When they see me, they throw their arms around me and squeeze away. I’m not a ger­mo­phobe, and I love my friends. I’d just pre­fer a hand­shake. Is that so wrong?

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Psychology -

It could have been me ask­ing that ques­tion,” says Dr For­man. “I think hugs are su­per com­plex. How long is the hug sup­posed to last? How tight do you squeeze? Where do your hands go? Do you in­volve a sec­ond arm? Hug­ging leads to a lot more ques­tions than it an­swers.”

Western cul­ture seems to have grown hug­gier over the years, and Dr For­man blames TV, es­pe­cially talk shows, on which guests are of­ten greeted with hugs. Or per­haps it’s ‘bro’ cul­ture writ large. You see your buddy and give him a big, beery hug like the ones in the Hang­over movies.

What­ever the rea­son, it’s per­fectly fine to head off a hug by stick­ing out your hand for a hand­shake. Want to make it warmer? Use your other arm to grasp the per­son’s fore­arm. Lots of con­tact and af­fir­ma­tion. No ac­tual hug­ging.

And if even that feels weird, hop on a plane. In about half the world, it’s hug­ging that is rude, not not hug­ging. N or N Rat­ing: 1 You’re not a nut; you’re just stuck in a hug-happy cul­ture.

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