I recently watched a video of Jerry Seinfeld rebuffing a potential hug from Kesha with some serious awkwardness. He didn’t know who she was so maybe thought she was just some rando coming in for the kill. Either way, it was weird.
— Tommy McFLY (@TommyMcFLY) June 6, 2017
I am a hug-neutral person. If you want to hug me, that’s cool, but I’m probably not going to initiate a hug myself. I do, however, know a few very much non-huggers who will do whatever they can to avoid your incoming bro bear hug.
Kids especially are prone to being forced to hug anyone and everyone they come across. Whenever a parent tries to force an unwilling child to hug me, I always shift the conversation elsewhere. Body autonomy forever, folks!
The question is: how does someone who doesn’t want a hug (a totally okay thing for lots of legit health/social/psychological/whatever reasons!) go about avoiding a hug without seeming like a dick who doesn’t know who Kesha is? Hell, there’s even a hilarious video of Hillary Clinton practicing to avoid a lethal Trump hug with a high-five!
I asked a few friends who are known non-huggers to see what tips they had for politely decline a hug…
Identify as a “non-hugger”
Quickly identifying yourself as a non-hugger gets the point across that it’s not them, it’s you. Had Jerry stuck his hand out for a shake, said politely, “Sorry, I’m just not a hugger, but it’s great to meet you!” would have been a much smoother interaction for everyone. But saying, “no thanks,” aggressively backing away, and not acknowledging the person at all pretty much sucks. I get it, she was a stranger interrupting an interview, but it could have been handled in a more classy manner.
Offer up another option
A handshake, wave, a curtsy, or the ever-popular with germaphobes, fist bump, are good alternatives with less contact. And if Obama approves of it, we approve of it…
Offer a side hug if you’re not quick on the draw
If you didn’t dodge the hug attack fast enough, do a quick shift to offer up a side hug. It’s still a hug, but hopefully one more easily escaped with slightly less contact.
Put something between you
If you’re carrying a coat, bag, purse, etc., pull it in front of you so that you’re less “available” for a hug. Or at least if you end up in the hug, you’ll have a barrier and will most likely only be in contact with your arms.
If you’re desperate, just lie
If it’s a stranger or someone you don’t see often, just claim you have a cold or a twinge-y back. Hey, maybe you’re getting a cold anyway and it’s not even a lie! Either way, it’s just a little white lie that will make them glad you opted not to rub your whole germ-filled torso all over them.
Use… alternate means
Former Empire staffer and known non-hugger, Caroline, gave us some sage advice:
I don’t have any strategies except wearing my spiked shoulder pads and tweeting about it hoping people will remember IRL.
HA! Yeah, this about sums up what it’s like as a goth non-hugger with killer fashion sense.
Don’t let this happen to you…
What strategies do you have to get out of an unwanted hug?