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Posted: December 27th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

I thought this article might be well-timed as we interact with family, coworkers, and friends during the holiday season.  Sometimes physical interactions can be welcome, particularly when they match levels of intimacy that seem to fit with the relationship.  But then there can be hugs that uncomfortable or worse, creepy.

Here are some factors to keep in mind to ensure the hug is positive for both parties (most relevant with those with whom we have limited personal history or relationship):

  1. Ask permission.  I know that this might seem like a foreign idea to some but it allows receivers to have choice over their body.  You never know who has endured abuse, has a different set of comfort levels with touch, or is just not in the mood.  Asking is a way to avoid having to guess and to offer an important form of respect.
  2. The degree of bodily contact.  For those we do not know well, a side hug or one that only involves shoulders and arms touching feels much less invasive.
  3. The duration of the hug.  With acquaintances or colleagues, keeping the hug short and sweet is preferable to most.
  4. Avoid pulling someone into a hug.  This suggests that there is some level of control being exercised rather than a mutual exchange.
  5. Unless romantically involved, be sure your energy is neutral.  People often have an intuitive sense when the other person wishes for more.

Here’s hoping that you get all the hugs you need and give generously when possible to bring love and beauty into your piece of the world!




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Tania Henderson
M.A., L.P.C., N.C.C.