Are you a hugger by nature? Do handshakes feel too formal when you’re greeting a long-time colleague with whom you get along really well? You might want to read this Time column by research psychologist Peggy Drexler, who says she and many others share a “hugging anxiety” that makes intimate gestures very uncomfortable.
In the column, Dexler talks of her discomfort when hugged by a man she considers a “dear friend.” Despite their friendship, she feels awkward when he hugs her, and quotes others who find themselves struggling to protect their personal space both in and out of the office.
Personally, I feel comfortable hugging my friends. But I can accept that not everyone feels the same way. It can be tricky to know if an air kiss or handshake is suitable, or if you should go in for a hug. Like Drexler says, women especially need a more clear-cut definition of what is an appropriate gesture. You don’t want to appear to be slighting the other person, but you also don’t want to be uncomfortable if you feel your space is being violated.
How about you? Do you like to hug, or does it make you uncomfortable? Please comment below!