When saying hello or goodbye to a friend/acquaintance, should you give them a hug? That question has become something of a national dilemma.
The Western world seems to fall into two categories concerning this confounding matter – the “Hug lovers” and the “Hug Haters.” I wish I could tell you who is right. All I can do is give you one important tidbit of hugging advice. If you’re going to hug someone, DON’T START PATTING THEIR BACK part way through. And if he or she starts patting yours mid-hug, abort the hug. Simply smile and gracefully separate your bodies.
“Why?” you rightfully ask. Because back patting during a hug subliminally signals, “This hug is lasting a little too long for my taste.”
BTW, don’t worry, if your huggee starts patting yours first, it doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t like you. It just indicates discomfort with the hug. Many males feel that way when another man gives them a friendly hug—so they instantly start patting each other’s back.
In short, when you’re hugging someone, don’t let your hands become flippers on their back. And if they start patting first, it means “OK, times up! Let’s end this hug thing NOW. So do it!