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Personal Space

March 8, 2008

On Thursday, I was greeted by someone who excitedly exclaimed, “Emilie told me to hug you!” and then proceeded to do so. She was pleased to see my awkward stance at being in contact with her, and said, “Wow, Emilie was right!”

A step back. A few years ago, Emilie and I were among a group of people who attended a “Communications Style Workshop.” It was supposed to teach our team how to communicate better. I called it “Tribal Council” and begged to be voted off the island. Communicate THAT.

What we learned was that we have different communication styles. I was “conflict avoidant”. Surprise. I don’t remember what Emilie is, but I do remember that I called it the “huggy” group. Emilie, then, became “the Hugger.”

I will admit I am not a hugger. With the family, sure. But not really with anyone else. Having dinner with our author Erin Manning, an LA resident, I asked her to explain why southern California residents felt obligated to hug you when they first met you, and after! She laughed and said it’s just what they did.

It’s not what I do. An author hugged me once, and we still refer to it as the day that XXX hugged me, and not in a good way. The hugging thing, it just isn’t me.

There’s a lot of hugging here at SXSW, which is nice and frightening at the same time. Nice that people seem to be connecting with old friends. Frightening because sometimes they seem to be coming at me. Know that if you try and hug me, I’m not hugging back. Nothing personal, it’s just my thing.

Emilie, your time will come. Watch your back…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emilie permalink
    March 8, 2008 5:50 pm

    Oy! I’m so sorry – I didn’t think she’d actually DO it! I was talking about my own personal space issues and always found it funny that I was tagged as a Hugger (which my mother found amusing, since I was a horribly ticklish and prickly kid). Here’s to safe passage back to New York, where people know better than to hug indiscriminately!

    Considering myself warned,

  2. March 9, 2008 7:41 am

    And Emilie seems so nice on the outside! Everybody knows that you are to be greeted with a medium smile (no teeth) and a nod, or if it’s a really happy occasion a high five.

    I’ll have to make sure to give Emilie a Sandy hug when i’m in Hobo next month.

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