CindyH over at Huckleberries asked an question that has been on my mind this weekend, "Do you hug people you don't know well?" I was a luncheon on Friday and greeted many of my friends with hugs or an open ended squeeze. My friend who I was meeting there watched from our saved seats with a slight smile. When I joined her she said "I can't take you anywhere." After the luncheon a sweet man I have only spoken to maybe a dozen time came over to tell me his wife had passed at Christmas time. Without even thinking about it, I pushed myself out of my seat and came around the table to hug him. Afterwards, I was speaking with my friend about the moment and she asked me how well did I know the grieving husband and I said not very well. She was stunned and we had a discussion about hugging strangers. She admitted she reluctant to hug people especially men she does not know well. I was unable to explain adequately how I determine when to hug and when not to hug. I mumbled something about the icky factor and then quickly changed the subject.
However, this conversation has stuck with me all weekend and I have even spoke with my family about said topic. My husband shared the fact that he is often jealous about how freely I hug and has never seen me withhold a hug. I tried to defend the icky factor but boxed myself into a corner. So what is the icky factor. It has to do with how my initial contact with an individual. It is pretty easy if a man hits on me, they receive no additional response and will be lucky that if I will even attempt another conversation with them. If a woman gives me the up and down look like we are some kind of competition, I don't waste my time. And finally, if a person makes my warning lights go off, such as that innate ability we have to know when we are in danger or any physical contact is unwelcome, I will keep my space.
To get back to the grieving husband, I admitted that I did not even think or hesitate when he shared with me, I reacted. I felt the moment. So do I hug people I don't know well? The answer is yes and without hesitation.