I’m not against hugs. I don’t have a fear of intimacy. I’m just not a hugger, and hearing the news that this was National Hug Day I felt the same physical reaction I do upon entering a room where everyone is expecting a hug. I wanted to retreat to my personal space or just disappear. And it got me to thinking, why do I have an aversion to hugging?
First off, I don’t come from a long line of huggers. Both sides of my family are German and stoic. We have emotions; we just spend a lot of our energy suppressing them. While always hugging my mother and other females in my family upon greeting, (given sufficient time between our last meeting) the men never did. Being an only child might have something to do with it. It can be an ego-centric sort of life where you learn to live by your own wits, not seeking affirmation or acceptance in someone else’s mits.
But like all social conventions, there is a time and a place for hugging. But you are going to have to be the one to initiate it. It doesn’t come natural to me, and I never want to come off like that creepy uncle who wants to hug too much and too long. According to the news story there are health benefits to hugging, but only if you hang on to each other for 20 seconds or more. So I guess my road to better health begins and ends with the only person I have ever hugged for 20 seconds or more, my beautiful wife. I just hope tomorrow isn’t “National Eat All Your Vegetables Day.”
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