Monday, June 13, 2011

When is it okay to hug?

Sometimes, I wish I had Ms. Manners as my fairy godmother. Actually, it's more Ms. Appropriate whom I really need to hang with more often. Case in point: I never know when it's appropriate to hug. Take today for instance. I ran into a former colleague with whom I was friendly but never good friends. Since our random meeting took place in a professional environment (in front of my boss), I initially went in for a half-snuggle but catching myself, stuck out my hand for a good ol' profesh handshakehowdoyoudo. The result was a super-awkward half-handshake, half hug where I blathered some frantic words like "oh of course lets hug, it has been so long..." True story.

This kind of thing happens all the time. Being from European descent, despite not having been to Europe until I was almost 30, my pals and I always performed the double kiss. My family and I typically do the double kiss. So when I meet newer friends and we get to the kiss hello phase, I go for the double kiss. Muah, Muah!

Now, do you know what happens when you go for the double but your smooching partner sticks to the single? You sometimes kiss lips. Or eyeballs. Or other parts of their face. Regardless of the exact location of the smooch, it's quite embarrassing. My solution to this conundrum is to play it safe. Now I only go for the single. Let someone else look like they want to make out with me. I'm done!

But unfortunately, it's not that easy with the hug. As much as I'm a double kisser (muah, muah), I'm also a hugger. So how do you avoid going in for the hug and having someone recoil from your embrace?? Is there a tactful way to pull it back once you're mid-way there?

And really, when it comes to profesh situations, is it even appropriate to hug? I ask in earnest. Please help me stop embarrassing myself. xo Carly

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