Who's a hugger out there? Many years ago (25 to be exact), my best friend's sister and her husband came over for dinner one night. At the end of the night, when we were saying our goodbyes, instead of handshakes, we got hugs from both of them. Not just the quick hug — but a deep hug with a real squeeze that meant something.
It might sound funny that I remember that 25 years later, but it made an impression on me. It was powerful. And before we go any further, let me state that there was nothing leading or sexual about it. It was just a hug. But it was a great hug.
Let's be honest, a handshake just goes so far. I totally understand if you just met the person — at that point, a handshake is perfectly fine. But during personal interactions, when you meet someone at a small holiday dinner party and you speak with them for the better of 3-4 hours, isn't a good hug at the end of the night a great way to share your personal experience? I think studies find that it's a bit more sanitary too — no real hand-to-hand contact.
How about professional interactions? I can totally understand the 'sexual harassment' issues that might arise if your gave a hug the wrong way to your team, peers, or superiors. How about with established vendors that you've been working with for years? Is a hug in order then? I know when someone wins an award and if it's in front of a lot of people, hugs are normally given.
Step back for a second — hugs are GREAT. They impart real feeling to the other person — a deep appreciation for who they are and what they mean to you. Especially when you've known or worked with that person for a long time.
So if you could hug more professionally (without fear of any harassment charges) would you? Do you hug now?
I would love to hear your stories about how important hugs are for you!
P.S. If you're not convinced, here's a video you should watch — click here.
Image: Royalty-Free License from Dollar Photo Club 2014.