vlecuyer at ksu.edu
Tue, 11 Nov 2003 18:54:42 -0600
"Padget, Scott R" wrote:
A lot of remarkably useful commentary.
> I fear you may be delivering the wrong message to the wrong audience,
> and will get almost *exactly* the opposite result from what you intend.
Let me try to summarise in a way that will probably work better for
the shy crowd:
a) you make sure that you are in the person's field of vision and
b) they have had time to register any objections or cautions and
c) you make a point of physical gentleness with people you do not know
I grew up in a physically demonstrative family (huggers and touchers), but I have a lot of friends who are very much "hands off" for a variety of reasons. Whenever I take any friend home for the first time I make a point of warning
them "we hug you hello and we hug you goodbye." I understand why some people insist on physical contact, and I also understand why some people absolutely hate it. I respect both types. So, let me add to Marna's very excellent summary
for people who have early childhood training/conditioning about constant hugging and/or touching.
a) front-only approaches works best. Peripheral vision trajectories tend to make them startle as much as blind approaches.
b) asking outright "do you like hugs?" or "can I hug you?" the first time is not normally considered rude. Many non-touchers appreciate the frankness.
c) (well said)
d) If the recpient stiffens, pulls back, hunches, angles away, or steps back, don't try to complete the hug or touch. Looking a little foolish is better than scaring, provoking, or upsetting them.
e) when in doubt, don't hug. Just give them a very big smile.