[OP-ED] Why Hugs Over Handshakes!?

[OP-ED] Why Hugs Over Handshakes!?

[OP-ED] Why Hugs Over Handshakes!?


Who doesn’t love great hugs?! Aside from those who aren’t too keen on intimacy or anything touchy feely of course…

Regardless of your personal preference, being cradled in the arms of another can positively affect you by leaps and bounds. If that phrase alone terrifies you, there is no need to worry. You are safe in these arms 🙂

But really – hugs can be a platonic gesture just as casual as a handshake! My qualm with handshakes is that they have become all to habitual. In our daily interactions with strangers we are so prone to shaking hands rather than hugging.

Photo by: Google Images

Why is that?

Certainly there are going to be cultural factors involved and they become apparent outside of typical introductions. For example, festivals attract a wildly diverse array of individuals. Nearly everyone’s go-to seems to be a warm & fuzzy hug. Yet I find myself in the shameful habit of reaching out for a handshake. And every time this happens I am tickled to recall how welcoming and loving those around me are. Conversely, I am reminded how unnatural it would be to hug my Uber driver upon pickup and – to put it plainly – that kind of sucks.

I understand there is a time and place for one and the other. However, I also feel that there doesn’t completely have to be. The simple expression of a hug establishes a healthy and happy rapport between us. Hugging is healing. It has the power to reduce tension and increase trust in one another.

Not that a handshake can’t accomplish anything, but here, imagine this:

A man approaches you with a single outstretched arm and says, “Pleased to meet you, I’m…” He is polite, formal, and even friendly. Despite these lovely qualities and much appreciated formality, the distance between you feels like miles of wasted space. You shake his hand and the cordial exchange is over.


I’m willing to bet you did not picture meeting the first gentleman at, let’s say, Burning Man. Am I right, or am I right?

Another man walks your way and stops to say hello. “Pleased to meet you, I’m…” He is polite, formal, and even friendly. With arms spanning across oceans, he waits expectantly for your waves to crash into his. As the two of you sail into a calm embrace in the midst of a storm, you become the eye.

Now I’m guessing the second introduction sounded way more inviting. Sure, I might have embellished the greeting a tad. Could you blame me though?


Again, everyone has varying levels of comfort and intimacy. I get it. If a stranger comes your way and you don’t hug them, you aren’t a bad person. On the other side of things, if you attack someone unwillingly with a hug, you might want to consider asking first. My sincere wish is that you ask a cautious participant’s permission and that they say yes. That way the hug will grasp so much more meaning.

Find these people and don’t let go of them. I assure you there are plenty surrounding you. You’ll find them at Spring Awakening. They’ll be holding it down (pun intended) at  Mamby On The Beach – so make sure to check out the ticket giveaways we have going on! The huggers and squeezers and lovers are out there. I encourage you to hug them, squeeze them, and love them back.

Sending you all cozy bear hugs and awkward long hugs!


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Dane Remo Editor. Based in Los Angeles. Email me sweet nothings at dane@thesightsandsounds.com