Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The accidental hug

Today I accidentally hugged a stranger. It could have happened to anyone. I was entering the front doors of the Victoria General Hospital where I work, and an older gentleman held open the first of two doors for me. "Thank you," I smiled, and held the second door open for him, saying, "I'll return the favour." He then stretched out his arm wide and smiled. "Awww, that's so sweet!" I thought, "He wants a hug." So I stretched out my arms in return and moved in. He turned sideways at the last minute and patted me on the back, saying, "Thank you, dear." It was then that I realized he was not stretching out his arm to hug me; rather to gesture that I should go ahead. It could have happened to anyone.

I was once afraid of hugs. Well, not afraid, exactly. I just felt awkward in situations that involved hugging or the potential for hugging. I don't come from a huggy family, so it always felt a bit strained and a little stiff to me. Sure, I'd lean in for the obligatory hug, but I'd make it quick - get in and get out and no one gets hurt. Knowing my own hugging issues, I used to enjoy watching other people hugging at airports. There were the true huggers - the ones who embraced others with every ounce of their being - and the reluctant huggers, who only ever hugged at airports and even then it was a quick, distant hug with a half-hearted back pat thrown in for good measure.

I always envied the true huggers and aspired to one day be among their ranks. At some point in my adult life, and I don't recall when, I decided to be a hugger. A real one. A hug-for-all-you're-worth person. An "If I love you and maybe even if I just like you, there's a chance I'm going to hug you" kind of person. As it turns out, I like hugs. No, I love hugs.

So today, I expanded my hugging repertoire to include a perfect stranger. I'm not sure what he thought of the whole thing - he seemed a bit flustered. But me? It made my day. I might hug strangers more often.


  1. i am hugging you right now :)

  2. Well, while I think you should be careful who you sneak up on with your random acts of hugginess...lol, there are lots of people who need them!...hugs ROCK!...great post Margaret!

  3. HILARIOUS! The title drew me in, of course, and every word thereafter had me intrigued. Amazing Margaret!

  4. I would have loved to seen the whole interaction :)