Learning to Hug


A few days ago I was with a young woman whose plate is very full with raising a daughter, working full time and attending college. As we visited, I was impressed by her goals for herself, one of which is learning to hug.

I was somewhat taken aback by this as hugs are among my favorite things both in terms of giving and receiving. How could anyone not like a hug, but then I remembered our last exchange student who was from Thailand. No sooner had she arrived in our house than I gave her a hug thinking it would be a warm welcome. Putting my arms around her, I felt her stiffen and back away. Hugs were just not natural to her.

As days passed, I tried to find different ways to show her welcoming affection. Sometimes it was with a gentle touch, sometimes it was with a word or two. Then, one evening she came into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner and shyly put her arms around me saying she thought she’d like to hug, a totally new experience for her. That was all it took for us to learn to give and receive daily hugs.

For the young woman with whom I was visiting, hugs had not been something shared in her early relationships, and she admitted that the physical closeness was a bit uncomfortable for her. In a psychology class, she has heard that when hugging is unnatural, trying it with a comfortable person and holding the hug to an eleven count is a way to begin. When we eventually stood to say good bye, you can guess what we did. Yep, hugged and laughed while we counted to eleven. I don’t know when a hug ever felt so good!

Now, what is funny about this whole experience is that when I got home and began more of the decluttering process, look what was found in a daughter’s cabinet. What a wonderful little book this is, and later I’m going to share with you some things to know about hugs. In the meantime, practice giving and receiving them and relish their joy.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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15 thoughts on “Learning to Hug

  1. I’m all for hugging. My best is a family group hug when we’re all together. 🙂

    1. Marcia Fennell Gardner February 13, 2019 — 11:26 am

      A BIG Hug from another H.H. (HAPPY HUGGER).

  2. I am a hugger!

  3. This is a great post. I am soooo not a hugger and everyone around me that is, knows it. I have no problem hugging my children constantly, daily, for long periods of time, and other children we are close with but that’s about it. Over the years, Rob (the Man of our house) has come to accept it and will sneak attack one out of me every so often lol. I look forward to your upcoming posts about it.

    1. Tina, you are a hugger. Every time I see your name I feel as though it’s meant to be a hug, and I am so grateful.

  4. Sending a hug your way!

    1. Lovingly received. Thank you, Ellen.

  5. Hugs are soo wonderful. I always love to give and receive a big hug from my family and dear friends——especially you ❤️❤️

    1. I can’t wait to give you a great big one!

  6. Linda, I am a hugger. I love giving them and receiving them. Sending you a hug!

  7. There is nothing better than a hug!

  8. A bona fide member of the hug club – I love that little book. Had it in my counseling office for years and must have given it to someone who needed it, as I don’t own it now!!!

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