My previous post, #ME TOO Goes Two Ways prompted great feedback on harassment in the workplace. HR departments are scrambling to reboot, rewrite, refine, and reactivate polices and practices to provide more distinctive boundaries for grown up behavior at work. All these years we have believed it is children who require boundaries for healthy growth. 

Certainly no secret, I confessed in that post that I am a hugger. So too is my son, Heath, a marketing director. Marketing and human resources are people-focused businesses so you might say we are “PEOPLE PEOPLE.” Quite some time ago, Heath shared the following post written by a business MAN about hugging.  It’s hilarious, truthful, and spot on. Perhaps you’ll find it helpful too.

Hello. My name is Tim Sackett, and I’m a hugger. Being a hugger can make for some awkward moments – what if the other person isn’t expecting a hug, or doesn’t want one, and you’re coming in arms-wide-open!?  Sometimes, though rarely, I’ll find someone who isn’t a hugger.  I find Southern folks are huggers, more than Northern. Western more than Eastern. Canadians more than Americans. Men feel much more comfortable hugging women than other men. Women will hug anything.

I thought it was about time we had some hugging rules for the office, so here goes:

The Hugging Rules

  1. Don’t hug those you supervise. (The caveats: You can hug a subordinate if: it’s being supportive in a non-creepy way (major family or personal loss – sideways, kind of arm around the shoulder, you care about them hug); it’s at a wedding and you are congratulating them; it’s a hug for a professional win (promotion, giant sale, big project completion, etc.) and it’s with a group, not alone in your office with the lights off; you would feel comfortable with your spouse standing next you and watching that specific hug.)

2. Hug your external customers or clients when they initiate hugging sequence. (The caveats: Don’t hug if: it is required to get business – that’s not hugging, that’s harassment. Don’t let the hug last more than a second or two, or it gets creepy. Don’t mention the hug afterwards; that makes you seem creepy!)

3. Don’t hug the person you’re having an affair with in the office. (No explanation needed).

4. Hug peers, just not every day. (It’s alright to hug, but you don’t need to do it every day for people you see every day. Save some up and make it special!)

5. When you hug, hug for real. (Nothing worse than the ‘fake hug’! A fake hug is worse than a non-hug.)

6. Don’t whisper, ‘You smell good,’ when hugging someone professionally. (That’s creepy – in fact don’t whisper anything while hugging!)

7. Don’t close your eyes while hugging professionally. (That’s weird and a bit stalker-ish).

8. It is alright to announce a hug is coming.(Some people will appreciate a – ‘Hey, Come here: I’m giving you a hug – it’s been a long time!’)

9. It’s never alright to hug from behind. (Creepier!)

10. Never hug in the restroom. (It makes for awkward moments when other employees walk in and see that.)

11. If you’re questioning yourself whether it will be alright to hug someone professionally, that is your cue that it probably isn’t.

I bet Tim Sackett is a lot of fun to work with. If he were here, I would give him a hug. Would that be acceptable?  I think it could be awesome!  Awkward?  Heaven forbid if he thought it creepy or icky! Let’s all keep our eyes open!


~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~

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