Are writers huggers?

So… I’m going to this big important writers’ conference at the end of May. (!!!!!!!) And I have a very serious question: Are writers huggers?

Theatre people are huggers. They hug every time they see each other even if they barely know each other. I? I am not a hugger. I had to learn this weird theatre-hugging thing.

And sometimes I forget that some of my friends aren’t theatre people. Like this doctor I work with- I him saw at a play so I went up and hugged him. He was not a hugger and his face turned red and his arms didn’t hug and his wife was there and I wanted to be like, “Look, lady, I’m not making a move, I’m just used to hugging everything that moves now even though I don’t like it!” but I didn’t say that. Good thing too.

Here is what I imagine happening at this conference:

I meet somebody in a group in the morning. We say hi, exchange names and pleasantries.

I see her in the afternoon. “Susie!” I say in the theatre way, like we’re long-lost friends. “How have you been?!” and I hug her. And Susie is scared to death of me. She avoids me like the plague for the rest of the conference and becomes extremely famous because of her story about “that crazy girl at the conference in 2012.”

Or the other extreme:

I meet somebody in a group in the morning. We say hi, exchange names and pleasantries.

I see her in the afternoon and I’m busy being myself and forgetting to hug people. So she comes at me and by the time I realize I’m supposed to be hugging her, I’m being hugged and my arms are pinned to my sides or I’m holding something weirdly and can’t hug back. My cheeks turn red. She feels strange for hugging me. I feel strange for not hugging back.

So, writer friends: are you huggers? Do you hug at conferences?


10 thoughts on “Are writers huggers?

  1. Becca Buntjer says:

    I am not specifically a writer, but I am in theatre not specifically a hugger. I went through the issue the same time you did.

    When unsure, more often than not, I ask people if they’re huggers or hand shakers when I run into them. It takes the awkwardness out of the situation.

  2. Sarah says:

    Well, my type of conference is probably very different from a writer’s conference, but I’ve seen old friends meet at conferences after not seeing each other for years and they NEVER hug… and acquaintances definitely never hug. And, why would you hug someone in the afternoon you just met in the morning? But, like I said… I’m sure theater and writing conferences are very different from my stuffy “lab safety” and “elevator mechanics” seminar/conferences.
    However, when I find myself in similar situations, I just do my best to always be ready to hug, then wait for the other person to initiate. It’s tiring to be vigilant, always making sure I have at least one hand/arm free so I can at minimum give half a hug… but it’s what I force myself to do in unfamiliar social situations.
    Good luck! I wanna hear whether or not writers are huggers when you get back!

  3. Jon Huffman says:

    Hmm…. I too was never a hugger until theatre people grabbed me and initiated me into the world of huggery. Now, having been off the stage a couple years, I am pretty much back to my old, hermit-like, reader/writer self that existed from 2nd to about 8th grade. I don’t hug anymore. I suspect most writers are not huggers. If I am any example, then they spend to much time alone to really know what to do when people want to touch them.

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