Dealing with "huggers" :-)

  1. Okay, maybe I'm weird. But I do not really like to be touched or hugged by casual acquaintances or people I don't know very well. Even with friends, they have to be really good friends and an appropriate situation. So if there is anyone else out there like me, I'd appreciate advice on how to deal with this.

    The reason I ask is something that happened this morning that has been bugging me all day. Last night a nurse floated to our floor; I'd worked with her maybe 3-5 times before when she floated to our floor. She is very friendly and very talkative and almost to the point of being nosy, but very sweet. She needed some help a few times so I and another nurse helped her. Several times she would say "Oh, bless you!!" and be so enthusiastic about a tiny little thing and I was a little embarrassed. Then at the end of the shift, I did some printing/filing for her that is specific to our floor, that is easier to just do than explain and that she does not need to know how to do, since she hardly ever works on our floor. She came up to me in the nurses station and came at me to hug me and it was like an involuntary reflex, I backed up and almost tripped over a chair behind me and she did hug me but I'm sure I stiffened up. I mean it was seriously a reflex to back away, but I felt horrible later on. I am sure she meant well and was probably hurt. I have had that happen with other overly enthusiastic huggers (as I like to call them), and have even had people say to me "Oh I'll shake your hand, I know you don't like to be hugged" when i never even said anything to them about it.

    I guess my question is, is there any way to overcome this reflex of stiffening/backing away when people you hardly know or know/don't like, or whatever; try to hug you? Or a kind/polite way of getting the point across that you are just not a touchy person, without hurting feelings? Or do I just need to grow up and get over it and smilingly endure unwanted hugs?

    Sorry this is so long. Thanks for any insights.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   zuzi
    rayrae, i try to respond you and making you to fell comfortable! i am one of the huggers! as you are a "not touch me person" exactly the same, others, could be "huggers" nobody to be blamed for what they are! we can live in the same world if both of us maintain limits. you being able to tell us in a not hurt touching way and on non touching tone..."please i feel much comfortable without hugs" , and we "huggers" being able create these limits between us and you without any resentments (stopping hugs)...that is all......and everybody lived many years happy together....loool
    both of us, you and us, we try to deal with the same problem but in different way....you staying away, us being in contact, ....smile please in your box and we will smile also in our ring dance .......life is the same...beautiful and deserved to be lived! not hugs for you! loooooool have a nice beautiful day!
  4. by   bethin
    I'm not a touchy feely kind of gal.

    Everyone must be kept at arms length and most people know this about me. Only a select few like my nieces are allowed within this barrier. The whole idea of hugging seems much too personal.

    Often times, if someone I don't know hugs me and doesn't know my rule, I don't say anything. I'm sure my body language said it all while they were hugging me and they'll remember that the next time they feel the urge to hug me.
  5. by   loricatus
    I am exactly the same way. I can't give a suggestion because I am trying to overcome the same problem. So, I am eager to see if anyone has some suggestions to stop that involuntary freeze or avoidance. Those 'huggers' are usually well intentioned & I truly would hate to offend a kind soul.
  6. by   perfectbluebuildings
    Thanks, it's good to hear I'm not the only one.
  7. by   deeDawntee
    I am a hugger, but always ask first if I can give someone a hug, if I sense any hesitation, I will just shake a hand or just do an "air hug" (like I'm patting their shoulders, but I don't touch them.) I guess if I were you, I would just say, a good natured way, I'm not a hugger, but I do appreciate the sentiment...or whatever. I know someone who often tells people, "you are in my bubble" and that seems to work for her...people back off.
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    I've learned to accept them with grace (I'm old and it took awhile) . . . except I have to admit that some of the folks who want to hug me (like men who are creepy) still make me back up.

    steph
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Oct 30, '07
  9. by   Roy Fokker
    I have to admit - despite being a somewhat "mind my own business, private person" - I'm a pretty touchy-feely type.

    I've learned/make it a point to limit it with strangers because I have no idea how it might come across (and I especially try and avoid it at work - last thing I need is to be slapped with a sexual harassment suit) - but I'm pretty liberal with good acquaintances or friends.


    Sorry Rayrae - no advice from me :imbar

    cheers,
  10. by   joannep
    Hi,
    I agree it can be really awkward socially to not like to be hugged. When I was dating I used to shake hands with the guy who took me out. It took a really keen guy to continue being interested in me!
    I am also sure that is one of the reasons that my mother in law dislikes me. She is a hugger and from the moment we met she has kept trying to hug me (25 years) and I keep trying to tell her I don't like to be hugged. She has taken it personally. But I am happy hugging her son! LOL
    At work I also do not welcome hugs. Like stevielynn I have learned not to react quite as much as I used to, but it is difficult when you are "attacked".
  11. by   nursemike
    I tend to be a bit reserved--no, seriously--so when my best friend came back from California and hugged me, I was a bit disconcerted. Over the years, especially since getting into healthcare, I've been hugged a good deal more than is my nature. I've gotten to the point where it really doesn't bother me, and sometimes I rather like it. I think it's possible to learn to accept it as it's intended, and on the whole, it seems to make the world a little happier place.

    {{{{hugs}}}}
    Last edit by nursemike on Nov 1, '07 : Reason: ambiguous abreviation
  12. by   perfectbluebuildings
    Quote from nursemike
    I tend to be a bit reserved--no, seriously--so when my best friend came back from California and hugged me, I was a bit disconcerted. Over the years, especially since getting into healthcare, I've been hugged a good deal more than is my nature. I've gotten to the point where it really doesn't bother me, and sometimes I rather like it. I think it's possible to learn to accept it as it's intended, and on the whole, it seems to make the world a little happier place.
    {{{{hugs}}}}
    Thanks. That helps.

    I appreciate all the advice and explanations.
  13. by   lpnstudentin2010
    Please just tell them. I just had to deal with something like this except the opposite. Someone/somepeople not exactly sure went to the student life office because they were uncomfortable with me hugging and did not want to hurt my feelings by telling me. I would have much rathered them just tell me then go to someone else but alls well that ends well.


    So just talk to them.
  14. by   Alois Wolf
    I'm the exact same way to be honest. If I'm not the one intiating the contact and I'm not comfortable with the person I will get really uncomfortable. And NEVER EVER, EVER poke me in the side. You will die.

    One time in band my friend M, poked me in the side and my reflex was to swing my arm... I accidently smacked her with my flute.... she was not all too pleased... but neither was I for that matter... so I didn't feel the need to apologize. She knew better.
    Last edit by Alois Wolf on Nov 3, '07

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