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Erum’s Comics: Read This Before You Hug Someone

There are rules to hugging and one must know them!

Updated
NEON
4 min read
Universal Hug Rulebook
i

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love hugs and those like me.

Like me, if you’re a socially awkward person with space issues, here’s a solution. Not for you, but for your friends who’d hug for days if they could and are exceptionally oblivious to taking hints.

As a member of the Hug-hating Brigade, here’s what you should do: take a print out of the comic (see below) and slide it under your friends’ doors, post it on their Facebook walls, you might as well draft an application to the education minister while you’re at it, and ask them to incorporate these guidelines in the curriculum.

Better train them while they're young.

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Consent

All huggers and serial touchers, remember these to hug an averse-to-hugging person:

Step 1: Open your arms wide as you approach them.
Step 2: Give your non-hugger friend enough time to accept or decline the hug.

You might be wondering how you can get to know if your hug has been declined. Here’s some important things to keep in mind:

If the person you are moving towards suddenly disappears into thin air.

Universal Hug Rulebook
Universal Hug Rulebook
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)

If the person you are moving towards takes one step backwards for every step forwards you take towards them.

Universal Hug Rulebook
Universal Hug Rulebook
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)

The person you’re moving towards starts sweating profusely. In some extreme cases, they might even form a waterbody.

Universal Hug Rulebook
Universal Hug Rulebook
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)
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The person emits a loud, glass-shattering shriek.

Universal Hug Rulebook
Universal Hug Rulebook
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)

The person starts crying inconsolably.

Universal Hug Rulebook
Universal Hug Rulebook
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)
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I might have got a little carried away, but you catch my drift, right?

Time Limit

A hug should, reasonably speaking, have a preset time limit. If you want to know the consequences of exceeding the said time limit, please refer to points 4 and 5 of Consent section.

At any given time during your friendship with a non-hugger, remember that a hug should never, I repeat, never, cross the 5-second mark.

The ideal time for a hug is 3 seconds. Keep your hug three seconds long and everybody will go home safe and sound!

Exceptions

In case you are plunging into a pit of despair and really need a hug from your non-hugger friend, follow the below listed steps:

Step 1: Approach the person slowly.

Step 2: Clearly communicate your sadness.

Step 3: Slowly and cautiously, put your head on the person’s shoulder.

PS: The aforementioned steps may or may not result in a hug. It might, however, result in your non-hugger friend breaking all ties with you and taking the ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ route.

But, on a brighter note, their hand might just approach your shoulder and pat it gently.

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Universal Hug Rulebook
Universal Hug Rulebook
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)

If you’re intent on (shamelessly) pursuing your non-hugger friend to get that hug, the two optimal conditions are:

1. When your non-hugger friend gives you a hug in a rare display of physical affection.
2. No. There is no number two. Remember what we spoke about in the Consent Section.

Another tip to figure out when the hug should get over:

When your non-hugger friend slowly removes their hand and furiously tries to let go of you.

Universal Hug Rulebook
Universal Hug Rulebook
(Photo: The Quint/Erum Gour)

Then you know it's time to ABORT MISSION.

(This comic strip is part of Erum's Comics, a weekly series that unboxes the tiny little things life throws our way – be it dating woes, shaadi ka pressure, life in heels, or our old friend, the existential crisis. If you like what you see, follow @rummesque_comics on Instagram or tweet to her @erumgour.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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