Can i have a hug

What it says about you when you like to hug people - or not

Hugs are powerful instruments in human interaction. They can provide closeness and warmth, comfort and security. In the meantime, they have even become a ritual of greeting and farewell among friends in many parts of the world. While many welcome this, others are rather annoyed by it. A reader said in one of our surveys on the subject of social conventions, for example, that forced hugs at every encounter are "extremely silly" and "ridiculous".

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Whether we can basically hug everyone first or rather resist it because we don't feel comfortable with it says a lot about us. And possibly the origin of the desire for a lot of closeness or an aversion to hugging, like so many things, lies in childhood and parental upbringing.

Less closeness in childhood can lead to hug aversion

"Our tendencies towards physical contact - be it hugging, patting, or hooking up with friends - are often a product of our early childhood experiences," said Suzanne Degges-White, professor of psychosocial counseling at Northern Illinois UniversityTimefor a post on the subject. In fact, one of the most recent studies shows that children who have often been hugged by their parents enjoy hugging even as adults. Hugs are an important element of a child's emotional upbringing.

Conversely, in people who grew up with less physical proximity, the mere thought of hugs could cause discomfort. However, Degges-White says that this could also have the opposite effect: “Some children grow up and are almost starved for touch. They become social hugs who cannot greet friends without a hug or touch on the shoulder. "

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However, the effects of fewer touches in childhood go a little deeper. They can produce physiological effects. Darcia Narvaez, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, said the Time, There are mainly two ways in which less closeness can affect a growing body: First, it can lead to an underdeveloped vagus, a cranial nerve. According to studies, this reduces the ability to be intimate and passionate. It can also lead to lower oxytocin production. It's a hormone that helps build social bonds with others.

According to Narvaez, hugs and touch are essential for children, even if we don't like them that much in adulthood.

How we can attend to the needs of others who don't like being hugged that much

Our hugging preferences also allow conclusions to be drawn about self-perception. "People who are more open to physical contact tend to be more confident," says Degges-White. “People who are generally socially fearful and withdrawn could act hesitantly when they come into contact with others, including friends.” This also means that it can make these people more uncomfortable when someone literally takes their arm reaching out to them.

Anyone who notices this should suppress the urge to hug the person - and stop at a handshake. The signs for this are obvious: If someone does not make a move to hug at the same time with the same intensity, or the look or posture already reveals that she is a little too fast. You could make a rule of thumb to only hug the people with whom you have built a certain emotional bond.

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The Emily Post Institute, which deals with social etiquette, justifies this tip with the fact that not everyone - even if they tacitly participate - would like to be hugged. All people should have the opportunity to build closeness at their own pace if they want to.

Hugs are good for our health - if you don't feel comfortable with it, you can test it

Basically, if you like to hug a lot, it is not only easier to form a bond with other people. Hugs also make you healthy: our blood pressure drops, fears and pain subside. They also increase our self-esteem. Regular hugs could even strengthen the immune system and make us less susceptible to the cold virus, as psychologists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found. For a study, they asked test subjects about social contacts and infected them with cold viruses. The participants, who had been hugged often, got a cold less often.

Unconsciously, we feel how good hugs do or would do us: According to studies, every third person in Germany wants to be hugged more often. In people between 18 and 24, even every second person. When asked what makes them happy, most people in the country say first and foremost, even before sex, going out, being with friends or family, vacationing in nature: a hug.

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According to the Berlin couple therapist Wolfgang Krüger, hugs in relationships strengthened the feeling of togetherness, disputes and power struggles would be dampened because a deep trust would arise in which both felt: We belong together.

The psychosocial counselor Degges-White advises people who have no problem with physical closeness but who tend to refuse to hug, to resist the first reflex and test it openly. It is quite possible to be overwhelmed by the feeling - and then to feel a previously unknown form of relief, gratitude and acceptance.