I’m a hugger, and I regularly come across people who don’t like hugging, or don’t like hugging someone they just met, or any of a multitude of reasons that mean ‘they don’t want to hug me right now’.
What I do is instead of just hugging people (including people I know) I just sort of hold my arms up and ask “Hug?” (I need to figure out how to ask in a way that ‘no’ is an option…)
Sometimes people hug me, sometimes they don’t. One time my friend had hurt her upper arm and could only hug specific ways.
If someone doesn’t want to hug, I don’t want them to feel left out, so I offer a high-five.
If they don’t want a high-five, I offer a fist bump.
One of my friends is really uncomfortable with touching people, so instead we just touch pointer finger fingertips.
If someone just plain doesn’t want to touch, then I wave at them.
This has seemed to work for me so far.
I really, really wish that people who like hugs would understand this, that not everybody wants hugs all the time.
My ex-best friend used to demand hugs all the time because she had this mental construction of me as the slightly grouchy one who was outwardly undemonstrative, and herself as the adorable snuggly one who loves everybody and everything. So when she felt me tense up, she’d often compound my discomfort by kissing my ear. Sort of this big wet smacking kiss that was kind of inside my ear, which gives me shudders thinking about even now. The hugs were all about her, and how she was such a loving person that she needed hugs all the time.
At this point, I’ve figured out ways to tell people that I don’t always want to be hugged, which most of them respect, thank goodness. But then there’s my mother, who is affronted by this. So when I do hug her, she clings to me extra tight to the point of it being painful and again, tries to kiss my face. I don’t know why this extra kissing seems to be a feature of people who hug me against my will, but it’s made me hate hugs even MORE.
Yeah. Some people hear “I don’t like hugs” and mentally add on “because I haven’t hugged you extra-tight to show you how loving and wonderful hugs are”.
Do not do that. Some people don’t like hugs, and that’s ok. People have the right to make decisions about physical contact with others.