I consider myself an undercover touchy feely person. I say undercover because in no way, shape, or form does it appear that way to many people that know me. I’m the person who would much rather sit by myself than be commanded to “turn to my neighbor” or “give my neighbor a hug.” Quite frankly, I find it awkward and extremely annoying. This often happens in church-like settings where apparently the leader of some sort is trying to break the ice and apparently build lifelong bonds between people in the audience. Call me mean, but that’s not my intention. I don’t mind meeting new people and I have a nosy personality that seeks to find out what makes someone tick. I like to hear life stories and get advice and direction from people with a different perspective. However, I’m not down (and may not ever be) with hugging perfect strangers and telling them that I love them because I was told to do so. I remember reading somewhere that giving or receiving hugs can help the body and improve mental health. While I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with this, in my case hugs with perfect strangers do not count towards my “daily hug quota.” I don’t usually even know the person’s name. But refusing a hug creates one of the most awkward moments–especially if you don’t know the person. I honestly think that a hug in this type of situation is a type of meaningless affection. It means nothing. Conveys nothing. Accomplishes nothing. Now I know that other people would disagree with me and I’m sure that there are plenty of people who hug perfect strangers because there is a legitimate purpose. But in this situation, hugging someone because you were told to do so does not count as a legitimate reason with an actual purpose. Humans can be so trained to do whatever someone tells them to do because they have some sort of title. Makes no sense to me. Will I ever sit next to someone and inform them that I don’t do hugs from strangers? Probably not. But will I continue to cringe in my head whenever I hear a “turn to your neighbor?” Yup. What can I say? I just feel more comfortable hugging people I actually know.