i’m not a hugger.

Hi, it’s me. I’m not a hugger. I dislike hugs in casual settings and I don’t think they’re socially necessary. Everyone doesn’t need to be TOUCHING each other all the time.

Overall I don’t like people touching me. Sometimes I read things about people in prison and how they “long for physical contact” and I’m like “actually that sounds great put me down for a two year stay.”

I’m not a hugger because it’s weird and mostly unnecessary. Sometimes it’s okay to hug, if someone is crying or if you haven’t seen someone for a while or if you’re celebrating. That’s fine. I’ll accept it. But every single time you see someone and greet someone and say bye to someone a hug is not compulsory. We don’t need it.

Whenever I see someone I know in a casual social setting and they go to hug me I do a little stare. A blank stare. Because behind their eyes I can see the wheels turning, they’re excited to see me or they feel socially obligated because everyone always has to be HUGGING all the time, so they want to go in for the hug. But with my blank stare, they don’t see any desire on my end for the hug. Because I’m not a hugger.

My body’s tellin em noooo.

This gives them pause. They stand awkwardly, maybe nervously. They do a little sway. It’s brief, then they move on. I think this actually does really freak people out, because it defies social convention. Maybe I’m just thinking that I’m the center of the universe as per usual but I can’t help but feel like people are confused and maybe even outraged by my lack of hugging. I can see it on their faces. They’re like “What the heck? Everyone else does the hugs? Why is she mad?”

I’m not mad. I just don’t want to hug you. And I don’t think it’s necessary. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you or I forgot that I met you or something is wrong with me. I just don’t want to hug you. Did I mention it’s not necessary? I’m not a hugger.

If you go in for the hug with me, I’m not going to hate you. It’s fine. But I won’t really hug you back. Because I don’t feel like it, and I’m not a hugger. I’ll give you a little tap-tap on your back and then pull away and look at the ground to regain my composure because the ordeal of being hugged throws off my whole vibe and not in a good way.

Many times, there is a new person you meet and they’re like “harharhar I’m a HUGGER!” And they just grab you and wrap you up in their invasive embrace and you don’t even know them. I mean it’s fine I guess. I don’t want to be mean. They obviously pride themselves on being huggers because they scream it out in a public space as they fully and unapologetically go for the hugging. They’ve consciously cultivated this behavior in some way, so I don’t want to make them feel bad about it.

But I’m saying that I don’t like it. And I don’t think I should be expected to, even though I feel like I’m expected to. Like everyone is watching me and wondering why I’m not a hugger. I swear nothing bad happened to me as a child, I SWEAR IT. I JUST DON’T LIKE PEOPLE TOUCHING ME.

I think my concern over people expecting me to be a hugger comes from when I was younger, prob middle school, when girls start to do all kinds of dumb social shit that probably messes a few of them up for at least a couple years. And unnecessary hugs were one of those things. And I never wanted to hug. I never liked it. SINCE BIRTH. But for a while I made myself be involved with the senseless and excessive hugging just to fit in and seem like a nice friendly gal and I felt like I was dying inside.

I kept up this charade for a while, and then it got EVEN WORSE when I went to Rutgers and started hanging out with more people from North Jersey and it was part of their ancient and exotic culture to do a hug AND A MUTUAL CHEEK KISS and every time this happened I wanted to melt into the floor and slide away in a pool of myself to quickly exit the room, Alex Mack style.

The cheek kiss weirds me the heck out. It’s creepy. I don’t approve. I hesitate to talk down on it because again I don’t want to be mean, I know that in other countries and other lands and other parts of the Garden State the cheek kiss is fine and normal and people grew up with it. And they can continue to cheek kiss, it’s not like I can stop them.

But I can no longer pretend I think it’s fine. It’s not fine because I think it’s weird. I’m not saying I’ll like, sue you or think you’re out of line and need to get your ass kicked if you cheek kiss me, but I need this opinion to be out there. There have to be others that feel this way and this is a beacon to find them.

My personal coping mechanism for the cheek kiss is to stand very stiff and still and allow the person to just kiss my cheek and get it over with. I don’t kiss their cheek back because I’m standing too stiff and still and waiting for it to be over with. Also it makes my stomach turn to think of kissing someone on the cheek that isn’t someone I have a romantic relationship with. It makes me physically ill to think of kissing anyone else’s cheek. It’s not the people, it’s the act. It creeps me out. I can bear it bravely if someone is kissing my cheek but I feel like a total creep kissing someone else’s. I’m sorry I just can’t.

After the cheek kiss business is done I quickly pull away and get out of their cheek kiss range as quickly as possible. And also I think really hard and send a mental message out into the air that is a desperate plea hoping they’re just a “hello” cheek kisser and not also a “goodbye” cheek kisser.

Ugh this mental message never works they are always both if they are one.

I hope there are other non-huggers out there. Please respond. Please let me know I’m not alone. And if I’ve ever made you feel weird by not hugging you, just know that it’s me, not you. Please continue to hug people that enjoy it. It’s fine.

<quickly darts away to avoid goodbye hug>

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