Which Type of Hugger Are You?
I’m a hugger.
A really good one, too.
Like any other supernatural gift, being a good hugger has its benefits and downfalls; but overall, being known for awesome hugs is a really great gig. I don’t mean to sound flippant about my hugging abilities. I really consider what I do more of an embrace, a more premium style than the commonly used hug. I try to be responsible when I embrace people, but I will admit, a few times some wires have crossed. While my intent is to make a hug recipient feel loved and important…they may think I want them to squeeze my butt. This is not the case. OK, a few times this is the case – but VERY rarely! You just need to be prepared for the heat I’m bringing, or you will get burned. Both from my hug heat and your inability to correctly read body language.
An occupational hazard for quality embracers like myself, is that people have very high expectations. But really, who can blame them? They have been spoiled by warm, magical hugs and that is what they anticipate every time they see you. If you are trying to gauge how others respond to your hugs, you only have to ask yourself one question: do others ask me for hugs? By others I mean non-threatening people. Not dodgy guys in bars or bathroom attendants or your husband’s 80 year old uncle. The answer to this question will shed light on your hugging quotient.
I understand that not everyone can be a Master Embracer, that’s just the way of the world. Hugging is not a one woman show, a good hug takes two people. Be as observant of the hugs you receive as you are intentional about the hugs you give. You can learn a lot about a person by the way they hug. Take for example, these common huggers:
Wet Spaghetti Arms Hugger
This person just flops her arms around your body as if she has no muscle tone. There is no leaning in, no cheek-to-cheek action. The hug is all nasty, lifeless arms that don’t even give a back pat. It leaves you feeling more icky than cared for. These huggers mean well, it’s possible they don’t realize what a terrible job they are doing.
Full discloure: my best friend was once a Wet Spaghetti Arm-er. True story, I endured years of these hugs. The irony is, she is the most loving, caring, big hearted person you will ever meet. Her hugs just straight-up sucked. I decided to have what my friend Katie calls, a care-frontation. I very kindly told Tara her hugs did not represent her well and, quite frankly, made me feel slightly creeped out. She took the news like a champ! Under my tutelage, she remains an excellent hugger to this day.
The A Frame Hugger
Unlike Wet Spaghettis, these guys know exactly what they are doing. In case you’re not clear, an A Frame hug (also known as the Christian Side Hug), is when two people stand side by side and each person simply wraps one arm around the other person’s shoulder. It’s what you do when you when someone is snapping a photo of you and your pal, it’s not legit hugging.
A framers are sending a clear message about touching: they don’t like it. It’s not their thing. They are uncomfortable with physical contact. Being that close to other humans makes them uneasy. They are frightened by what may run through their mind when your boobs press into their boobs. For these reasons, the A Framer needs a full on embrace more than anyone else.
My advise to A Framers: if you cannot commit to a real hug, than just shake hands. Spare us the awkwardness of trying to figure out how many arms to use and which way to turn.
The Back Cracker
These are people who want to be known for their hugs but take things too far. They squeeze all the air from your lungs and lift you off the ground. Typically, as they are jostling you around in the air, your back will crack. This is both uncomfortable and pleasurable at the same time.
The Gentle Burper
Technically, there is nothing wrong with this guy’s hugging skills. It’s just that he adds to the hug, a repetitive tap on your back, as if burping a baby after a feeding. Sometimes it’s not so much a tapping, as it is a circular rubbing motion. This person is usually the same one who will rest their head on your shoulder when hugging. It may advance to hair stroking…things can get weird fast if you don’t draw boundaries with a Gentle Burper. Try to pull away from this one after the first few back taps. Maybe even give them a courtesy tap or two so they know there are no hard feelings.
This hugger has mastered the art of the embrace. There is a perfect balance of squeezing pressure, good timing on the exhale and perfect placement of the arms. While these skills can be practiced, there is one things Master Embracers possess that cause their hugs to cast a spell on people: just the right amount of inhibition. This cannot be taught, but rather felt deep in the soul. Master Embracers must trust themselves when offering hugs, knowing the powers they possess. With great hugging comes great responsibility.
Now that you have identified which type of hugger you are, pass this on to people you love to hug…then go give them a hug!
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Photo Credit: “FREE HUGS, in Hibiyakoen, Tokyo Prefecture” by http://www.flickr.com/photos/eelssej_/ – http://www.flickr.com/photos/eelssej_/394781835/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.