Tuesday, December 06, 2011

#31DDD: most embarrassing moment ever in life

hug etiquette

I believe storytelling is such an important part of life and is one of the reasons I was first drawn to blogging. Do any of you listen to The Moth podcast? On one of their most recent episodes, the host tells a poignant story as part of his bit, and in that story he quotes from Stephen Weeks on what the speaker later coins the law of anecdotal value.

"...sometimes I think the best way to live your life is to choose the experience that will have the most anecdotal value."

Now, this has nothing to do with why I feel storytelling is so important, but it does speak to a part of me that was touched by that simple sentence. Collecting experiences, leaping into the void, pushing your own boundaries.

Like Jonah mentioned on twitter, I have way too many embarrassing moments to choose from. Because I subscribe to the above storytelling philosophy and the sharing of life's funnier anecdotes, I've shared a few embarrassing stories before. What I haven't talked about are hugs, specifically hug etiquette.

I suppose I should start with the fact that I'm not a natural hugger. Don't get me wrong, I like a good hug; however, I'm rarely a hug initiator and feel uncomfortable at the thought of even having to make that decision. Many of my teammates are huggers though. I chalk this up to the fact that all of them work out of state, so a hug is more natural when you see each other.

A couple of years ago, I had one of the most awkward hug events. Over the period of three or four months, my working relationship had progressed with this one particular Fish and Wildlife Service employee. There were periodic meetings, and we eventually discovered we shared a commute after crossing paths on the orange line. One evening he happened to come into Barnes & Noble back when I was moonlighting there. We chatted briefly and then (WHY?) I leaned in and hugged him goodbye!

I'm fairly confident that the secret to the space-time continuum lies in those awkward moments when time stands still. I don't hug! I especially don't hug federal employees I work with and have developed no real friendship with. We both played it off, but needless to say, I was mortified. In every subsequent meeting, I couldn't even make myself go in for the handshake, preferring instead to proffer the slightly more casual distant wave.

Help a girl out. What's your hug etiquette?


  1. JonahA5:46 PM

    Haha. There should be an awkward hug a coworker day. I'm gonna hug you next time I see you. Haha. Watch for it.

  2. Hahaha. Suddenly I have visions of you chasing me around, arms outstretched, Jonah. :-)

  3. Haha. I definitely try not to hug people. I also don't have good hug etiquette.