I don’t respond well with hugs – and it’s not because I don’t appreciate the act. I’m just not used it. I don’t know how to respond to it. The family’s not really the touchy-hug-y type.
I was alarmed when the review class students cheered “Group hug!” and proceeded to give me one. As expected, I just stood there cringing as the students rushed into the personal space. I did feel appreciated. I recognize the value of the group hug. I’m honored that they felt like giving me the hug. My response to the hug – during or immediately after the hug, I have to work on (seriously).
A friend once pointed out how unresponsive I was to this hug from a college batch mate. We bumped into each other in the campus grounds and the batch mate, being his sociable self, gave me this big hug. I, being my socially challenged self, stood there fixed on a spot. Well, I did rest my chin in his shoulder for a while and gave his back a bit of a tap. Awkward.
I remember how awkward it was when I joined a student organization in my junior year in college. The members hugged and did the beso-beso (kiss on the cheeks) in greeting. The beso, I somehow managed to deal with – thanks to a few select members who were patient and understanding enough to train me 😀 They’d usually laugh at me during my attempts at the beso. The hugging part got left out. I managed half hugs to get through the greeting.
The sisters and I did talk about these issues and I found I wasn’t the only one dealing with the hugging thing. It’s easy to attribute this to the environment one grew up in. The family has high value for personal space. Come to think of it, we never really hugged, held hands, or held on to the arms. Even the sofa and chair arrangement in the living room’s indicative of this space. The only time we have physical contact is when we’re fighting over the greater part of the blanket.