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To hug or not to hug?

A hug. It isn’t always for everyone.

I was shopping in the Bull Ring on a Saturday with my Mum when I was approached by a group of people in pink and blue T-Shirts. I’m ALWAYS wary of people loitering around in Birmingham as you can guarantee they are going to pounce on you and ask for money. I hate that. I have mastered the art of no eye contact and running away or smiling politely shouting “too busy”, as I still basically run away.

However, this nice girl approached me and said “free hug!” I was a bit wary and asked what for. But I was pleasantly surprised when they said it was for Stephen Sutton; the nice lad who passed away due to cancer but raised a stack of money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. So I was like why not? I hugged the girl and text to donate. She was quite taken aback and informed me it was the first hug she had all day and it was late morning. As I looked around bemused, you could visibly see some people recoiling when asked for a hug.

Okay, fair enough, it is a random person asking you for a random cuddle. For some, this must be their idea of actual hell. I’m sure I know people who would rather have their teethed pulled then hug someone they know, let alone a stranger. Despite, this I still felt a bit sad. When does it happen that we get so aware of our personal space and really are not keen on letting anyone, apart from those very close to us, in? I’m guilty of it sometimes. No matter how hard I try not to be bothered I must admit I can’t stand the Tube in London when everyone is squashed in and compact and I grimace inside when someone sits next to me on the train. I don’t remember always caring as much when I was younger.

I’m quite a tactile person normally. I like to touch people in conversation (not in that way mind)  but I think even I have got possibly less so as I have got older. Only slightly, but I have noticed it. Like many of you probably, I’ve experienced those mortifying times when gone to hug someone and just as I was about to, knew it was the wrong decision. It is so awkward. I have to stop and think in certain situations. At work. My colleagues. My patients even. Not everyone likes it and not everyone thinks it is professional. If we were abroad on the continent I’m sure it would be a different story. Hugs and kisses are a lot more noticeable.


A Jemma hug

Then I think to my darling daughter who actually doesn’t give two hoots about personal space. We shared a bath together the other night and I actually thought she was about to snog me she kissed me that hard and snuggled up. Fingers in my eyes and ears, she hasn’t a clue but I realise I love that. I adore getting close and whispering in her ear until she gets goosebumps and I love kissing her all over. It’s pure innocence and lovely. I hope it lasts for flipping ages!


Just owwwwww!

It is food for thought. It made me stop for a minute and think about myself and how I value my personal space. Then it made me stop and think about us as Brits. It seems as a whole we definitely love our personal space and a free hug is just stepping over the boundaries that little bit too much. Sad but true.

What about you? Would you have recoiled or jumped straight in?



    May 26, 2015 / 6:58 am

    Recoiled to about a foot away. Every time I live somewhere different I have to get used to new ways of greeting people. Getting used to going around a room double cheek kissing everyone every time you enter or leave a party in Spain was the hardest. Give me a personal space friendly, Thai wai any day!


  2. May 26, 2015 / 6:04 am

    I think I would of hugged in your position too haha but I am a touchy person with people I know xx #twinklytuesday

  3. Adelaide Goffin
    May 26, 2015 / 7:54 am

    Hug all the way, though I'll hug anyone who asks for hug, spread the love <3 #twinkletuesday

  4. Louise Rodgers
    May 26, 2015 / 8:47 am

    I definitely would have hugged back!! I'm really touchy with people I love and I'm quite lighthearted so would have been fine hugging a stranger in good humour. The only time I physically can't hug people is if they are an acquaintance, but not a friend and they cry in front of me. Then I get all awkward and sit there thinking "shall I hug them?" I usually edge further and further out of the room, offer to make them a cup of tea and then run!!

  5. May 26, 2015 / 7:55 pm

    I would have run in the opposite direction!!! I come from a close knit but no hugging family, we've always been like it and even hugging friends makes me feel all kinds of awkward! xx

  6. May 26, 2015 / 7:58 pm

    I think for something like that I would have returned the hug but for the most part I really don't like hugging! It's only the past couple of years that I've loosened up, as it were, and started to go in for hugs when saying hello or goodbye to my good friends. I'm still kind of awkward though because a friend will kind of look at me like, "well we're saying bye…should we ya know?" and they do a little like arms up shrug. And then I get all weird and stammery and I'm like "Oh of course, haha!" Sigh.

  7. May 26, 2015 / 8:59 pm

    I'm definitely not normally a tactile person (baby and husband excluded), and would usually hate the idea of hugging a stranger, although I'd make an exception for a good cause like this. I think it's a shame that we're often so wary of strangers that we are cautious when they try to talk to us (or give us a free hug!) x