Hugging Etiquette

She hugged me yes­ter­day. I thought I was over her, but maybe I’m still smit­ten. Physical con­tact does fun­ny things to the mind.

I don’t under­stand why girls are so into hug­ging. Often, I’ll go for a hand­shake, and as if it does­n’t take, they’ll lean in to hug after­ward. A girl once asked if she could hug me after I explained to her my pro­ce­dure for check­ing a cat before adop­tion. Figure that one out.

The fun­ny thing is that most girls aren’t very good hug­gers. They give limp hugs — more of a press­ing of the arms to the body — and it bugs the crap out of me. It’s like get­ting a soft hand­shake, also referred to as the “limp noo­dle”.

Bronwen’s an excep­tion. I always give and get a bear hug from her when I see her and when she leaves. Sometimes we fight for arm posi­tion­ing, because we both pre­fer to have the arms low­er than the oth­er. I like to have my arms around a girls’ waist, where­as she likes to have her arms sur­round­ed, so she feels pro­tect­ed.

The two Louise’s are/were also good at hug­ging. Nice and firm, with­out being too clingy. Maybe it’s a Louise thing.

It just makes me won­der; if girls are so into hug­ging, why aren’t they bet­ter at it?


  1. I agree about the limp noo­dle thing, I hate that. I also don’t like it when a guy tries to crush my hand. Can’t they feel my bones crunch­ing?

    Although I guess hug­ging is a lit­tle more inti­mate, and girls hug every­one so that no one feels left out. They’ll prob­a­bly give bet­ter hugs to peo­ple they care about vs peo­ple they just met.

    I know girls who are just real­ly into the hug­ging and they give every­one a good squeeze. I just don’t see myself as that open with peo­ple I don’t real­ly know, and I also kind of gauge oth­er peo­ple’s touchy-feely lev­el. Some peo­ple who are real­ly touchy feely, I’ll rec­i­p­ro­cate, but if they’re kind of stand off­ish, I’m not going to throw myself onto them.

  2. Oh yeah, and while we’re on the greet­ing top­ic, the kiss on the cheek thing is def­i­nite­ly cul­tur­al, and I’ll only do it if they do it. Or if it’s a spe­cial occa­sion, like wed­dings. :)

  3. I hear some golfers don’t shake hands, they shake fore­arms (grab­bing some­one’s fore­arm) because they get the occa­sion­al fan who has a grip that’s too strong. Crushing a golfers hand would be like ruin­ing their liveli­hood. I nev­er under­stood that either. You can give a nice, firm hand­shake with­out show­ing off how strong you are.

    I give a firm hand­shake to who­ev­er I meet, but I’ll only give a firm hug when I feel the oth­er per­son doing the same. Otherwise, I feel like I’m being real­ly creepy. And I gen­er­al­ly only ini­ti­ate a hug if you’re in my inner cir­cle of friends. Maybe it’s my cul­ture that’s made me stand-off­ish towards peo­ple with whom I’m not very famil­iar.

    I’ve only kissed on the cheek twice in my life (not includ­ing my grand­moth­er). Maybe I haven’t had enough prac­tice, but it’s so awk­ward!

  4. I love hugs. They make me feel warm.

    I’m not a limp hug­ger or a limp hand­shak­er. When men give me wimpy hand­shakes, I call them on it and tell them that we have to do it again. However, I’ve nev­er once re-called a hug. If a guy or girl gives me a wimpy hug it does­n’t mean much to me and I shrug it off.

    Women need to feel adored, cared for and safe. It is our way of con­nect­ing. I think, though, that women give shit­ty hugs to men because some­times they are afraid that the con­nec­tion might be mis­con­strued as some­thing else and there­fore only do it halfway. I could be wrong, because I’m not the type to half-ass a hug. I love hugs.

    In fact, I could use a hug right now! It’s a shit­ty day already at only 9AM!

    PS. Love your writ­ing late­ly. Perfect for autumn.

  5. Here’s a the­o­ry.

    Women are allowed to do more phys­i­cal con­tact with­out it being sex­u­al.

    The rules are loos­er for women but at the same time if a woman holds too tight she’s at risk for seem­ing to be mak­ing “an advance”. If that’s the dynam­ic of con­cern, then it’s a del­i­cate bal­ance.

    If the per­son is more straight-shoot­ing and has the atti­tude, I’ll tell you in no uncer­tain terms if I’m inter­est­ed that way, she has more free­dom from the affec­tion vs. coy com­plex­i­ty.

  6. ah, Mae Ko was say­ing while I was think­ing, and said it bet­ter. :)

  7. I think more peo­ple should be called on weak hand­shakes. Maybe I’ll start doing it myself now. Louise called me on a weak hug once, which I gave because I did­n’t think I was close enough with her yet to go full out.

    You’re both right about a firm hug as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for being mis­con­strued, and I real­ize that I should­n’t be so annoyed when I get a weak one. Definitely a del­i­cate bal­ance though. As I said in my recent assumption/interpretation rant, it’s up to how the per­son receiv­ing inter­prets it, not the one giv­ing, but an ini­tia­tive for a hug is much more like­ly to put out the wrong idea.

  8. Yes, excel­lent point. A com­mu­ni­ty of equals, each cul­pa­ble only for them­selves, not patron­iz­ing keep­ers of each oth­er, not kow-tow­ing expect­ing oth­ers to mind-read.

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