Written by: Dean Hua

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One aspect to myself that I’d like to improve upon in 2007 is to be more approachable. The one criticism that I have of myself is that sometimes I come off as too serious. That’s rather ironic considering that I don’t always take myself very seriously.

In 2007, I will try to be more approachable by being more huggable. Why? I dunno. It just sounds like a good idea. As the Free Hugs Campaign video below illustrates, a hug is a very powerful gesture.

A hug is symbolic of the community and sense of belonging that we all yearn for. Communities are made up of people. And nothing is more human than a hug. The warmth and spirit of a hug is so moving that so little can compare to it. It costs you nothing to give a hug. If you’re not using to giving out hugs then it’s most likely that you are not used to connecting on such a level. Don’t be ashamed– many of us aren’t used to it. But many people are taking action to change this.

There are many types of hugs;

  1. Open arms hug. This is where you open your arms wide and embrace each other fully. My friend, Kim-Lien, does that well. She’s a softie.
  2. There is the light tap hug. This is where you may be a bit shy towards hugging. You still hug the person but it’s a very light hug whereby you don’t fully embrace each other. Alot of people do this and I can guilty of it as well.
  3. There is the kiss and hug. This is where you hug first and then kiss each other on the cheeks. This can be tough because if you embrace each other fully, then your head is not positioned in proximity towards the persons cheek. So, you have to step back a bit before you can kiss but the other person may not expect it so it can be an awkward kiss. First time that I met my buddy, Maria, she did both and very well I might add.
  4. There is the Running Hug. This is where you haven’t seen each other for so long that while you’re still 10 feet away from each other, you get a running start towards hugging each other. Just the anticipation in those few seconds are priceless. I see this at the airport where 2 people who haven’t seen each other in awhile will do the running hug.
  5. There is the boys will be boys hug. This is where two people (and at always seem like guys do this but I can be wrong) will hug each other and act like complete fools in the process whereby they jump up and down with each other while hugging. They stomp and try to crush each other. Watch this hug video and you’ll see it in action at the 1:35 mark. Sometimes, I do this to my niece, Jennifer. When I haven’t seen her in awhile, I hug and just crush her. I then proceed to pick her up and spin her 180 degrees. I know she loves it too because she starts to scream like a girl. However, if I do it to my older sister (her mom), then my sister acts like she doesn’t enjoy it. But I know she does. Come on, Ai, I know you do 🙂
  6. There is the one-arm bro hug. Guys are notorious for this. It’s something we invented to avoid looking gay towards society. It’s where we shake each others hand and pull each other in with our arm stuck b/w our chests. It’s like a half-hearted hug. I don’t really classify this as a hug it’s a compromise for the manly guys out there.
  7. There is the group hug. These are always fun when you can get 3 or more people involved.

I was watching some of the worldwide free hugs campaign videos. I notice that Australians, who started the entire campaign with the video below, love to hug. I think it’s because they are just warm and spontaneous people by nature. Des– right or wrong? But then I watched the Korean Hugs Campaign and the body gestures occurring during the hug, and this culture just isn’t as huggable. I’m not surprised. Koreans and Asians by nature, aren’t the most expressive group of people. We Asians need to be more huggable. And apparently, those stone cold New Yorkers are just as huggable as the Aussies are. Go figure.

Here are a few tips to be more huggable.

  1. Practice makes perfect. It’s ok if you are not used to it or feel strange. I feel that way sometimes, but I still do it.
  2. Make it fun. Smile when you hug the person. Try and do the running hug or the boys will be boys hug. It makes the act more fun and takes away the pressure of a hug.
  3. Acknowledge the person. After you hug the person, look them in the eyes and say something along the lines of, “Wow- so good to see you.”
  4. Avoid the light tap hug. That’s for wussies. It’s as if the hug never even occurred to begin with. No half-assed hugs here.
  5. Be consistent. While it may be awkward in the beginning, over time, hugging becomes second nature. The same people that you embrace all the time will expect a hug out of you and they will reciprocate the same warmth that may not have occurred in the beginning because it was new and strange.

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