Why I Don’t Hug Girls: Part 1

I don’t hug girls outside my own family, and some find this policy of mine strange and unfeeling. People may go even further and say that I’m over reacting or being legalistic. I personally would argue that it is actually more caring for a guy not to hug a girl than to hug her, and there is nothing over-reactionary or legalistic about it. I’ll explain why.

DisrespectfulWhy I Don't Hug Girls part 1

With the rise of Feminism, the way women are treated by men has greatly deteriorated. Women were once placed on a pedestal—to be protected and sacrificed for. Feminists like to lament those dark days of male oppression, when women were placed at the feet of men, unable to do anything but agonize at home like Emily Dickinson. This is a myth. In the not so distant past, women were actually given more importance than they are today, at least in the extreme instances.

The call used to be for women and children first. If a building is burning down, you save the women and children first. It was understood that men would sacrifice themselves for women and children.

In the days of the Great Depression, you had the phenomenon of the wandering hobos, who would travel the country looking for work in exchange for a meal. Hobos were penniless, and at the bottom of society, and yet, they were gentlemen, and they respected others, especially women. Women could feel safe around them, even without their husbands present. Certainly there were exceptions, and they didn’t have everything right back then, but they were right on this aspect.

What do hobos have to do with why I don’t hug girls? My point is that women (and people in general) used to be treated with more respect than they are today. People didn’t go around touching each other, unless it was a good firm handshake.Feminism has taken women off of the pedestal in society they once had. Today, women are now placed on the same plane as men, no longer deserving the respect of men simply because they are women. This is why it’s not seen as such big issue when there is physical touching between guys and girls. There was a time when that would have been seen as extremely disrespectful on the part of the man, and unladylike on the part of the woman.

But just because this is the way things used to be doesn’t make it correct. I think it’s correct for other reasons.

What does it mean when you can touch something? It means you have access to it, that you have a right to it. Things you are not allowed to touch, you don’t have access to, and you don’t have a right to. Either it doesn’t belong to you, or your touch wouldn’t be good for it, like a priceless ancient artifact for instance.

I don’t have a right to touch or access the bodies of girls and women. They are sacred and do not belong to me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Furthermore, my own body does not belong to me. For me to gratuitously embrace them would be, for me, to intentionally disrespect them and myself.

Now, some people will say this doesn’t apply if the girl gives me permission to hug her. I disagree. Permission, or desire, or “feeling the need” does not change the fact that for me to compromise and act in a manner that, for me, communicates lovelessness, would be wrong. I would still be disrespecting her, only now, she is making it easier for me to disrespect her, and if she is doing so knowingly; if she is initiating physical contact despite knowing that I believe it would be wrong, then that I think, would be unladylike on her part, but would in no way leave me free of responsibility.

The actions of others do not allow me to shirk my responsibility. I may not use the willingness of others as an excuse. The true gentleman will seek to protect others, both their physical bodies and their dignity, even (and perhaps especially) when their habits or desires are at odds with their well-being.

Of course, there will be exceptions. If a woman falls down, a man should offer his hand to help her up, or any other time when a girl needs physical assistance, it’s okay. I am sure that many of you can present scenarios that would also be clear exceptions.

Touch Is Powerful

I come from a public school background, where touch is normal and everywhere. Sure, it was common to see the dating boyfriends and girlfriends kiss and hug each other in the halls, but there was also a lot of playful (and not so playful) touching between those who were not dating each other. Girls would jump on guy’s backs and guys would sneak up behind girls and wrap them in a hug.

This may all seem innocent and harmless to many, but human touch is very powerful. Touch can stir up inappropriate emotions and feelings. A guy hugging a girl while she is in a time of emotional distress is especially dangerous, as her emotional discombobulation could cause her to emotionally latch onto the guy. One hug probably won’t be enough, but if you hug once, what is wrong with doing it again, and again? Pretty soon, it’s possible that the girl—and maybe even the guy—could develop romantic feelings for each other, and they would be the result of mere emotions.

Once feelings are formed, the slope becomes much more slippery, and there is no telling what could happen if things continue on their projection, which brings me to my third point.

Avoiding Immorality

People will claim there are different kinds of hugs, and they all mean a different things. Maybe I’m just being a simpleton, but that sounds pretty ridiculous to me. A hug is a hug, you’re touching the other person’s body with your body. While I don’t think you’re automatically sinning if you hug someone of the opposite gender, the risk level goes up the more you do it.

Touch stirs up feelings, and these feelings may or may not lead you to sin. But the more you’re touching, the more difficult it’s going to become.

It might be a good idea to stop and consider why guys will hug girls but they think it’s “weird” or “awkward” to hug other guys.

Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to hug, or that you automatically have bad intentions if you do hug—I’m not saying that at all. But hugging the opposite gender does put you more at risk for immorality. That’s all I’m saying.

Another Point To Consider

The Bible says that it is good for a man not to touch a woman (1 Corinthians 7:1), and in the next verse it says that each man is to have his own wife, and each woman her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:2).

While I know this verse isn’t specifically dealing with casual touch, personally, I don’t want my wife hugging other men. I doubt she would want me hugging other women. We are to be faithful to our spouses, and I think that includes the years before we are married (Proverbs 31:12). I’m not going to hug girls because they’re not my wife or part of my family.

One final reason why I don’t hug girls

I don’t want to. It’s just awkward and it feels wrong to me. I don’t need to be hugged by girls, and I’ve never been in a situation where a girl “really needs a hug.” “Goodbye hugs” are the typical situations I find myself in where I have to awkwardly offer to shake the girl’s hand before she can try to hug me. I don’t need a goodbye hug, and these girls don’t need a goodbye hug from me either. That’s just making things a bigger deal than they need to be anyway.

I don’t have a problem with girls hugging each other, that’s fine. I understand that females are more in need of touch, but they don’t need to be touched by me, or other male friends for that matter.

These are my reasons for not touching girls. If you hug your friends of the opposite gender, I hope maybe you will give your hugging habits a second thought. I’m not going to say you are absolutely in the wrong if you do hug members of the opposite gender…but I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Hugs are just awkward anyway.

“Maybe one day the human race will have a big flash of inspiration and come with a more civilized way of greeting each other.”

Maybe handshakes?
Due to the exorbitant amount of feedback I received on this post, I needed to write a follow up post:

Why I Don’t Hug Girls: Part 2

35 Comments

  1. Very interesting post. Just a few things came to mind, though…

    The people of the early church greeted one another with a “Holy Kiss.” What are your thoughts on that?

    Also, I hug plenty of guys without awkwardness…

    And what about hugging the opposite sex within your own family? If that’s okay, then how far-related does someone have to be before you’re not, to use the word, “allowed” to hug them?

    I hope you don’t see me as being antagonistic. I’m just curious as to what your thoughts are, and I like to explore the outer implications of beliefs.

    Personally, hugging girls is against my “Code” as well. I do make a few exceptions here and there, but nothing that would compromise someone’s purity.

  2. I don’t like hugging guys unless they are in my family and I don’t like guys hugging me. I didn’t really know why I didn’t like to be hugged by opposite gender outsiders (outside the family) Whenever they asked me I would just say it felt wrong. Now I have a better argument. Thanks for shedding a new light on it Reagan

  3. Thank you for posting this. You are absolutely right about the way society has gone downhill with the way opposite genders treat one another.
    It drives me crazy and causes me to strive towards being more ladylike.
    I personally do not hug guys, except my family. That has always been the rule. I’m extremely grateful for it as well.
    And the points you made were excellent reasons! 🙂

  4. lol ;P 😉 the video at the end is fantastic. (Oh, and where’d you get that ‘hobo code’ list? I’d be real interested in reading more 🙂

    On a more serious note, I really appreciate this post. For a long time I was very uncomfortable with hugging Anyone (guy or girl) . . . but since I’ve been involved in a school/college environment where that kind of interaction is almost expected, I’ve noticed that the idea doesn’t bother me so much anymore (and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing :/ ) . . . I suppose what I’m saying is ‘thanks, I should put more thought into this subject and really find out in what more concrete manner I should view it’ 😛 :]

  5. If it’s all about touch, how is handshaking any better? You’re still touching them. Just a thought. I think hugs are fine, but I’ve grown up with it. My parents hug their friends of the opposite gender and there’s no problems. I hug my guy friends and yes, it can be awkward, but in general it’s fine. It just has to do with your backround. But I would like to know what you think about handshakes that makes them different than hugs since your still touching the person.

  6. Good thoughts. Thank you for sharing.
    Still disagree. Personal conviction thing again. 😛

    But I love handshakes. Especially handshake battles. Hehe.

  7. Right, I just want people to think about this issue more. There are a lot of different views out there about what is acceptable. I just want to make sure we’re all thinking about our actions, and how they affect us an others, even things seemingly as innocent as a hug.

  8. You know this whole post gets thrown out the window if you’re Latino, right? 😛

    Anyway, interesting post. I agree with a lot of it, but not all of it. But it does get the clockwork ticking, so thanks for presenting your thoughts on the issue.

  9. Hugging. I don’t know, if we’re talking about teenage boys and girls, maybe it is better to not, but I know a lot of people who are very physical and they haven’t said hello until they’ve hugged you at church.
    In the days when women were respected the way you wish they (we) still were, young men and women would dance at social gatherings. A close, personal dance such as the waltz was considered shocking at first, but in a semi-public setting, you would touch people of the opposite gender.
    So it’s not like people of eras of elegance were physically isolated, and I think it’s important to keep in mind that, because of the very emotional processes that happen, people can be starved for physical contact.

  10. I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with most if this post. I appreciate your thoughts and trying to be careful. But I actually don’t find anywhere in the Bible where it says it’s wrong to give a casual, friendly hug. What about the “greeting each other with a holly kiss?” And I believe the verse you referenced was referring to more sexual interaction than an innocent hug. I don’t hug guys in general unless they hug me. And even then, I try to go into a side hug.

    And I’m also going to have to take personal offense, actually. I believe you just called me unladylike in this post.

    And please remember that there is a major difference between a brother and sister in Christ exchanging a casual, friendly hug than a bunch if public schoolers making a scene by hanging on each other.

    Interesting post that does make one think about things…but I just can’t agree with most of it this time.

  11. Maybe if you read my next two posts on the same topic, you’ll understand a little better where I’m coming from. 🙂

  12. Different eras do have different standards. In this post, I simply listed my personal standards.

  13. Why Latino? 😛

    And I didn’t expect many to agree with it. 😛

  14. Let me know if I answered your question in part two. 🙂

  15. Thank you very much, both for the comment and your standards! It’s nice not to be the only one who has this stance. 🙂

  16. Also, if it you makes you feel any better, I’ve done things that in the past would not have been considered very gentlemanly. There were different standards back then. Wearing pants would have been considered unladylike on your part. 😛 So you have no reason to be offended. 🙂

  17. I will read them. 🙂

    I am not offended in the immature sense that you’ve “hurt my feelings”. I am only saying you were quite harsh and rude to tell girls they are unladylike if they let a guy hug them. 🙂

    It doesn’t make me feel any better to hear that anyone has done that they regret. That is hardly Christian or mature at all. I’m actually quite…sorry that you think that would make me feel better. I didnt realize i came across as that kind of a person. And my allowing a guy to hug me is not unladylike. And I actually do know a thing or two on this subject.

    And before I say more i will read your next posts. I may not comment though because I don’t want to offend and don’t see anything I say being listened to. Which is completely fine. It’s not my place to impose my opinion on the world. 😉

  18. And one other thing…I don’t want to be unkind or rude at all. Everyone has they’re opinion. I happen to be…passionate about this kind of subject and others that tie into it. Please don’t think I mean any offense. I’m simply stating my opinion like everyone else and it’s not something I’ve just come up with. Like I said before…I know a couple things about this subject. 🙂

  19. I’m talking about in the same time period where they would have thought you unladylike, they would have thought some of the stuff I do/did ungentlemanly.

    And all I’m trying to do here is say why I don’t want to be pressing my body against the the bodies of girls. This my personal preference, and an act of Christian liberty.

  20. Oh, of course. I know a couple of things about this subject too, however. And my experiences have helped to shape what I believe, and for MYSELF…I don’t think it’s a good idea for ME to be hugging other girls, as it feels wrong, and for all the other reasons I explain in this post, and the next ones.

  21. Very well…that is, of course, your right.

    And if that is all these posts are saying…some friendly feedback from me ls be to maybe change your style a bit because the last couple of postst have seemed to be very authoritative in nature and like you are saying that this I’d what God says to do.

    If it is simply personal preference, this is very understandable. 🙂 like I said…with the style and way it’s been presented it seemed more like law than opinion.

    Not trying to attack at all here…just some thoughts. And I really do appreciate you respecting girls. 🙂

  22. Ah, in that case…why is it wrong to hug but not do other stuff? And actually…men in the old days would go farther than hugging and it was considered the gentlemanly thing to do to /kiss/ a lady’s hand.

    Like I said in the comment below…it is hard to tell by these posts that this is simply personal preference since you stored some things as fact. Maybe a little clarification would be helpful. 🙂 and perhaps you’ve done that already in your third post. I haven’t read it.
    Christian liberty is wry important…I agree. 🙂

  23. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU.

    I have been mildly (stress the word mildly) ridiculed for my standards in this area for so long, and now I have a link to direct others to which explains my view on the subject to a T.

    Again, thank you for addressing tough subjects instead of assimilating to the majority and shying away from them. 🙂

  24. I enjoy reading your posts about this subject. I have young sons and daughters and I have been trying to teach them about respecting others and this falls in line with that. Showing we value others is about making them feel safe and comfortable around us, and 90% of the time, hugs make someone of the opposite sex feel awkward, so if we hug them anyways, we are showing that we are putting ourselves first. I also appreciate your added perspectives and plan to share your words with my children. Do you have any siblings being raised with the same ideals? I would love to know there is hope for my daughters out there to find a husband who would respect them with the same ideals that you have! Keep sharing and hopefully you will continue to inspire others 🙂

  25. Thank you very much for the comment and your encouraging words of support! I’m so thankful there are other parents out there teaching their children the values my parents have taught me.

    I do have siblings. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters, all of whom are younger except for one sister, who is older than me. 🙂

    There is definitely hope for your daughters. So long as they set their hearts and minds on God, and don’t lower their standards, God will provide. 🙂

    Thank you again for your words of encouragement!

  26. Only you can decide if your touching a girl is disrespecting them. Not all hugs need to be sexual in nature. There is definitely a pushing of boundaries in a whole lot of hugging. I think that for you to say that a girl is unladylike for allowing you to disrespect her by hugging her is not necessarily accurate. That is assigning motives to someone else. You can take responsibility for your own heart and actions. But I think that your blanket statement is rather harsh and unfounded. I left another comment on your 2nd post, so you can see what I think about hugging the opposite sex.

  27. Thank you very much for your comments. The particular paragraph you are referencing was indeed too much of a blanket statement, and you are not the only one who views it as too harsh and unfounded. There are some very good friends of mine who took it the same way that you did, and I am sorry for that. I had some particular scenarios in mind and I certainly have some explaining to do on that one. I certainly don’t believe that all hugs are sexual in nature, and if that is what I was communicating then that is a failure on my part. I’ll be expounding on that issue in a later post when I have the time to give it the attention it deserves.

    Thank you again. I really do appreciate it!

  28. Thank YOU for also sharing these convictions, and thank you for the words of encouragement! 🙂

  29. Oops….I just now saw this..

    You are very welcome!

    Yes, I agree. In the world we live in, high standards are far and few between.

  30. Whoa. Reagan, real real talk time, I’m just surfing your blog, having internet feelz, because I’m in math and I’m bored because I really ought to have tested out of this class… But anyway.

    I agree and disagree. There have been times where I’ve gotten hugs from guys, and I’ve been like, “Can you stop touching me?” But, there have also been times where I felt reassured and loved as a sister because of a hug. I didn’t develop romantic feelings for that person. I don’t know. I’m not trying to justify myself to you, cause quite frankly, I don’t live my life for you, I live it for God. This is interesting, though.

  31. I think you should see this.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_zak_trust_morality_and_oxytocin.html

    Just one thing about all this. You shouldn’t judge people just because they have different ways of living. Otherwise i would have a lot to say about this post.
    Be careful about how you “share” an opinion, because, like touch, it’s very powerful, and you are responsible for it.
    Thanks

  32. Thanks for the comment Viana!

    When you say “judge” I’m going to assume you mean “think of ourselves as better than.” I definitely agree, we should not do this kind of “judging.” That was one of the main reasons I wrote this post, because I have experienced and seen others receive “judgement” because they choose not to hug, or don’t like it. This article was meant to give the other side, and provide the reasons why I personally don’t think it’s good for me to hug girls outside my family.

    Also, that was an interesting video, though it’s conclusion falls far short of reality. The entire point of the video was to show how we don’t need God for morality, and that we all have that morality inside us. This is just not true.

    Additionally, I’m aware hugs can make people feel good, which I’m guessing is the point you were trying to make, and the point the speaker makes at the end. It is this fact (the power of hugs) that I choose not to hug girls outside my own family. No, I don’t believe a girl will develop romantic feelings from a single hug. But if one hug is okay, then why not two? Or ten? Or 100? I don’t want to be physically pressing my body against another girl’s body who is not related to me. As the speaker showed, oxytocin is released, which increases feelings of trust and love. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be stirring up such feelings.

    Again, I’m not saying this is always the case, but the potential is there, and I’d rather not risk it.

    I hope you are offended in anyway. I certainly do not condemn those who do hug. As I say in my series, I know and respect a lot of people who do hug frequently. I do not choose to do as they do, but that does not mean I think they are bad people, far from it.

  33. I tend to agree with you on this one. I’ve never been a real huggie person, but that’s especially true with guys (and even more so now that I’m married). I think there’s a naivety in the church (in the world?) that things like hugs are completely innocent, or that if your intentions are “good” then it must be okay. Good job of standing up for your convictions.

  34. You are absolutely right. Hugging can lead to a looser way of living and can have terrible affects on the direction a young person is going. Believe me I have seen where it has led young people who were very close to me. On the other hand, those that didn’t hug, for the most part lived a life that maintained purity.

  35. According to your article, if a man followed your advice, then he would have absolutely no way of ever developing a friendship with a woman, and would therefore never have an opportunity of getting married. He would naturally end up staying single and alone for his entire life until he died. If “you” are married, may I please kindly ask that you reveal all the details {from start to finish} regarding how you successfully married that woman?

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