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How to Greet With Open Arms

June 09, 1998

Time was hugs came easy, milk cost a nickel, and you could trust the president alone with an intern for five minutes. Those days of innocence are gone, but the Hugs for Health Foundation is trying to mount a comeback for the simple hug. Here are some tips to make sure your next hug doesn't get you socked with a lawsuit or a black eye.

Hug Etiquette

* Always respect another person's space.

* Ask permission when sharing hugs.

* Keep in mind a hug is a nonsexual form of affection, so hug accordingly.

* A hug is a warm, gentle embrace, not the Heimlich maneuver.

Types of Hugs

* Me-Hug: Give yourself a big stretch and wrap your arms around yourself.

* Hand-Hug: Also known as the reserved hugger's hug or our socially acceptable handshake.

* Side-to-Side Hug: Also known as the buddy hug. Huggers may stand or sit with arms around shoulders or waists.

* A-Frame Hug: Huggers stand approximately 1-1 1/2 feet apart, bend at the waist with only the shoulders touching. This is a very safe hug.

* Cheek-to-Cheek Hug: This hug requires no arms and may be applied with residents in bed or for those unable to lift their arms. Simply press facial cheeks together, either facing one another or facing the same way, which then makes it a "Kodak moment" hug.

* Back-to-Front Hug: This hug can be shared with residents using walkers or those who walk pushing their wheelchairs. Hugger, let the huggee know you are behind him or her, then gently embrace around huggee's waist.

* Bear Hug: This is a full-bodied hug and all-time favorite. Hugger and huggee are toe-to-toe, belly-to-belly, and eye-to-eye, for a big bear hug.

Keep in Mind

* Not everyone is a hugger. Respect those not interested in participating; however, be sure to wish everyone "Happy Hug Week."

Hug Prescription

* 4 hugs for survival

* 8 hugs for maintenance

* 12 hugs for growth

Etiquette Source: Hugs for Health Foundation

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