“Who else loves hugs? I love hugs! Do you love hugs? EVERYONE SHOULD LOVE HUGS!”
“Whoa there buddy, calm down. Some people don’t like hugs. Some people like to keep a little space between themselves and other people.”
“Wait- some people don’t like hugs?…”
“No, and that’s perfectly okay!”
(I totally made up that intro, no one really said that but its a good segue into our topic of this week!)
On Tuesday we had a relatively small group, probably about 15 or 20 of us, reclining on the couches and chatting away. The clock ticked 7:30 and our facilitator declared it a safe space and we continued on.
“The question of the week is how do you feel about hugs?”
A few youth had confused looks on their faces. What a weird topic to talk about, but we ran with it.
One of our 18 year old youth raised his hand.
“I love hugs. Giving them, receiving them, all hugs are awesome!” As always the person who goes first gets to pick which direction we go in. He picked to his left, and guess who was sitting next to him?
“Well, hugs between friends are great, I love them. But if a stranger on the bus tried to hug me, I’d be totally weirded out. I’m a hugger, but I like to know the person I’m hugging.”
A lot of people had the same response, stranger hugs are a ‘no-no’ but friends hugs are the best.
The conversation about hugs lasted the WHOLE time, and of course, as we left, everyone hugged each other.