My friend met this girl online. She was cute, successful, active, and friendly. The conversation started out slow, but she opened up a little bit more once the date went on and got more comfortable. Dinner, dessert and 3 hours later, my friend was ready to say goodbye. Being the friendly guy that he is, he went in for a hug and came out awkward and confused. You know those hugs you get when the other person outstretchs their arms and kinda give you a few pats on your shoulder or back? Yeah, he got one of those… Turns out, she didn’t return the favor because she was never hugged by her family so she was never comfortable with it. A second and third date went by and she still wasn’t ready for that hug. As you may know, intimacy in a relationship is important so… IS THIS A DEAL BREAKER?!
I told my friend.. you have to have the “hug talk”. What is that? It’s the sex talk, but about hugs. In essence, it’s a conversation to find out where the other person stands on a certain topic. In turn, it’s the same for if you need to bring up a certain topic at work such as a raise, harassment issue, negotiations, etc. Here are a few steps on how to approach it:
- Do your research: Know why it’s important to you and what outcomes you want out of this talk. Know where you stand and be able to explain it.
- Set set time & do it in private: Take the person away from the hustle and pick a quiet place where no one is eavesdropping or a place you’re not getting interrupted. Let them know in advance so they’re not caught off guard.
- Explain how you’ve been feeling: Express what’s been going on and how you feel about it, but do not put other people down in the process. Be real, open and honest. This isn’t the time to sugarcoat anything.
- Propose a solution: You can’t just present the problem. Propose some carefully thought out action steps on what you think should happen next.
- Listen: There’s always another side of the story whether they agree with you or not. Ask them how they feel about the situation and take the time to listen (without interrupting!) and you may learn from their point of view.
- Come up with a solution: This may mean executing your plan, compromising, or going with something completely different. Whatever it is, come up with something and actually execute it.
- Follow up: There’s nothing more important than to check up and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Is everything fine or is there something you have to tweak? Make sure both parties are completely comfortable with the agreement.
There you go buddy! I wish you the best of luck for your “hug talk”!