Where do you stand on regularly hugging your friends?
I grew up in a family where regular hugging was not the norm. A highly affectionate family we were not, which of course, stayed with me as I got older. It was not until I left home for my last two years of my residential high school (I ditched my hometown school after the 10th grade in favor of a “gifted” school) that I was, in a way, living with teens who grew up much differently from me. A number of the close circle of friends I formed then were very physically demonstrative.
I remember it taking me by surprise when friends would regularly hug me hello and goodbye. Never to the point that I didn’t want to be touched, just, as I mentioned, it was a foreign concept to me. But then it became my norm, and upon graduating and entering the “real world” I took that with me.
I’m a Hugger
So yes, my name is Shala and I’m a hugger. As a woman in my late 30’s, I’m probably on the overly physically affectionate side, often instigating. Now I can’t see myself being any other way. It’s one way I want to share those around me that I care.
That’s one of the reasons I think COVID, hit me so hard. It was weird going months without having any physical contact with anyone since I live alone. For someone who does it so often, it’s weird to actually have a know, down to the day, when the last time I had a hug from someone. Bottom line, check on your friends that live alone because some of us are just not okay during this pandemic!
I know a lot of it is about how you grow up. It makes me wonder all the little personal things that drive a person’s view on this issue. Recently, a study was conducted in the UK (ending in March 2020, a week after the country’s COVID lockdown) to delve into just how much value interpersonal touch. The Touch Test, as it was called, uncovered some intereting patterns, including that alittle over 50% of those who participated don’t have enough touch in their lives.
Do you hug your friends regularly? Where were you consider yourself on the spectrum when you’re around your friends? Do you not like to be touched, don’t mind it, or are really affectionate? Has that changed from when you were a kid until now?
[Photo credit: Still from the indie film Last Black Man in San Francisco]