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We have all been there: you reach out to shake someone’s hand and they swat it away explaining “Oh no, I am a hugger!” They then open their arms wide and embrace you in a tight hug. You might have smiled–or grimaced. But you probably stood still and took it because we have been conditioned to receive and give hugs regardless of our feelings toward the act or the person. For some people hugging is welcomed. Some researchers argue that we need daily hugs to be mentally healthy. So is it ok to tell people that you don’t want to hug? Can we refuse an act that so many do without even thinking twice?

Be Upfront and Clear

There is a good chance that others may not know about your discomfort regarding hugs. Maybe you have past trauma that gets triggered with firm physical contact such as a hug. If the person is a family member or a close friend, they should not want to make you uncomfortable or make you relive past traumatic moments. Being open about your dislike or discomfort with hugs will help everyone get along better. This is also a good exercise for you to speak your mind and state what you like and dislike. Do not feel like you need to do anything that is outside of your comfort. 

Your Body Is Your Body

Your body belongs to you and you can choose who comes in contact with your body. Working through past trauma is hard work and takes dedication and time. An unwanted hug can undo a lot of hard work and can create unwanted setbacks. You also do not need to inform every person about your past trauma. It is your choice who you tell and you should never feel as if you need to explain yourself. If offered an unwelcome hug, you can simply say “Thanks, but I prefer not to hug” and offer them a handshake or wave instead.

There are a lot of people who enjoy hugging others. Those people probably give little thought about how hugging can be uncomfortable or traumatic for some people. If you are a person who dislikes hugs, remember you do not need to hug anyone if you don’t want to. Whether you have past trauma or simply do not like hugging, you only need to explain yourself if you want to. Being clear about what you dislike or are uncomfortable with is important to setting healthy boundaries and taking care of your wellbeing. Sometimes it is helpful to talk with a professional to begin to understand our past, dislikes, and things we find uncomfortable. At The Guest House, we are ready to help you work through any struggles you may be facing. Call us today to learn more about our treatment options at (855) 483-7800.