Some people are huggers; others are not.
As adults, I think it’s somewhat easy for us to look for non-verbal cues and know when a hug is acceptable for friends. A handshake is always an acceptable way of greeting someone if you’re not sure if the other person is comfortable with a hug.
Teenagers, well that’s another story! As we prepare to kick off another season of Cotillion, I’m reminded of a situation that happens often. Picture this scenario:
Young Teenage Girl (YTG), giddy with excitement that Cotillion is gearing up again. Young Teenage Boy (YTB), actually excited as well, just not letting it show; he’s playing it “cool” and acting as though his parents have forced him to return for another season. YTG sees YTB whom she met last season and is SO excited to see him again, runs up and gives him a full-on frontal hug (just as she would one of her girlfriends). YTB turns many shades of red and beelines it to the restroom.
In this situation a handshake may have been a bit awkward for a teenager. If a hug is really what the situation calls for, I would suggest going in for the “side hug”. It still shows, “Hey, I’m glad to see you”, without invading the other person’s space bubble too badly.
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