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.
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.