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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Big Bear Hugs Are Too Much of a Good Thing

DEAR ABBY: I have encountered an "over-hugger." I hug often, but respect how others feel about it. This person does not extend that courtesy. His typical hug involves picking the recipient up off the ground, which I think is his way of showing off. The last time I saw him I offered my hand. Instead, he yanked me in and said, "We give hugs here!" It felt invasive. I know he is trying to show love, but he puts his own desire before the needs of others.

I want to tell him not to hug me anymore. However, it's complicated because we are part of a loose-knit athletic community, and people hug left and right at our events. I hug a lot of people, but I'm polite about it. Not only would I likely have to declare "no hugs" to him in front of others, but it would become obvious that we don't hug.

Am I odd to not want him to hug me? Would I be wrong to just tell him I'd prefer a handshake? -- OVER-HUGGED IN TEXAS

DEAR OVER-HUGGED: You're not odd. Even people who like to be hugged dislike being swept off their feet in the manner you have described. It would not be wrong to take the person aside and tell him privately that in the future, you would prefer that he just give you a warm handshake instead of grabbing you.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors