My Sweet Embraceable You

Last week, I tweeted that I should do a PSA about how to hug a person with a back injury (cause I had suffered a few bad hugs).  My amazing friend, Paul, was like "LET'S DO THIS!" So we did it.  I think he did a great job of compressing 27 of me acting like a creepy idiot into 7 minutes of semi-coherent awesomeness.  Kudos Paul. (You should also check out Druidzilla's (Paul's doggie) Twitter feed.)

Paul brings up a very good point -- that any and all physical contact requires consent (verbal or physical) each and every time.   There are times when even someone with the best intentions in a hug (to comfort and show affection) can go very wrong in the application (unwanted contact or the hug exacerbates an injury). Not everyone is a hugger (like me) and that's 100% okay and within his or her rights. 

Many times if I see someone going for a hug, I'll say "I have a bad back, please be careful." Most well-behaved Homo sapiens will respect that and either switch to a handshake or they let me lead the hug.  But there are a few people who don't get the message.  Not all of the "bad hugs" made it into the video so I'll list them here:

1.  The Bear Hug 
2.  Wiggle/Weeble Hug (with Twist variation)
3.  Side strangle Hug (with Slap variation)
4.  High Velocity Hug (with Tackle variation)
5.  Crack-your-back/Amateur Chiropractor Hug
6.  Jump-up-and-down Hug (a/k/a the Giggly Sorority Hug)
7.  Pick-you-up/Go Low Hug (a/k/a Feat of Strength Hug)
8.  The Limp Body Hug (this isn't injurious, it's just lame)
9.  (The Little Kid Hugs -- this one kills me because I love my niece and little ones in the family, but I can't always pick them up or bend over to hug them, which sometimes hurts their feelings.  In this case I really need mommy and daddy's help in explaining that I have a boo-boo.)

What makes a good hug? 
1.  Consent 
2.  Balance (in terms of gravity and that hugger/huggee mirror each other's physicality)

Again -- BIG THANKS to Paul for filming this with me and thank you all for (hopefully) your future hugs.


Hooray! I was happy to collaborate with you on this!


Love it! Proper hugging is important!



I am not a hugger at all but I have to let other people hug me because it's rude to flinch away from it. I'm the one that would be considered rude when they are the one invading my space! I've mostly got used to it and even quite like it now from very close friends. And my kids, of course. Something about your own kids is different.

My best friend in high school was really thin and she used to complain that people would hug her like they thought she was fragile and breakable. So she would hug me extra hard to compensate, and I felt like her arms were iron bars that I couldn't escape from.

My brother died when I was little and when she first heard, my grandmother gave my mum an extended comforting hug. The position was really hurting mum but she felt she couldn't say anything because, you know, her son had just died and her mum was trying to comfort her. She had a bad neck for several YEARS because of that hug.

So, yeah, all you hugging types, try to gauge how the huggee is feeling. It's not all about you.


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<3 Robby