When Hugs Are Like Medicine

The magic of platonic male hugs

I came across a couple of tweets like this earlier today in Erin Davis’s Twitter feed.

Here’s the quote from the embedded tweet, in case the embed disappears:

In my response to her, I told her that her tweet had given me a writing prompt, and semi-jokingly said that I better write my piece before I read hers so that I’m not influenced by her post.

I don’t want to take on her perspective when I should be writing my own.

My first thought in the context of Erin and hugs went to a former mutual colleague of ours who gave great hugs. (Still does, I’ve heard.) Then I started thinking about who my favourite huggers are and why.

Beyond that, I honestly didn’t know how this post was going to go until I started writing it. I do know that I’m trying to write consistently, and any time I have material, it’s a good start. Twitter is often an inspiration.
(My previous Medium post was based off two-tweets that I made.)

Photo by sobhan joodi on Unsplash

What makes a good hug and from whom?

It seems like big men give the best hugs. Sometimes those men are big in the torso, sometimes in height.

When I think back to the men whose hugs I’ve enjoyed the most, they are those who wrap their arms entirely around me and those who pick me up. Sometimes it’s the same hug.

I don’t allow everyone to hug me. I’m a hugger, but I have boundaries.

There’s something about a big man hug, though, that makes me feel safe and secure. Sometimes, even those back-cracking hugs make me feel good. When one’s arms wrap around me, it feels like a warm, comfortable blanket. When it’s a hug from a friend, the hug makes me feel valued.

I feel the love.

Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

Appreciating platonic love

Platonic love is amazing. There’s a particular appreciation that comes from platonic male love. As much as I hate to say it, the (hetero) male-female dynamics exist and so to have platonic male love is extra-special. There’s trust involved. I know my male friends won’t hit on me and they will always have my back. Some of my friends have hit on me, and then we’ve been fine. Others have violated my trust and I’ve had to end the friendship. Sometimes unrequited attraction ruins a good friendship, sometimes it doesn’t.

With most of my male friends, physical attraction hasn’t been an issue.

“Just friends”

I’m also friends — and acquaintances — with exes.

Some people don’t understand how men and women can be “just friends” or how exes can be friends. I don’t understand how men and women can’t be platonic. People are people. Whether or not one can be friends with someone they’ve dated or had a serious relationship with depends on the individuals, their romantic relationship and their breakup.

Platonic love — such as that demonstrated by a hug from the right person — is essential for the soul.

Soulmates are often platonic.

Being friends with an ex

Some of my favourite people are those that I used to date. I was in love with a couple of them (or thought I was). Sometimes relationships don’t work out and aren’t meant to be but result in amazing friendships. If you think it’s “weird” to be friends with an ex, consider why. If everyone is secure with themselves, it can be a beautiful relationship after a time.

Yesterday I listened to a podcast in which the two male hosts interviewed an ex-girlfriend of one of them. The two exes discussed the process of their relationship, the positive aspects and the negative. They didn’t immediately stay friends after the breakup. As is common, typical even, there was a period in which they needed to stay apart before they could come back together as friends with mutual respect and love. The male half of the former relationship gushed about how awesome her husband is, how thrilled he was when her daughter was born, and how much he appreciated how she helped him grow. She too shared her appreciation for things he’d said to her during their relationship and ways that he’d helped her make positive changes in her life. As the podcast episode was ending, the two people who used to date exchanged “I love you.” Platonic love is beautiful.

That podcast conversation agreed with my belief that every person comes into our lives for a reason. Every person has the potential to teach us about ourselves and the world and to help us become better people. Everyone is a teacher. Every experience is worthy.

Jealousy

The other host said that he and his wife decided not to be friends with exes. To each his own, but I don’t think I could be in a romantic relationship with a man who didn’t feel comfortable with me being friends with an ex. To me, that’s a sign of insecurity that needs addressing. No one should ask their partner to choose between them and a friend, even if those friends have seen each other naked.

If I’m monogamous with someone, I’m with them. When I break up with someone, there’s a reason. When it’s over, it’s over. I’ve made my peace with those men for whom I had lingering feelings after a breakup.

These are a few of my fav-or-ite exes

I have three or five favourite exes. One I lost track of years ago (he’s not on Facebook). One of my is married with two young children, and I’m so happy for him. He and I were friends before we dated. Our relationship was on and off for a little over a year. Even though I experienced sadness and hurt, there was never anger. There was always respect.

Another ex came to visit me several months ago. His greeting hug was so intense and lingering that I was concerned for his wellbeing. We speak a couple of times a year. I remind him almost every time we speak that he’s one of my favourites.

Most of the guys I’ve dated are married with kids now. Since I was a teenager, I’ve mostly known that I don’t want kids. I’ve changed my mind a couple of times, but not while I was dating those men. In that regard, it worked out for all of us. After I met and became attracted to Mr. Intense Hug, my interest in him intensified when I learned that he had a pair of children with his ex-wife, along with a vasectomy.

There are no romantic feelings towards these men, only memories of good times and some disappointments. I feel that it’s easiest to be friends with an ex if there’s no betrayal involved, but even betrayal can be forgiven and the good times remembered.

Reading that quote by Steve Maraboli sent me on an internet search and through his website. We tend to hear words when we need them. The right lyrics capture our attention at the right time. We’re lead to the articles, blog posts and books we need to read. Passages and phrases connect with us to teach us lessons when we’re ready to learn them. Our inner guides nudge us. The questions we knew we had — or were consciously unaware that we had — get answered.

There’s so much good stuff on his website and so much good life advice quoted on his Goodreads page.

One of his books is on my wishlist now, for when I catch up on my current three library books and two new Kindle books. That book isn’t going anywhere.

Over to you

I’m curious to know your thoughts of any of the following:

  • How do you judge a good hug?
  • What do you think about men and women being friends?
  • Are you friends with exes?

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Digital Marketing Manager | Freelance Writer | ADHD Coach for adults | Available for hire. http://andreawrites.ca.

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