In fact, I’m a hugging snob.
I don’t know if it is because I am an introvert at heart, cold-hearted, mean, stand-offish, shy, insensitive, prudish, or just plain evil, but I really can’t help it. I am just selective about my hugs!
(I promise this really does have a point, and it has to do with Facebook!)
In my mind, a hug should mean something, and personally, I find it to be intimate. When I hug my husband, it is very special to me. When I hug my daughter, there is no greater thing. When I hug a close friend or family member, I see it as a sign of a bond we share. We’re close.
So when someone I just met or just happens to be in the same room with me (or attends the same function as I did) wants to hug me, I can’t help it, I cringe a bit. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested in getting to know him or her. It doesn’t mean I don’t “care” about him or her as a human being.
I’m sorry (OK maybe not that sorry).
I just kind of like my personal space, and I’m fussy about who I let in it.
What’s so bad about that? A lot of things, apparently.
This dislike for hugging causes me a lot of issues with people because even though I don’t want to be rude and still hug the person back when he or she reaches out or leans in, I can tell the other person can tell I don’t really want to do it. No matter how much I try to fake it.
So, inevitably, I can sense their scorn.
They feel snubbed. Period. And I am left wondering whether I should sit down and explain my hugging policy or just let them feel scorn toward me. More often than not, I choose the latter.
I walk away wondering when and where hugging became such a requirement. (I mean, what is so wrong with a handshake, a smile, an interesting get-to-know you conversation first? In most cases, people don’t even know how to pronounce my name correctly, and yet they want to hug. I have a somewhat odd name to pronounce “Sheree” [Shureee; not Sherry]. Why can’t we get that down first?)
Now, for extroverts and those who just get high off of hugs,
I know what you are probably thinking. If you are like my charismatic friend, who becomes family to everyone she meets within about 5 seconds, you think I am way overthinking it. What’s the big deal? Most people like a hug. They want to be connected or reconnected, and a hug does it for them. It makes them feel welcome. For some, hugs could even be the answer to world peace. (Certainly, many cultures see hugging and kisses on the cheek as signs of welcome.)
To which I reply, for me, it just isn’t authentic. I’m not trying to shun you, in fact, quite the opposite. I am trying to respect your space and mine until we get to know each other a bit. Besides, maybe I have coffee breath or something…OK? (Or maybe I just really need therapy!)
That’s where Facebook comes in. I basically feel the same way about Facebook.
I know that as a social media user and one who coaches people on how to use social media effectively in their job search, I am probably supposed to tell you all the reasons why you should love social media.
And I can/will.
BUT when it comes to Facebook, in particular, well, I’m just a snob.
And quite frankly, I think you should be one too EVEN if it means subjecting yourself to scorn, ridicule, and attacks on your personal character.
I joined Facebook reluctantly. I saw the value in LinkedIn right away. Shake hands and stay in touch/meet up on a professional level (let’s not pretend to be what we’re not). Twitter, even with its crazy streaming, made a lot of sense to me because I could see how like-minded people who would not likely meet any other way could network/share information. No hugging necessary (unless, of course, you attend a TweetUp; someone will likely expect a hug there; thus, it will come as no surprise that I have yet to attend one).
But Facebook, well, that gave this hugging snob hives.
Within hours of signing up, people I hadn’t see since high school were surrounding me. (I could feel their collective arms around me!) At first it was nice to catch up and see how everyone was doing, but you know, most reunions end with everyone going back home to their real lives, the ones they worked so hard to build after high school. With Facebook, it is like you bring the reunion with you everywhere you go. It’s one big hug fest disguised with “likes” and daily notices steeped in either nothingness or despair.
Now, I have read blog after blog about the importance of Facebook marketing to a business (I think Facebook business pages are great), and about how Facebook can be helpful for a job seeker. And I won’t argue that there are some merits to that. I will argue, however, that opening yourself up to anyone who has ever met you (or barely met you) and receiving their relationship status updates is, well, creepy.
Some things are just better left unsaid.
Finally, I started asking myself, “how many of these people even really know me?” “How many would I want to come to my home and eat dinner with me?” I mean, after all, I am sharing pictures of my daughter with them and swapping parenting war stories. If I wouldn’t invite you to dinner (and vice versa), why are we FB friends?
So, in one swoop, I “dumped” 150 people! It was so liberating (you should try it!), and my Facebook experience became so much more effective. Now when I post something, the people who respond are the ones who have a real connection with me. They know how to pronounce my name. They have seen me in real life and know that I am not the same person I was at 18, 22, 32. They understand that just because I’m selective with my hugs doesn’t mean I’m not a good friend. And when I need something from them, like help with a job search, they will step up and do their best (and vice versa).
It might not bring me the best Klout score, for sure.
And my dumped friends might call me a snob (or worse!). But at least it’s a quality network and I know who my “real” FB friends are. Do you? (If so, well, maybe you should go and give them a…hug!)