Do Drugs, Not Hugs

Are you a Huggy Bear? Do you even get the Huggy Bear reference? Do you get the title to this post? If you don’t get either, I’m not sure we can be friends. And I’m definitely not going to hug you. The idea for this post comes from a friend of mine who hates the hugging culture that the world has become.

It seems that some people are huggers and others are not. It is commonplace to greet both friends and new acquaintances with a hug. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

On the one hand, if the person you’re meeting is attractive, who doesn’t want a hug, right? But what if they’re not? What if they have bad hygiene?

And at what point in a relationship do you go from greeting with a handshake to a hug? My friend, who hates hugging, will greet me with a hug and says that it’s acceptable because she knows me well, but at the same time, knowing her distaste for hugs, I can’t help but wonder if she’s just going along with the social expectation, while at the same time shuddering inside and decontaminating herself with gallons of Purell the minute she gets away from me.  How well, or how long, or what kind of relationship does it have to be for you to hug?

Someone you know personally and see frequently socially seems like an obvious hug situation. But what kind of hug? There are many different kinds of hugs.

There’s the touch shoulders, pat on the back hug: This one is good with friendly acquaintances, spouses of friends, and co-workers.

Also there’s the full body contact, rub the back hug: This should only be used at funerals and with immediate family members. Or right before sex, but hopefully not sex at funerals or with immediate family members.

And don’t forget the hug with the kiss on the cheek: This one should absolutely be limited to two situations. Greeting a dignitary from France, or if you’re someone’s grandmother and you just pulled a Kleenex and butterscotch candy out of your bra.


I have to admit that a few months ago I accidentally hugged someone I had no business hugging and I’m still upset about it.  I only know this person in a professional context. I was seeing her in a professional context in this situation, but it was in a city I was totally surprised to see her in. I think it was the surprise of seeing someone familiar in a place where I didn’t know anyone that resulted in an impulsive, brief touch the shoulders pat on the back hug. At that moment I thought, “WTF? Why did I just hug her?” And simultaneously she thought, “WTF? Why did Phil just hug me. That’s fecking weird.” She probably didn’t think the word “fecking” because she’s not Irish. Then again, she might be. I don’t know. I don’t know her well enough to know her ancestry and I sure as hell didn’t know her well enough to hug her! Now, if I ever see her again I will calmly walk the other way and pretend I have no idea who she is. She could be laying in the road, thrown through the windshield of her car in an accident and on the brink of death and I still would have to pretend I don’t know her. If I didn’t know her well enough to hug her, I sure as hell don’t know her well enough to give mouth to mouth resuscitation!

My friend, who inspired this post, maintains that as a society we have become a hugging culture and it’s not good. Not good at all as far as she’s concerned. What do you think? Are you a Huggy Bear, or would you rather do drugs than hugs? Why don’t you hug this post by leaving a comment and…Take the poll!

Have a great weekend! Virtual hugs to you all! ~Phil

40 responses to “Do Drugs, Not Hugs

  1. I’m a hugger. I confess!!! But I give good hug!

  2. I love hugs & hugging, BUT my hugs are 100% genuine. I only hug people I really love, so not just family, but friends too. I won’t hug someone I’ve just met though. I don’t know them therefore I don’t know if they’re worthy of my bodily contact yet or not. Unless of course, they’re hot. Then I’ll just hold them close to me until the police arrive.

  3. I love certain hugs. Then I dread others. I would hug my children all day long and often do 😊

  4. I’m definitely a hugger, but it’s all about body language and feeling out the situation. I don’t mean that in a literal sense. No groping! Groping is bad. Ya know what I hate? A limp handshake. That really bothers me.

  5. I’m one of those dangerous huggers. The one you see coming and have no place to hide from. I’m trying to find a 12-step program… Thanks for this post, you made me smile! Diane

  6. I am not a hugger but I don’t mind getting hugs and often wish I could initiate them more. FYI when we meet you can give me a hug this is for you Phil and all our Big Up Your Blog peeps.

  7. Hugs are good, except when they get weird. You know that moment when you prevaricate ‘will I or won’t I’? Or they go on too long for no real reason. Maybe I’m just not a hugger.

  8. I only really hug friends, and usually only if I won’t be seeing them for a while! I’m not anti-hug- if I know you decently well, hug away! However, I very much appreciate that not everyone likes hugging so I keep my distance. No unwanted hugs here!

  9. I’m a dodgy, awkward hugger….to hug or not to hug? That really is the question.

  10. I didn’t take your quiz because
    The answer that’s for me
    Is one that wasn’t up there
    One I didn’t see
    Hugs are not for everyone
    If you know what I mean
    Yet not just for family members, I’d say
    Somewhere in between.

  11. I consider myself a cuddly person, but hugs are for close friends only. Not even necessarily family (then again, I hate my family, so… ) Now, I’ve had some people surprise me with a hug a little earlier in our relationship than I’d expected and I surprised myself by being okay with it, but for the most part I need to instigate. I think this is another cat trait, maybe? But if you’re one of those people who just grabs me and starts hugging because you want to hug, I will assume it’s either sexual or you’re trying to steal my wallet, and react accordingly.

  12. I once hugged a girl I worked with at Tim Hortons, we weren’t really friends but I was trying to get 3 shifts covered over a long weekend in the summer and she graciously offered to work a double shift to help me out. When she arrived, I was almost in tears from happiness just to see someone, anyone, who came in and wasn’t “sick” with omg-it’s-sunny-out-lets-go-to-the beach-itus. It was a little weird, but now we’re super close friends so maybe it was a good thing?

  13. I’ve read somewhere that it’s been scientifically proven that in order for us to grow we need seven hugs a day and I believe it’s true. It releases endorphins. 🙂 So ((hugs)) to you! 😉

  14. Great post, Phil. I’m with you on the hugging. I got caught in a big grip hug once and felt like the cat in a Pepe La Pue cartoon.

  15. First, that Huggy Bear reference better be in regards to Starsky and Hutch. Second, I’m a hugger. Not only am I a hugger, but if you’re related by blood, we hug and then we kiss each other on the lips! But I don’t usually hug people I work with professionally unless death or some other horrible circumstance is involved.

  16. There are many different kinds of hugs. Use the right one at the right time and you’re good. I’m a hugger but I usually wait to see what the other person does first 😊

  17. I hug the shit out of everybody, but I promise, if we ever meet in person I will just say hi and spark up a joint instead.

  18. I’m the worst kind if hugger. the pretender. I don’t want to but always do.

  19. I prefer to hug those I know (which includes of you bloggers when I meet you for the first time), but If I see you are open to a hug, I go on in. I will hug complete strangers who seem to be distressed. No harm ever came from a hug. A hug may be needed by the recipient.

  20. I’m always a bit taken aback when people I don’t really know hug me. But, I like it as it kind of helps confirm I’m not that bad! If they look creepy though then I’m glad when it’s over!

  21. angelanoelauthor

    I love a good hug. But sometimes, its just not necessary and should never be obligatory. I do find it interesting how natural it feels to hug someone even if we’ve just met–which depends a lot on how much we’ve gotten to know each other in other ways.
    I laughed at your description of the kiss on the cheek scenario. I have a few very sincere friends who employ this practice. I don’t mind, but I’m pretty sure it would just never occur to me to kiss someone on the cheek unless said person was a child I knew well. Or, you know, my husband, who I married for the express purpose of kissing as needed.

  22. I love hugs, and I see them as a friendly greeting. It shows that somebody cares. But, this is only on a friendship or love level. In professional settings, handshakes will do just fine. 🙂

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