Have you had your hug today?

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this little gem to start the week – “A hug is a great gift. One size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.” (Unknown).

Hugs are quite common is some cultures and relatively rare in others (such as ours), especially for men. Women in all cultures seem to be much more comfortable with (and prone to) hugging as a greeting. In some cultures hugs are accompanied by kisses on both cheeks; although that too has evolved into a sort of air-kiss bobbing of heads these days.

Deciding whether to hug or just shake hands can be awkward, especially if one party has already stock out their hand for the shake and the other has extended both arms for the hug. My general rule of thumb is to go for the hug, if either side has initiated it. Again, women seem more comfortable turning the greeting into a hug than men. Men seem to reserve hugs for the camaraderie of memorable sports moments or for special occasions like weddings or funerals; whereas women see hugs and a natural everyday thing to do.

I suppose it’s possible to have a heartfelt handshake with someone, but not nearly as effective as the warm embrace accompanied by some whispered sentiment that a hug allows. Of course whispering between men is another no-no in our society, unless it is at that special occasion. I guess men have substituted the pat on the back or slap on the butt for hugs. Those don’t work as well for people that you don’t know well or outside the euphoria of celebrating a special moment.

The really nice thing about a hug is that it usually makes both people feel better about themselves and the other party. So, greet someone with a hug today. They’ll feel better and you will, too.

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