Vignettes on Aging – Showing Affection

There are an increasing number of reasons to not show affection to an acquaintance or friend these days.

It used to be most common in my world to hug someone upon greeting, even if it was meeting someone for the first time.

Then the Me Too movement and COVID happened.

Showing affection will never be the same again.

Does that mean we will always miss out on an important part of our lives going forward? I rely on closeness with others, and the thought of never receiving friendly affection is devastating to me. Perhaps you feel the same.

We’re in luck. All the affection between friends that we need and crave is still possible if you do a couple of things:

The first thing is to follow the lead of the person you’re meeting. If they go in for a hug, you can too. Yea!

Secondly, if they don’t lean in for a friendly clasp (perhaps because they’re unsure too!), then all you need to do is ask: “May I hug you?”

I often say, “I’m a hugger. May I hug you?” I’ve only been denied a couple of times, and I never made a big deal out it. I never felt it had anything to do with me. There are lots of people today who are still immunocompromised or still unsure about getting that close. As it is okay for me to want hugs, it’s just as okay for others to not want that closeness. No reasons needed. If someone says, “No hugs,” I always respond, “I get it!” and move on.