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I can't hug people

Eric wrote:

I'm not really sure how to start this, so I suppose I'll be blunt: With exception to my family and partner, I can't hug people. I have nothing against hugging, and I don't mind it at all when people hug me. When it comes to me initiating a hug with a friend, however, I can count the number of times I've done that with my fingers.

I came to the conclusion that I view hugs as being non-essential. I've been living life believing that hugs provide consolation, but there are plenty of other ways to help. Since I always fear that I'll be initiating a hug at an inappropriate time, I almost never try to hug another person.

Now, don't get me wrong. I want to hug others. I'm actually a fairly sensitive young man and care greatly for those around me. I'm not planning on going about hugging random people off of the street; these are friends I've known for years, friends that I've grown close to.

I could accept it if it was just a matter of me not knowing when to hug another person, but there are times when it seems like it's clearly called for. It didn't dawn on me how bad this has become until I had a friend that was in tears. With no one else to turn to at the time, I talked to her and tried to console her. Even though she was crying, I couldn't bring myself to give her a hug.

I don't want to be like this. I want to be able to provide the sort of comfort they're looking for.

What can I do to change this?

Dear Eric

There are two kinds of people in the world, huggers and non-huggers; you appear to be a non-hugger. The only problem is that you are a non-hugger who feels guilt.

Look around you; you'll find that many, many people are non-huggers, outside of nearest and dearest.There's really no need to feel left out, deprived or guilty.

And a 'forced hug' that felt bad would be infinitely worse than no hug at all. Because that's the point - you think hugs are about you, the 'hugger'. But they are not. Hugs are about being hugged.

And being hugged by someone who would rather be in another room, is not a nice experience.

And your intentions could be seriously misinterpreted.

Learn to accept your sad fate as a non-hugger; maybe go further and be proud not to be hugging while others do so at the drop of a hat.

But if you really feel the need to force physical contact against your instincts, then start gently - pat an arm, hold a hand, whatever. But only hug when you want to hug.

You are who you are - and you are not alone!

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