As someone who doesn’t care for hugs, and has been told she gives “weird hugs,” I deeply empathize with the seemingly frigid desire to skip this gesture. But also, because people contain multitudes, there are times I do want a hug, and so when the mood strikes, I ask for one. In time for the holidays, here’s a quick refresher on the delicate etiquette of rejecting hugs:
“Hugs are supposed to feel good. They are supposed to be friendly, affectionate, warm expressions of a bond. They are not requirements, commands, or rituals you have to unlock before you can get to the next part of exploring the castle full of zombie wizards in a video game [“Answer the sentinel’s riddle and clasp him in a warm embrace to receive the passcode”]. They are totally optional and voluntary* for adults and should fucking well be for children. If people don’t make you feel good with their hugs or you don’t feel good about hugging them, you don’t have to hug them, full stop.”
- If a family member is coming in for a hug and you do not want to hug that family member, you can simply thrust your hand out for a shake;, or extend your arm to simultaneously block the hug and initiate a nice shoulder pat, instead.
- If you walk into a home in a line of people, and everyone in front of you is doing hugs, you can employ the above; or, if you’re feeling non-confrontational, sort of just linger in the back and maybe your hosts will be hugged-out by the time they get to you.
- You can always say, in a firm but polite voice, “I’m just not a hugger!”
- You can also always say, in a self-deprecating tone, “You know me, cold as ice, hates hugs! Ha,” and then give a high-five, instead.
- Walk into a room and announce that your new “thing” this year is fist-bumps (or maybe finger-guns). Then you’re the fist-bump/finger-gun guy.
- And, when the rare mood for a hug strikes, simply ask for one by saying, “Hey, I need/could use/would like a hug.” It will feel good and thrill your hug-prone pals, which is fun and nice.