The past couple of years have seen an incredible amount of progress in the fields of consent awareness, sexual respect and discussion of limits and boundaries. I’m sorry that the #MeToo movement came about because of the vile crimes committed by figures of power in both the celebrity and non celebrity world, but I am glad that we are now in a place where these things can be openly talked about and considered. We are now more aware of human physical contact and this raises all sorts of questions including greeting with kisses and hugging. You might not have given much thought to hugs before – we’ve always seen it as a nice thing to do, but maybe we need to be more conscious. Here is a guide to hugging etiquette in the dawn of the #MeToo era.
1. Know Your Crowd
Here’s the thing, hugs can be completely different and mean completely different things depending on who the person being hugged is. For example, you should probably have no qualms about hugging your best friend or a close family member, but in a different setting, the same hug can feel totally different. Basically, don’t hug your boss or your employees or your colleagues just because that something you do at home: respect their boundaries and build a rapport first.
2. Hug Back
If you are at the stage with someone where a hug feels appropriate and natural, then make sure to hug them back. There is nothing worse than a limp hugger; almost like a bad handshake, the squeeze that you give back to the person that has hugged you will let them know that you are happy and consenting of the contact.
It’s about timing with an appropriate hug. Around three seconds for a good quick embrace is enough; you don’t want to linger there for too long because it might start to make the other person a little bit uncomfortable.
4. Don’t Speak
Don’t try to speak to the person at the same time as hugging them, because even if you don’t mean it to, the closeness of your mouth to their ear will make any statement sound more intimate. Save what you have to say until you have broken apart and are in your own separate my space bubbles!
Keep things simple with the hug. You don’t have to do anything fancy like rub the back or stroke the hair or fiddle with a sweat tassel! The best thing to do is just perform the standard hug pose and then break apart. If something else is destined to happen between the two of you, then that will come naturally. You don’t have to rush it.