I do not want your meaningless hugs.
My Aunt Linda is a hugger. No. She's a smotherer. Every time I see her, she bombards me with hugs — shoving my face almost directly into her sea of cleavage. It's one of my earliest memories, and still trying to forget it.
I didn't like my Aunt Linda's hugs when I was a kid, and I don't like them now. But it's not just my Aunt Linda (although her hugs are borderline assault). I don't like being hugged by anyone — ever. Does that make me a horrible person? I don't think so. I'm just not big on physical affection. No, I didn't have a horrible childhood, and there's no underlying reason I don’t like hugs. Believe me, I've looked into it. Rather, I'm just uncomfortable when people invade my space.
I'm happily married and my husband is an affectionate guy, which sucks for him because I'm not. He likes holding hands and snuggling at night — I'd prefer to sit on opposite couches and sleep without touching. Fortunately, he's understanding and respectful of my personal space and doesn’t take it personally when I don't want to spoon. And, for the record, it hasn't affected our relationship — if anything, I think it has made it better.
The interesting thing about not being overly affectionate is that when I decide to be affectionate, it really means something. I don't want to hold hands every time we go somewhere, so when I boldly grab my husband's hand, he knows it’s a true sign of love because I genuinely want to be close to him.
In my opinion, affection is overdone in our society. Because of that, it's watered down. Saying 'I love you' doesn't mean what it used to because halfheartedly say it to people we've known for a few months. So it's diluted when we say it to our true loved ones.
For this reason, I'm selective about saying 'I love you' to people. I rarely say it to anyone but my husband because it actually means something to me. Just like hugs mean something to me. Touching can be an amazing way to show someone how much you care — especially when it's habitual. Personally, I think snuggling on the couch with my husband once a week (and genuinely enjoying it) is far more meaningful than snuggling every night out of habit.
I just want my hugs and 'I love yous' to mean something, which is why I'm stingy with giving them out. However, if you're lucky enough to snatch one up, appreciate it because they're a rare find!
One thing is for certain: Aunt Linda will not be getting a hug from me. I'll be sure to dodge her at the next family reunion.