I’m not much of a hugger, but a lot of my friends are, and I have ish with the incessant hugging. I feel like a dickhead when people come in for a hug and I discourage them, so sometimes I try to hug it out, but I don’t like that either because it makes me feel gross. What’s with all the hugging and how do I get people not to hug me?
— Matt, Downtown
Few gestures enjoy more universality than the hug, so being averse to hugs puts you in a tight spot. Even hipsters — not known for overt gestures of affection lest we comport ourselves like bros — who will “hug it out” like miniature Ari Golds over everything from football scores to declarations of everlasting hetero bromance like to come in for the occasional man-hug. Although, hipsters tend to hug in an exaggerated, “ironic” fashion; throwing the arms wide open as if to say, “I’m not usually a hugger, but come here, you!”
Even among the toughest crowds, being a non-hugger is sure to raise a few eyebrows. You could wear an “I Don’t Like Hugs” shirt or hat, but I bet people will see that as a dare. If you move to somewhere on the East Coast, such as Boston, NYC, or Philadelphia, fewer people will try to hug you, mostly because they’re all too caught up in trying to get ahead. The hipsters there tend to be more of the “cigarettes, vests, and fedoras” variety than the “beards, flannel, and acoustic neo-folk” types, and the former is much less likely to come in for an impromptu embrace. Either way, keep shrugging off the hugs and sooner or later people in your circle will get the message.