I can’t wait to hug all of you….Just kidding. I’ve noticed that body odor and bad breath discourage hugging. I’m not suggesting anybody smell bad on purpose, just saying….

      • LOL-the gross hug would be an appropriate addition, The there’s the bear hug where you’re not sure the person is overjoyed to see you or trying to kill you. Then there’s the tree hug for environmentalists.

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  8. Well, I’m with you. I’m from a small family, you could fit us in an old quaint closet, and we’re pretty non-demonstrative, too. It works for us. I have a rather massive personal space area that is marked when I’m out by taking up chairs on both sides with my book bag or anything I can fling on them. 🙂 given that I’m living in Texas, well, you know….

  9. Ha ha!! This is awesome, Tree! I’ve seen that deer-in-the-headlights looks before, and I’m pretty sure I’m a gymnast hugger, and occasionally a squisher. My least favourite hug is the feather duster. If you’re going to hug me, do it right!

    Hugs I can handle, even from the odd stranger, although I don’t like stranger hugs either. But what I hate most of all is being kissed. The only person I don’t mind it from is my sister, and she generally lands one on the region of my ear. It makes me naseous to see people sucking the faces off of babies or making horrible kissing sounds. I didn’t kiss my neice until she was two, and then it was on the top of her head. That’s about as far as I’ll go. I also totally don’t understand and am grossed out by parents who kiss their kids on the lips.

    Well that was fun. I don’t often get to complain about things like that. 🙂

    • Oh, Joanna! You found the blog!

      I know you familiar with my deer-in-the-headlights look, though I do quite like your hugs. And you are a gymnast/squisher combo. I quite like it coming from you.

      I too hate kisses. My Mom is a big cheek kisser and she was a kiss on the lips parent. Patrick used to get kind of weirded out when she would kiss him on the cheek. I am not all over that at all. I will kiss my “niece” and “nephews” on the head when they are little, but that is my line.

      Glad you had fun!

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