Awkward Hugs Happen
Awkward hugs are always out there, waiting to surprise us, often at awkward moments, which makes things doubly awkward. Some people are great huggers, and others enjoy being hugged (the huggees?). When these two types are together, they usually have a great time, especially when there are a number of people involved. It just takes one person in the group however, who is shy about hugging, or may not like to be hugged at all, or even like to be touched, to set the stage for an awkward hug.
When A Hug Is Traumatic - At a recent high school graduation ceremony, the male guest speaker, a truly motivational type, also handed out the diplomas. It was a small class of just over 30 graduates. Each one of the graduates got a big hug from this individual after he or she was handed the diploma. No big deal, since all the students knew the speaker, and he was well-liked and respected. One male student however apparently had never been hugged by a man before (maybe not by anyone except his mother). He reached for the diploma gingerly, as if hoping to escape being hugged, but wasn't successful. He stood straight as a fence post while being hugged, and then sort of half staggered away. It was an awkward hug, and definitely an extremely one-sided one, as noticed by everyone in the auditorium.
One of the prerequisites for an awkward hug seems to be that either one party does not wish to hug, or as is often more likely, is simply taken by surprise. When you're taken by surprise, it's almost impossible to return the hug with any degree of competence. You just stand there, half frozen, feeling later that you've failed at something, though you're not quite sure at what or why.
Genuine Hugs Are A Pleasure To Behold - Genuine hugs are another matter of course, and any one who watched the rescue efforts following the Chilean mine accident, saw more genuine hugs over a 24 hour period than many of us experience in a lifetime. That experience even showed that a miner, who had not had a bath in over 2 months, could hug the president of his country, and everything went well, was quite acceptable, and there really were no awkward hugs.
To Hug Or Not To Hug - One of the most awkward hug situations arises when you're not sure whether to hug a person or not. This usually occurs when you're saying goodbye to several close friends and there is someone in the party you barely know (we're taking about someone of the opposite sex here). You've hugged everyone else, now what? Do you hug someone you barely know, or simply offer your hand? What happens sometimes is one offers a hand and the other attempts a hug, and nothing goes right. Such incidents sometimes lead to a beautiful friendship.
You don't necessarily have to be near strangers to get involved in an awkward hug. Sometimes two men, who are close friends or at least close acquaintances, find themselves in a situation where a hug seems called for. Neither is much of a hugger, and neither would normally consider hugging another man. Yet, something monumentally good has happened, everyone is hugging every one else, and these two, who may be at the center of attention, are almost required by law to give one another a big hug. The result is often an awkward hug, and a quick one at that, preceded by a certain amount of attempting to get in the correct position (though usually failing), and approaching one another with caution.
There are times we like to be hugged and occasions where we would rather not be. All things considered, an awkward hug, even an extremely awkward one, is still better than being snubbed.