My Neighbour Errol- Awkward Hugs

I am not known as a…huggy person. It’s not that I don’t like them. Don’t get me wrong, I love hugs. When someone offers one, I will fully accept it. When I’ve known someone for ten years I am completely comfortable. But I’m not usually one to pass out hugs like cookies…then again, I’m not one to pass out cookies either.

I feel your pain, buddy. Those our OUR cookies.

I feel your pain, buddy. Those our OUR cookies.

Part of this is that physical contact of any sort usually holds a bit more weight for me. I have a large bubble of personal space, and letting people into that bubble usually takes time. When I make a friend, getting to the “it’s okay to hug now” stage actually cements the friendship somewhat. It’s a sign of trust and affection.

But not everyone operates under this belief, and I fully understand that. I also understand how I might come off as a hater of hugs. And so I try, to the best of my ability, to accommodate those hug lovers out there by sharing in their huggy ways. When it comes to simply accepting an offered hug, there’s usually not much of a problem.

When it comes to initiating hugs however, well…that’s when things get awkward.

Really, this best describes my thought process for most things.

Really, this best describes my thought process for most things.

There is just something about initiating a hug that is absolutely terrifying to me. There comes that moment in every meet-up where you have to decide whether there will be a hug or not. And in that moment, all the possible outcomes cross my mind: are good enough friends yet? do they want a hug? are they not hug people? would they think it’s weird? am i weird? should I wait for them to start? Is the moon full, because that’s important. And so on…

Here's a venn diagram. Those are always fun!

Here’s a venn diagram. Those are always fun!

Errol knows this about me. It was one of the first things he discovered about me. Contrary to popular belief, Errol is actually quite adept at reading social cues. Normally, an extrovert who is fully aware of how introverts operate and what might make them uncomfortable is a good thing. But we’re not talking about any extrovert here. We’re talking about Errol, and he only uses this power for evil. See this vid as proof.

The other night we were walking into the subway. We weren’t talking about much: Creative projects, geek shows, shawarma. Then came the moment to part. Normally this involved a wave goodbye followed by a “chat with you later”. I was about to say this when something unexpected happened. Errol’s arms began to go up in an undeniably hug-like motion.

Hugging was not these cats intention, and neither was it Errol’s.

Hugging was not these cats intention, and neither was it Errol’s.

My first reaction was panic. What game was this? Why a hug now? We hadn’t been talking about anything important. But, at the same time, I thought “Hey, I’ve known Errol a while now. He is my friend. Of course I’m going to return the hug, stop being ridiculous”.

But as I stepped forward boldly, suddenly a look of terror passed over his face, and he stepped back. His arms withdrew and he folded them in extreme discomfort, quietly mumbling “Oh…sorry” as he avoided my gaze.

At that moment I panicked. Why did he stop? What did I do? Was that not a hug at all? Was he upset? Did I assume? Why did I have to pick that moment to be comfortable? Were we not friends anymore? Did I just ruin a friendship or an ill timed hug?

Another fact about me is that I have no poker face whatsoever. Within a second of looking at my panicked and confused expression Errol burst into uncontrollable laughter, proclaiming out loud “I can play you like a fiddle!” . He then practically hopped with unabashed glee, reveling in his victory and my embarrassment.

I don't consider this an exaggeration

I don’t consider this an exaggeration

All of this happened within the span of ten seconds. In the next five seconds, my face went red, I punched him in the arm, and he laughed even harder. Then I was left to board my train, shaking my head and muttering all the way home. On the plus side, it guaranteed I got a seat to myself.

You’d think I’d have learned by now.

The worst part of it? Right before he left, laughing all the way, he gave a quick one-armed hug and without thinking I returned it like an idiot. So much for sweet, sweet revenge.

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Posted on March 25, 2013, in My Neighbour Errol and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I am.. a .. jerk! La da daaaa. i. am. a jerk!

  2. ‘Manda, this is so similar to my feelings on hugs that it’s a little scary – love hugs from people I know, like, and trust, but freeze up on having to initiate. But if hugs hold more weight, that just makes them more meaningful and awesome! (Or so I tell myself…)

  3. I am the same way Manpans. I used to be full-blown anti-hugs (OCD thing.)
    Errol, you’re terrible! LOL!

  4. Believe it or not, I don’t initiate hugs, but it’s more because I’m an old, unattractive male. When you go around hugging young females, people tend to find that creepy.

    So when I’m with a female friend and they’ve confirmed that I don’t have the hots for them and are all “Let’s hug!” they sometimes are shocked that I’m initially hesitant!

    It’s not fun being old, creepy, asian male!

  5. Usually the only people who want to hug me or give high fives are people I don’t know. I’m afraid I might have hurt a few feelings leaving people hanging when the go to start such and I just stare at them. Most of my hugging experiences though are me getting practically tackled by exuberant close friends.

  6. I’m still adapting to the level of huggyness expected in modern society. I’m just not used to them! And I have the combination of Errol’s problem AND Manpan’s problem, along with growing up in a low-hug environment. (Brothers are generally not huggers. Punchers, perhaps. High fives and fist bumps. The occasional noogie…)

    But I like hugs.

    • My two best friends from highschool and us weren’t particularly huggy people. Neither were my family much, although I hugged my parents on occasion, moreso when I was younger 😀

  7. The hug thing is even worse when you’ve been a huggy person and (for whatever reason) you are now no longer a huggy person and the memo on this has not gotten passed around. I’m kind of afraid to tell people this at times but it makes me feel awkward at times. >.> You’re not alone.

    As for the video, so many similarities in things.

  8. Gimme That Christian Side Hug! That Christian Side Hug!

    (Actually don’t; that’s probably the creepiest.)

  9. If cuddle parties have taught me anything, it’s that it’s best to just ask. A hug is my default goodbye in many cases, so with newer people, I’ll say, “I am a huggy person. May I hug you? It’s totally okay to say no. I respect your boundaries.” And when they say no, I’m actually proud of them.

  10. etherealsatirethecuriousort

    This made me feel so much better! I thought I was the only one who felt awkward about hugs–especially if I don’t know someone well. Also your video was funny.To the Errol hug, I probably would have had the exact same panicked reaction, too. I mean, if it was someone else, not Errol, I don’t know Errol. Now I am ranting. Oops.

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