Social Question

chyna's avatar

Do you hug? Are you from a family of huggers?

Asked by chyna (33858 points ) April 18th, 2012

My family never hugged each other. After I was married, my in-laws were huge huggers and actually got my family to start hugging each other. They still do it to this day. Are you a hugger or do you wish you were? Or are you good with not touching anyone?

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42 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I don’t come from a family of huggers, but I do it now. I love a good hug.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

My father had every bone in his body broken in a plane crash. He had been burnt to a cinder trying to save the others on his flight from fire. The government gave him a medal. I used to rub him with ben gay as he got older, gently, as the bones never knitted correctly.

I have been told I have a weak handshake, and that I am not physically expressive. I want to tell them I re-broke my fathers hand when I was 10, and I have been afraid since to apply too much pressure. But I don’t want to hurt other men’s precious assumptions of their own masculinity versus mine.

Coloma's avatar

My family wasn’t super demonstrative but I am. I touch strangers in casual conversation, I have never had anyone reject my demonstrativeness yet. Just a little while ago a good looking guy held a door open for me, clearly he was attracted too, not in a do something about it manner, but I thanked him and touched his shoulder and commented on his orange shirt. ” Love the orange” he was tickled. haha
Happy human touching is nothing to be afraid of.

I’m all about being open with boundaries of course. :-)

stardust's avatar

Yes, I hug. My family aren’t so big on it with the exception of my mother. I think it is very important though.

wundayatta's avatar

I grew up without hugs. Now we hug a bit more. To me, it’s a pretty intimate act, and to hug people I don’t love is kind of invasive. But I do it. I understand the impulse. But the truth is I much prefer to hug people I truly care about.

Hugging also feels like it should be sexual although I know it isn’t. It’s just that the first people who ever truly hugged me were lovers. So it’s hard to separate hugging from that more intense level of intimacy.

JLeslie's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Wow, that is an amazing story. What an incredible thing your dad did. So sad he had so much lasting effects from it physically :(. I am sure that was difficult for you in some ways growing up, but you must be so proud of what he did.

I am one of those people who get a little annoyed with weak handshakes. Your probably would not feel weak to me, since you are man, and maybe easily have a string grip compared to mine. You have made me think twice about my criticism of it, we just never know the reasons why I guess. But, for the most part it is women with weak handshakes who don’t know any better. I am probably not the first to tell you this, bit there is a difference between firm and squeezing, and you are supposed to try to match the firmness of the other person.

Trillian's avatar

I grew up being hugged, and I totally hug all the time. My son hated it for a few brief years then grew to such a disproportionate hugger that he used to hold up a sign at random days in school advertising free hugs. I’m moderately pleased with him at times.~

TexasDude's avatar

My family are all huggers.

My friends and I are fondlers, huggers, dry-humpers, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, I forgot to answer the question, I grew up hugging my dad when I was little. I did hug some friends and my grandma also.

My husband finds it very very odd to hug people except close family members, and there would always be a kiss on the cheek involved to. I am talking about when greeting people. When we go to the midwest to see my friends he finds it very very odd that people hug as a greeting with no kiss. When I am with Latin American people they tend to kiss no hug. It varies culturally for sure when it comes to greetings. I tend to match the custom of whoever I am with, you know, when in Rome. Certain friends get big huge hugs, like it is a tradition.

But, with my daddy when I was little it was not a greeting, it was cuddling up, and same with my grandma.

zenvelo's avatar

I am not from a hugging family, but I started hugging much more in the 80s, and hugged my dad after he was retired. My kids and I hug at least once or twice a day, I hug some friends whenever I see them. But I still don’t hug my siblings very often.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@JLeslie I am very sure I am bigger than you. The next time a man shakes your hand, and it feels weak, perhaps consider they are worried more for your safety than in trying to impress you.

JLeslie's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought It almost never happens with men, extremely rare. That is why I mention if I shook your hand your shake might not feel weak to me. I think too many women are never taught the art of handshaking.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@JLeslie agreed. I am constantly amused by men who give a firm handshake, as if they are asserting masculinity over me.

As my father used to say: “Good men only exist to let women rule things.”

I suppose my family is sexist in it’s own right.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Hugs and firm handshakes are de rigure in our family, with both men and women. Nothing wrong with either. : )

Coloma's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard So what is the methodology for pulling off casual dry humping? lol

AshLeigh's avatar

I go through days when I don’t want anyone to touch me. But I also go through days that I feel like I need to hug someone now.
My father didn’t start hugging me until my parents got a divorce. I honestly wish he would stop.
My sisters are big huggers, and my mother hugs sometimes.
Both of my brothers hug me every time they see me, and before they leave.

JLeslie's avatar

@AshLeigh Right around the age of 12 or 13, I all of sudden did not want hugs from my dad after wanting cuddles all the time when I was younger. It was like puberty or something flipped a switch and all of a sudden, eewww, weird to be so close to him. I told him I didn’t want to hug so much and he was fine with it.

TexasDude's avatar

@Coloma I can’t really explain it adequately. I’d have to show you.

Seriously, I was in the library studying earlier and one of my ladyfriends came out of nowhere and started groping my man boobies. A few minutes later, another one came out and started nuzzling me. After that, one of my dudebros came along and started humping my head. These are all regular occurrences among my cult friend group.

AshLeigh's avatar

@JLeslie it’s not like that for me. I don’t see him often, and I prefer it that way. When I do have to see him I don’t want him near me. I feel like a jerk saying it, but it’s true. XD

augustlan's avatar

I come from a very affectionate family, and I do hug people I’m close to, friends or family. It was interesting watching my ex-husband get used to my family, because he wasn’t from a hugging family. At first, he was uncomfortable with it, but I think he’s a pretty big hugger, now.

chyna's avatar

@augustlan That’s what happened with my family. They were totally uncomfortable with it and never hugged. But my ex-husband’s family was very huggy and they seemed to like that. They got used to it and now are huggers themselves. Another thing, my mom never was able to say “I love you” until I got into my ex’s family and then she was able to say it. I guess they showed her it was okay to say.

muppetish's avatar

Although my mum is a hugger, the rest of my family is not. Outside my family, I have become a huggier person. It’s not so strange to hug close friends or my significant other. This annoys my mum because I still haven’t come around to hugging her very often. It’s a little hard to fall into a new habit… affection is not a quality my family knows me for – just everyone else in my life. Maybe I should sort that out.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Everyone in my family is a hugger, although I only recall seeing the males just shake another male’s hand. They limit their hugs to females. The SO’s family doesn’t hug unless it is done between two people privately. I haven’t figured out yet if this is a standard practice in the UK or just within his family. When I took the SO home to meet my clan, they were warned in advance to tread gently. Otherwise, they would have greeted him en-mass and a few hugs tossed in.

The company I worked for held annual training classes on harassment, diversity, and cultural differences. Hugging was just about taboo in their eyes. Some people don’t like it. Some people, like @Imadethisupwithnoforethought‘s father, have a physical disability that can generate pain. For others, it may not be culturally acceptable. The instructors also pointed out that hugging one person and not another could be construed as favoritism. And, of course, it could be construed as sexual harassment.

Sunny2's avatar

We both came from non-hugging families, but as grownups our kids turned us into huggers. I welcome it.

Coloma's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Head humping?
Now that’s what I’d call a close friendship. lol I am pretty sure I’ll leave this earth without ever experiencing someone humping my head. lol

TexasDude's avatar

@Coloma we’ve all gotten pretty close over our four years living together here.

augustlan's avatar

<< Would totally head-hump @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard

Coloma's avatar

@augustlan LOL…me too. Okay….that’s the plan for any fundraisers for Fiddle. Step right up and get your head humping tickets now.

lillycoyote's avatar

No. Definitely not from a family of huggers. It’s something I had to pick up on the street. :-) But when I was living with my dad, in the last years of his life, I never let him go to bed without giving him a hug and telling him I loved him. I think it made him a little bit uncomfortable, the hugging, but I didn’t care. I was going to do it whether he liked or not. To hell with him! I was going make sure he knew I loved him whether he liked it or not. I sure as hell wasn’t going to let him die not knowing it. If it made him a little uncomfortable, so be it.

Edit: Actually, the hugs may have been as much, if not more, for me. I adored my father. I confess: I was a daddy’s girl to the very end.

SmashTheState's avatar

I never used to give hugs. I’m asexual, and I’ve never liked physical contact. Then one day, a few years ago, I was in a meeting with some union comrades and apologized for my foggy thinking and marble-mouth because I was in the middle of a bout of clinical depression. After the meeting, a woman came over and put her arms out and asked if I’d like a hug. When I’m depressed, I’m not especially good at social graces, and in this case I reacted like she’d offered me a turd on a bun, instinctively jerking away and turning a shoulder lest she inflict a hug on me. I apologized, but I could tell I’d badly hurt her feelings.

I felt so badly about it that I swore I would overcome my aversion to physical contact. I began consciously forcing myself to hug people, sometimes total strangers. I became one of those annoying huggy people who is always invading people’s personal space – and little did they suspect that I was just as uncomfortable as they were!

Today, I make it a point to give hugs. And about a year after the incident, I gave her a big hug, explained what I had done, and why, offering her a sincere apology for being an asshole. She is now a dude named Max. I’m not entirely convinced this is unconnected. :/

Bent's avatar

My family and I are all big huggers. We’ll hug anybody.

ucme's avatar

We tend to hug & bicker in equal measure, the two seem to be mutually exclusive.

DominicX's avatar

Yeah, we’re huggers. We’re also high-fivers :P

cookieman's avatar

I do come from a family of huggers. I’m a big hugger. My aunt likes to do the looonnnggg hug. She’ll hang on for many minutes.

Like @AshLeigh, I do have days where I don’t want to be touched. Normally though, I’m up for a hug. And, as I’m a big guy, you’ll often get a…
((BEAR HUG))

chyna's avatar

^Bear hugs are always welcome.

lonelydragon's avatar

@wundayatta I feel the same way. If it’s a family member or friend, I will submit to the hug, because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but generally I would rather reserve hugging for romantic partners.

CaptainHarley's avatar

LMAO @SmashTheState !!! Welcome aboard, Dude! : ))

wundayatta's avatar

@lonelydragon It’s just weird doing something I associate with very intimate activities, only doing it with someone I don’t want to be that intimate with. I feel like I have to shut down a part of myself. It is pretty creepy inside my head at times like that.

You know those people who like stick their butts out and kind of lightly encircle your shoulders when they hug? You can tell that full body contact is weird for them. My sister does that. I wonder if I’m not the only one in the family who is weirded out by this.

It would be nice to hug and have it be nice and safe and non-sexual, but it just isn’t. I have, like @SmashTheState, trained myself to pretend, but inside it is not comfortable. I know it’s not supposed to be sexual and yet I cannot, for the life of me, separate sexuality from the rest of me, most especially when in physical contact with someone else.

Maybe during games like football or other contact games, I can lost my awareness that I’m touching someone intimately. But when dancing, I am always aware. Fortunately, that’s ok, because dance is about sex as much as anything else. Makes an interesting mind game when dancing with guys, though. But what the fuck!

john65pennington's avatar

I come from a long-line of family huggers.You would be surprised how much feeling a person can put on one hug. As a police officer, a hug was just part of the equasion, especially if I am announcing a death in the family.

I have always said that if you hug a person for more than 15 seconds, you are flirting with them.

Sure, I mostly save my hugs for people I love. But, I will hug a total stranger, if the situation warrants it.

Mos of my hugs are inline with the thoughts of Lonelydragon.

lonelydragon's avatar

@wundayatta I hear you. I actually used to like hugs when I was younger, but not so much after an elderly acquaintance wrangled me into a hug and touched me inappropriately. As a result of that experience, it’s difficult for me to dissociate hugging from sexual intent, so hugs from most people (especially people that I don’t know well) make me feel uncomfortable.

What you’re talking about with your sister is the A-frame hug. It looks like it would be pretty awkward. An alternative to that is the side hug. If you’re not much of a hugger, it is a good way to avoid getting pulled into a full frontal hug with someone you don’t know very well.

Plucky's avatar

I do not come from a family of huggers ...far from it. I yearned for it as a child though – just to be held lovingly.

My mom and my two siblings have been trying to change that for the last 5 years or so. I am having a hard time with it. I have issues with human contact. I want it, yet I am extremely uncomfortable with it. The only person I am ok with is my partner. We are very cuddly. My mom gets hurt/insulted when I don’t want physical contact with her (I’m her daughter and she’s my mother; according to her, there should be no issue). She doesn’t quite understand why it is so difficult for me.

There have been so many times that I wanted to console someone with an embrace but, to this day, I am still lost at how to actually start the process. I want to so badly but I just get stuck in this awkward, and very uncomfortable, rigid state. It’s like my brain is telling me what to do but my body doesn’t compute. It is so difficult being as empathetic as I am and not able to hug properly, if at all.

zenvelo's avatar

It seems that hugging is very much a part of those under the age of 25. I picked up my son at his high school yesterday, I was amazed at the amount of hugging between boys that were easily identifiable jocks.

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