I am not on fire.

A few days ago two of my colleagues and I were discussing hugging in various settings. (Not typical office chat and I’m not totally sure how we got on the topic.) Now, I’m all for private (or necessary: see below) hugging but it’s all that hugging in other settings — what I call casual hugging — that can be an issue.

I am not a hugger. This is surprising to some, as apparently I look like a hugger; like the type of person who could break into a hug at any moment for no reason at all. I am told that I am so warm and friendly — not to mention cuddly looking — that the fact I don’t really enjoy getting hugged is rather surprising.

Well not to me…but you get the idea.

I mean I have hugged and been hugged in myriad settings but given my choice there are only a few reasons I will endorse full body hugging (with squeezing and/or patting) while in public.

My top ten reasons for hugging:

  1. You are moving to Australia.
  2. I am moving to Australia.
  3. You are on fire.
  4. I am on fire.
  5. I am dying.
  6. You are dying.
  7. Someone one (or both) of us loves is dying.
  8. You are in emotional crisis. (But not if I am — in that case a drink is probably a good bet.)
  9. You are one of my huggy relatives — it’s a cultural thing one can’t escape, even me.
  10. For the sporty among us: goal!

Reasons not to hug:

  1. Hello.
  2. Goodbye.
  3. How are you?
  4. I like your sweater.
  5. Where did you get those cool boots?
  6. How nice to bump into you at the mall.
  7. Let’s go get some lunch.
  8. That was such a nice lunch. Let’s do it again soon!
  9. I love your new apartment!
  10. Have a nice vacation!

(Note: I will actually say these things and mean them.)

Now granted, I don’t go around telling people not to hug me so I do get accidentally hugged on occasion. I am polite so I try to not make a spectacle of myself. In these situations I employ what my friend P. calls the half-hug. Sometimes she’ll give a half-hug (in which only one arm is used and there is very little squishing) just to annoy me.

I actually don’t mind it, but I am keeping that to myself and my three readers. But please, don’t get any ideas.


  1. I am going to have to watch myself around you. But you are so cuddly and cute that I can’t help it!!

  2. I have been known to make exceptions with friends who can’t help but hug me. But please keep it to yourself.

  3. hardest thing about leaving Montreal was no longer being certain about the casual kiss on both cheeks…this has led me to abandon hugging, since when hugged I would bizo bizo and get really funny looks from the recipient. I’ll make you a button “I’m NOT a Hugger!”

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