To Hug or not to Hug…That Is The Question

bees coming in for a hug

These thoughts flow from three recent encounters…

For me, hugging is a boundary issue.

I have three drop dead, gorgeous  daughters who get their looks from their mama…which is fine, although, sometimes, because we live in such a sex crazed culture, it has gotten them more attention than they like.

Quick story….

We used to attend a small local church with the normal assortment of personality types.  Two of the men, (Farmer Bob as he was affectionately called),  and Mark, both liked to hug the ladies…especially the young pretty ones.

At some point, our family was talking about Mark, and his  increasing interest in hugging our two oldest daughters.  Now Mark had emotional issues..some kind of autism as I recall…and all of us in the church made allowances for him accordingly….but when my daughters started voicing their discomfort, I knew it was time to do something. I made an appointment with our young pastor, told him we were no longer comfortable with Mark’s public displays of affection, and if he (the pastor) didn’t say something to Mark quietly on the side, I would, and it would probably happen the next time he did it…in public.

Pastor said something and life went on.

People’s attitudes about a hug run the full range of thought…from not a big deal, to yes it is a big deal.

I know  people  who are just naturally huggers. They hug people all the time.  They probably grew up in a home with lots of hugging.. it is just who they are.  I also know others, to whom  a hug IS a big deal to them, and  to have someone initiate a hug to whom they are not very close to, is definitely a violation of their boundaries. Period.  Because of this,  I as a husband/man have opted to err on the side of not hugging a woman other than my immediate family unless the other person initiates.

And even then, I probably come across as an uptight, unschooled farm-boy, unless you are my wife or daughter. 😉

I have  more to say on this topic, but  before I do, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on hugging – especially people outside your immediate family.

Danka.  DM



13 thoughts on “To Hug or not to Hug…That Is The Question

  1. I am not a tactile person as a rule but will hug my mother, sister and Bro in NZ given the chance. I am not at all comfortable hugging my other brother or my sister’s children. Yet here in our boating community, there are several couples I am content to hug or be hugged by. I suppose it comes down to feeling comfortable in their company. I worked with a guy who was a hugger and I found it most offensive. Other girls in the office didn’t mind, but I certainly did and told him so. I am no prude, but am particular with who comes into close contact with me, and he was definitely not on my short list. I have to admit though that I was speaking to lady when walking in the woods a few years ago and she was so down, I gave her a hug. She said it made her feel tons better. Another time I hugged an old boy in the supermarket (he was about 80) as it was National Hug Day (honest) and he was tickled pink.
    So there you have it, I’m really mixed up, have no guide lines or family loyalty, and act on instinct!
    Oh, Hubby and I have lots of cuddles for no reason, 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I did not even think there were non-generous non-comforting hugs. . . 🙂 Coming from Europe, where there is maybe a bit more touchy feely thing than in the USA (?), in our family (extended- grandparents, uncles, aunts) everyone always hugged and kissed (yes, face and mouth kissing with family) it is just something accepted. I’ve hugged strangers and coworkers, family and friends. I love picking up friends little kids and hugging them, but sometimes worry that maybe I get overly too excited with all the hugging and need to consider other people’s boundaries or views.. 🙂
    Have a great hugging day everyone!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yep! Single mom since my daughter was quite young and versed her to be quite verbal if anyone wanted a hug and she didn’t want to give one! I wanted her to be empowered at a early age. She was spending time with new extended family I knew little if nothing about. I felt like it was fair to train her in this. My immediate family, yes, she does “hug back”, but I noticed she’s not an initiator – maybe I went overboard. Oh well, not going to sweat the small stuff. I tell her when I need a hug and she gives me a great big bear one!

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  4. My sisters and I kiss on the lips when we see each other – always have. Hubbs grew up in a non-huggy family. He freaked the first time he saw that, he’s used to it now. We also cry at the drop of a hat, and when we see each other, and when we part. We’re a bunch of saps 🙂 He’s like a cat, he’ll come around when he’s ready. I think I’m more of a happy golden retriever, bounding in with energy and hugs galore. MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • your relationship with your sister reminds me of Mrs DM’s relationship with her sisters..her family were huggers. I grew up in a non hugging family..but fortunately for our kids they hear “I love you” and get lots of hugs from both of us….now the son-in-laws would tell you a different story. They still just get handshakes from me, and one of them mocks me for it..and that is just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So funny, this post. As you say, many think a hug is no big deal. But, I too, think it is a boundary issue. Many would be surprised if they knew me because I am an open-hearted, caring and often affectionate person- however I have a huge need for personal space. I think a hug is personal and for those I am very close to. When we go to our spiritual center, the door greeters often initiate hugs and it took me a long time- but only recently I have been strong enough to say no thank you and just walk on and TRY to leave the guilt. On another note, I remember hearing once in training during my career working with children that we should never be the one to initiate a hug or that we should always ask first would it be okay if I give you a hug. That’s always stuck with me. Even children I am close to, like family members, I take that moment to say “can I hug you?”. I currently work with a boy who has autism… he often hugs me but some days he’s in a mood where he doesn’t want too. I have come to learn to wait for him or to ask him if it’s ok and to always respect the answer and be neutral, meaning not making him feel bad or guilty. I think it’s respectful to always be mindful.

    Liked by 1 person

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