resolute posting in wiscon
It's SF/F convention season again, and once more we are all presented with the conundrum --
Do I hug this person hello and goodbye, or not?
Social hugging! It's a thing! Yet, it is MOST DEFINITELY NOT A THING for a lot of people.
Here is how I, personally, navigate these situations. While this may not work perfectly for you, feel free to modify it for your own use.
If I want to hug a person hello or goodbye, I say to them, "Do we hug?" (Or, "do we hug hello?" etc.)
If they say "Yes, we hug!" then we do, indeed, hug.
If they say *anything else*, I back off and we do not hug.
If someone says to me, "do we hug?" and I *want* to, I say "yes, we hug!" and there is a hug.
If I do not want to hug this person at this moment, I say one of the following things, or something similar:
I don't recall us hugging
I'm not much of a hugger
I don't think we hug
Now's not a great time
Not that I know of
If the other person does not understand the soft no and moves in, I take a step back and say:
No thank you
I meant no
If my hug offer is rejected, I move into the next part of the conversation "It's great to see you! How have you been?" or "I'm so glad we talked, when's your next panel?" or something similar. If I have just rejected someone else's hug offer, same script. No apologies, no talking about feelings or misunderstandings, just move into the next phase of the social interaction.
I, personally, do not enjoy finding out later that I have made someone uncomfortable with my actions. I prefer clear communication BEFORE social hugging to try to avoid awkwardness afterwards. YMMV!