I posed the following question to friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ yesterday: Is hugging OK in the workplace?
See for yourself.
As you can see, the results don’t exactly point one way or another, with the bulk of the people basically saying “it depends.”
This is a situation everyone faces in the workplace–and one I often struggle with. You see, I’m not a hugger. I’m a Norweigan. We don’t hug. We barely look each other in the eye. We talk about the weather. We drink coffee and eat pastries. We don’t hug. Although I do hug my kids all the time, I’ve probably hugged my parents a handful of times as an adult. I rarely hug other family members. As well as friends. So, in a professional setting, I almost never go that route.
It’s not because I don’t want to–I like the hug. It’s just not part of my makeup. I usually just stick with the handshake.
Unless, that is, if I know the other person is a hugger. Then, I will always oblige.
I don’t say this to make my current friends and clients feel awkward (I can already sense the conversations coming now). I only say this as an admission of sorts–and to see how others feel about this topic.
Then there’s my friend Jen Wilbur, solo PR pro in San Diego. She had an interesting quote yesterday: “Huggers thrive in an agency environment.” The implication: Agency people are bigger huggers than corporate PR people.
But, that simple statement spurred a number of questions for me:
* Are agency folks really more giving with their hugs than their buttoned-up corporate counterparts?
* Is the agency environment a breeding ground for huggers?
* If you join an agency as a non-hugger, will you then be transformed into an uber-hugger who doles out hugs at the drop of a hat?
* Have agencies embraced this role? Are they encouraging this hugging behavior as a selling point to attract other huggers in the industry?
Note: My tongue was firmly planted in my cheek with those statements above, but I would really love to hear your thoughts about hugging in the workplace. Share in the comments.