I like giving hugs and I like receiving hugs, but I like my hugs to be of a certain type and I give hugs of a certain type.
Hugging is serious business.
If I know you well and you try to pull one over on me that is not my preference, I will make you redo it. I’m always making my mom redo hers.
“Oh, Kelley, you are too much.”
Basically, huggers fall into four categories, as you can see by the Venn diagram I created over at GraphJam.
I am most definitely a squeezer. A light squeezer. I have family that are also squeezers, but they’re tight squeezers. After a hug from them, you check the pavement for organs they may have squeezed right out of you. (One time I found part of my spleen after a hug at a family picnic and had no clue what to do with it afterwards. I just threw it away and, surprisingly, have done well without it.) You also check for broken bones.
What I’m not is a patter or a smoother. No way, Jose. Or, as my grandmother has been known to say, “No way, Josie”. (I’m thinking she’s thinking that’s how you pronounce Jose?)
No, you’ll receive no back pats or smooths from me.
I’m not a fan of light touches.
I’m not a fan of someone tapping me lightly on the shoulder either. Icky, icky, icky. I will have to smooth that out with my hand once the tap is finished. Essentially, I’m wiping off tap-tap-tap residue on my shoulder. I like a firm hand placed on my shoulder or something. Or just call my name. Call it loudly, though, because I’ve got that lovely hearing loss thing going on.
Andi Dorfman, the Bachelorette, is a smoother. You obviously know I watch the show since I wrote posts about why I’d be an awful bachelorette and why I’d also be an awful contestant on “The Bachelor”. I’ve watched her give MANY hugs and she’s smoothing backs out left and right. I’m pretty sure Andi, and other smoothers like her, think they are adding an extra dose of love to their hugs with their smoothing ways. If you give me a hug this way, I will appreciate it, but I will remember that you are a smoother.
Smoothing distracts me. I will wonder for a while after the hug if you meant the smoothing as a “there, there” or just as an extra dose of love.
Back patters make me feel like I’m being burped. Maybe all that friendly patting takes me back to days of babyhood when I had awful gas I couldn’t get rid of on my own, so my mother had to pat the heck out of my back until I felt better.
Back patters also seem to rush the hug. I don’t want to stand in an embrace forever. Don’t misunderstand me. I just want a genuine let’s-hug-it-out moment without all the extraneous hand motions- patting or smoothing.
As for the show-off, they’re patting and smoothing and squeezing all at once, which is absolutely impressive. That person wants you to remember you’ve been hugged by them. If the show-off would hug just a moment longer, you might feel like you’ve been given a mini-massage, which, let’s be honest, would be kind of nice. I bet that *Chinese masseuse that got a little frisky with me that one time is a major show-off hugger.
So, let’s hear it. Which one are you?
*Excuse me. I meant to say “Chinese massage therapist”. (I had to get that out before the MTs came out of the woodwork to knock me upside the head for using the wrong word.)