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Old 12-26-2008, 06:33 AM   #1
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Default Meaning of hugs?

Just thinking... what is the meaning of hugs? Why do people give hugs when they see someone or saying 'goodbye' or 'thank you'? Is there another meaning? I've found during the holiday season there are much more hugs than normallly through the years even when you see the same person. AND sometimes, I just don't want certain people to touch me... (isn't that bad?)

I can tell the 'light' pat hug is probably a hug of obligation when you're reaching for someone with a full distance. Then you get these tight squeeze ones which I do believe are sincere ones. Just thinking about the Christmas season and the different types of people I've came across and their 'hugs'.

Maybe I'm bored... thanks for amusing me.
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:03 AM   #2
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I love the extra hugs. I'm glad that people still give them. Human touch is so powerful and healing and comforting and life-giving. We need it.
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:29 AM   #3
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Great thread. I often think about topics like this.

Do you live in the South? I've noticed that while living here people hug much more than in other places I've lived, especially Germany.

I'm a hugger, and I agree that the human touch is so important. I tend to touch people on the arm, etc. too. I do try to be careful if I'm aware that it makes people uncomfortable, though. I work with a woman who does NOT like to be hugged. She just isn't a touchy feely person. I respect her space.

I never noticed the sideways hug until I moved here. Mostly, I've noticed that men do that to women with whom they are not intimate.

I don't really know the meaning behind hugs, but I think that if I like or love someone that a handshake is awkward. They're gettin' a hug!
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:04 AM   #4
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I think it is really culturally influenced. I have had a native Brazilian man visit me for the past few days and he is one of the most physically affectionate men I have ever known. I absolutely loved it, but I am touchy-feely myself. He is also single and I know from some of my other single friends that they really miss physical affection when they aren't currently in a relationship. I try really hard to hug all my single friends more, both when I see them and when I say good-bye. If I know they can't stand it, I don't hug a person at all, though.

This year has been a very hard one for my family, we lost a beloved nephew in October and I have found myself being much more physically affectionate this holiday season than ever before. I think that now I know what it is like to not have a precious young person in my life, I have to hug the ones left even more!

I try to be respectful of those that don't like hugs and I appreciate being told of this info, I hate making people feel uncomfortable!
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Old 12-26-2008, 01:10 PM   #5
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All of the people in my family are huggers - and I like it. We're from the South - Virginia. I have a friend who's a native Californian, and when she hugs, it's obviously the "Valley Girl" kind of hug. I think of it as a pretend hug. When my mother was living, we'd hug when I came in the door, and hug when I left. It's the same way with my sister and my son now.
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:09 PM   #6
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Raised in northern NH. My family are not huggers. But I love to hug my friends hello and goodbye and thank you and... But I can't hug my family; too awkward. Sad, I think.
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:15 PM   #7
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I'm not a hugger and I don't like being hugged unless it's a close family member. To me, it's an invasion of my personal space. Just a smile or a friendly hello will suffice.
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:15 PM   #8
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My Momma's side of the family are huggers. Hug upon arrival, hug when leaving, hug in between times. My Dad's side, not huggers. The few times that I've actually hugged my grandmother has been awkward and sort of uncomfortable.
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:16 AM   #9
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I'm sort of with the 'don't touch me' crowd. I love giving hugs to those I care about. But I don't really like hugs from everybody. Some hugs just make me cringe.
That said, I'm huggier than I used to be, and I have to sometimes remind myself that I don't know if this or that person likes hugs or not.
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:19 AM   #10
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Oh, and I get the sideways hug from my dad. He's very tall and I'm very short, so it just works best like that. We squeeze hard, though!
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:33 AM   #11
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I've found through the years that some of my closest friends just kind of give the signal that they don't care to be hugged. And I respect that - but have to admit, if I really care about someone, I love the hugs!
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:23 AM   #12
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Growing up, my family wasn't huggers. It was easy giving my kids hugs when they were little, but when they became teenagers, I stopped. When my youngest went away to bible college, I started hugging him. The biggest change happened this summer when my daughter got married and my new son-in-law along with his family started hugging me coming and going. I tried hugging my daughter and she shied away. The neatiest thing happened on Christmas, when she give me the biggest hug. I almost cried.
It's not too late to start, Sharon. You might get offish reactions at first, but maybe others in your family think it sad too and might embrace the change.
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Old 12-27-2008, 10:03 AM   #13
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It is very much culturally based. We made friends with a young student teacher in her twenties here for a year from Japan. She said they never hug. I said, "so when you go home after a year and your parents pick you up from the airport you won't hug?" She said no.

She said her Japanese friends, knowing of our hugging custom, kept emailing her and asking if anyone had hugged her yet. They thought it was a funny custom. I started hugging her sometimes when I saw her and at first she was stiff and then kind of got into it.

Her car was in the shop and she needed to travel across the state so I loaned her mine, not realizing she had never driven on slick roads before.
(Michigan in February) While on the on ramp to the interstate she went over a bridge too fast, hit ice and wrecked my car into a guard rail. She called me at home and we hurried to the scene. Luckily no one was injured. She was sitting in the back seat of a police car and as I opend the door she said with tears, "I need a hug". I wasn't upset, just glad she was ok.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:59 PM   #14
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So does it sums up that hugs are usually for affection rather than casual? I've found the casual hugs are very light, fast and distant. I'm thinking- why bother? The more sincere ones are tight, and a bit longer?

I was asked by a visiting mom from the south to give her son (who is in his early 30's and single) a hug for her when I see him. She told me to tell him it was from his mom. I'm in my 40's and married. I don't know the son very well and just meet the mom. I found it a bit weird. I did do it one time and gave him the message, it was such a tight hug, I was a bit uncomfortable. Then, I received a hug from another single guy, but he would only give me a hug when my husband wasn't around. I found that a bit amusing. And the ladies, they hug no matter what... maybe I just have to be that forward and learn to be more comfortable like them.
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Old 12-27-2008, 07:32 PM   #15
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I like to hug and with those closest to me I also like to kiss them too
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:49 PM   #16
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Default Meaning of Hugs

I am in the middle ground here. There are people I really like and like to get hugs from, others well let's not go there. I find it is cultural, my Moms family is very huggy and my Dads family not so much. DH's family is very huggy on one side and not too on the other. Friends, it seems to depend on culture. I have worked and socialized with an Italian family, the whole family, men included hug and kiss (both cheeks) and I have never ever felt awkward with this but other friends sometimes I feel awkward. I tend to hug someone in stressful or very happy situations as well as in greeting and exiting.

I do not mind light or medium hugs but I have severe arthritis and do not care much for very tight hugs or thumping on backs or shoulders. Too painful. I have had to warn a few but they seem to remember and are gentler in the future, aside from my own Mom with Alzhiemers. She is a real thumper and I sometimes try to evade the hug just cause it is painful. Most hugs I feel are meant to convey, happiness shared, concern or just plain I like/love you.

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Old 12-27-2008, 09:48 PM   #17
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hugs make my tail wag
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:00 AM   #18
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hugs make my tail wag
Hee, hee, hee...
I hug my dog daily!!! He hugs me back too...stands on his hind legs, puts his front paws on my shoulders and wraps his head around mine and gives me a hug! (He is a 115 lb. Rotty!)

I am a hugger. My family are somewhat huggers. My DD will just come out and ask for one all the time! Or she will say "I need a hug!" I have heard my mom say that to my girls too, so that's probably where she gets it from.

I have a friend who "asks" if she can hug me when she sees me! She didn't have a very loving family life as a kid, so maybe that's why she does it, but she IS a very lovey person...especially for not having it as a child!
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:05 AM   #19
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I was raised in the NE and don't hug and don't like hugs and now I live in VA where everyone wants to touch me, lol...my mil ALWAYS says to me "we're touchy feely people so get used to it!"...12 years and I haven't

But I don't really like to be touched by anyone (except my dh ...sorry, tmi), ever. No one ever touches my hair, face (I would DIE), arms, nothing, I don't like it and I sort of stand back from people so they know I don't like it yet I don't have to say it.

The last day of work, last Tuesday, I was hugged by like 12 people, it was a record for me and I really have no idea why all of a sudden everyone was hugging, it was really wierd. OMG and like 3 of them gave me a light cheek kiss!! But what do you do, run?

I do hug my dog, Tara, ALL the time, 100 times a day.

Everyone is different

And I really don't know the "meaning" behind it unless you *love* someone and then I still don't hug people I love so who knows?

Interesting question.
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Old 12-28-2008, 07:44 AM   #20
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I was never much of a hugger, but always wanted to be. I love getting hugs!!!

Did you ever notice that most people hug to the "left" of someone? I wonder why that is?
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:24 AM   #21
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I was never much of a hugger, but always wanted to be. I love getting hugs!!!

Did you ever notice that most people hug to the "left" of someone? I wonder why that is?
I'm a lefty, so I've always thought that it was me! How interesting.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:27 AM   #22
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The last day of work, last Tuesday, I was hugged by like 12 people, it was a record for me and I really have no idea why all of a sudden everyone was hugging, it was really wierd. OMG and like 3 of them gave me a light cheek kiss!! But what do you do, run?

And I really don't know the "meaning" behind it unless you *love* someone and then I still don't hug people I love so who knows?

Interesting question.
You're funny. I had a few wet cheeks too, and I didn't know what to do either. I wanted to run... but just stood there in a frozen state and then I wiped myself with my sleeve. Maybe it would have been a bit different if they came from men, but the smacks on the face were from all ladies!
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:55 AM   #23
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"Did you ever notice that most people hug to the "left" of someone? I wonder why that is?"

Probably because most "huggers" are predominately right-handed therefore hug with their right hand/arm the "huggie".
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:59 AM   #24
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I love hugs, always have and I can still remember the feel of the first hug I got from my DH. I can also remember what it felt like to hold my neice for the very first time and that was 13 years ago. That's the power of touch.

My family never became huggers until my parents divorced, now we hug at hello and good bye, sometimes it feels strange because we weren't always that way, I guess divorce shows you things you should have been doing all along
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:17 PM   #25
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I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many hugs! DH's family gives really light hugs and it has always seemed insincere to me. I've just come to realize that it is simply how they are. However, I continue giving them "real" hugs and they have actually started to hug back just a little bit tighter. DH gives great hugs! The first time he ever gave me a hug and I felt so incredibly safe in his arms after a really rough day made me realize just how much I loved him even though we had not been dating for that long. I hug my kids everyday. It's really hard to be angry with someone that you are hugging and loving. My 15 year old DD's Christmas present to me was a handwritten note saying that I was entitled to at least one hug from her every day for a year!
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:06 PM   #26
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I am not a hugger either. I also think hugging is on the rise. Europeans don't really "hug" you, but rather touch cheeks while holding your shoulders in their hands, which is better to me. It bugs me that huggers think everyone else would like a hug and you feel they are offended and take it personally if you don't whole-heartedly hug back.
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:24 PM   #27
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My husband has an old work related friend who pops in from time to time and today he showed up at our home three sheets to the wind. I don't hug except for people I love. And this guy insisted about 3 times that I give him a New Years hug before he left. It was very embarrassing as I told him "no" over and over.

So why am I even thinking about it? I feel sorry for him as he is a loud drunk, but hug him I will not.

My husband also feels sorry for him and is a listener for him. My husband is a patient sweetie.

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Old 01-01-2009, 05:04 AM   #28
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My husband has an old work related friend who pops in from time to time and today he showed up at our home three sheets to the wind. I don't hug except for people I love. And this guy insisted about 3 times that I give him a New Years hug before he left. It was very embarrassing as I told him "no" over and over.

So why am I even thinking about it? I feel sorry for him as he is a loud drunk, but hug him I will not.

My husband also feels sorry for him and is a listener for him. My husband is a patient sweetie.

Beth
Good for you! I'm not so sure I could say No 3 times! (Just because I would feels sorry for him that he was such a mess...). Glad you didn't give in...especially in his drunken state!
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:37 AM   #29
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HMMM... I hug hello and goodbye to those I'm very close to. I hug to express empathy or sympathy. I hug when I'm excited. I hug to comfort. I hug my children for no reason at all just to express love. I hug to reassure. I hug to show intimacy. So it sounds like I hug a lot and I don't. Weird.
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:45 AM   #30
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I hug those closest to me. My kids, my brothers/SIL's and a few close friends. I don't like it when people I work with or know casually hug me. It feels fake.
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