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100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 59. Randomly Hug A Person You Don’t Know

Ok, this might be a little bit dangerous, but only if you think at it. If you’re doing it, chances are that you’re going to get your hug back. It will also help raising your adrenaline up to levels you never had for a very long time.

I both did that and witnessed somebody else doing it. It’s a fantastic experience. Word of caution: do ask for permission first and if you are refused, by all means, go away.

But if the other person agrees, something magic will happen. A simple hug will bring back into awareness all that simple joy of being connected. Of being part of something bigger than you.

On a certain level, randomly hugging strangers on the street is even better than hugging persons you know.

How to Hug A Person You Don’t Know

I wasn’t much of a hugger when I was younger. I can’t say I’m obsessed with it now, either, but I’m kinda fond of it. I really like it.

Here’s how I got into hugging.

Back in 2009 I attended to my first personal development workshop ever. Incidentally, it was the first personal development workshop for the trainer too, who was, guess who, no other than Steve Pavlina. The whole gig took place in Vegas, for an entire weekend. The weather was fantastic, I was for the first time in the States, and the crowd at the workshop was terrific. These only added to the value I got from the workshop itself.

Speaking of which, the workshop had a few unusual requests from us. One of them was to actually get out on the Strip and hug an unknown person. Like on the Vegas Strip, you know. The exercise was supposed to enhance our interaction abilities as well as to experience the benefits of hugging. I don’t remember if I did well or not, but I remember one guy managed to hug a person in as little as 30 seconds, and he was really proud about it. It was a bit odd to compete like this, I confess, but overall it was a good exercise.

That first time experience opened my mind about hugging. A few years later, in 2013, when Steve Pavlina came to Bucharest and we put together an international event in like 9 days, I had another breakthrough: half an hour of that event was dedicated to “proper hugging”. The quotes here just identify the concept, they’re not meant to be ironic or condescending. Because there is a way to proper hug people.

As time flew by, I slowly leaned towards hugging too. And I also started to enjoy the benefits.

So, how do you properly hug someone?

First of all, like I said, you ask for permission. If the other person, for whatever reason they deem right in their own universe, don’t want to be touched, stop. Any gesture beyond that will be perceived like an act of aggression.

But if the other person accepts, then lean forward, raise your hands, left one higher than right one, and put your heart near the other person’s heart. That’s where the hug starts.

Stay there, without pushing or squeezing, without thinking too much, if possible. Stay for 10 or 20 seconds. This is an important part, because our hearts can pick up the rhythm, you know, they can synchronize with each other, enough time given. And I mean, literally. That’s usually the moment when skeptics are leaving the article, and that’s perfectly ok. But if you’re still here, and still hesitant or incredulous, just google this: “synchronizing metronomes video”. If physical devices, without a consciousness and without what we call “life”, and I’m talking about metronomes, here, if those devices can sync, by reasons not known by scientists, then imagine what happens when our hearts get together. Just google that thing and look at video.

Back to the hugging process now. That 20 seconds part when your hearts are closer than a few centimeters to one another, that part is the connection part. Some of the things that happen during that part are felt instantly, some of them are unconscious, and experienced later. If you practice long enough, the unconscious ones will slowly start to grow into consciousness as well. But even after a short period of doing this consciously, you may start to feel sensations of lightness or euphoria. Sometimes, just a warm feeling of belongingness, of finding someone compatible, will just arise, apparently from nothing.

Then, slowly take you arms off and step back. Get out from the personal space of the person, and if there’s some conversation to be followed, go on. That was the hug.

The Shortest List Of Hugging Benefits Ever

Hugging increases your emotional availability.

It also increases your social skills, your abilities to connect to other people.

Hugging creates short breaks in your day to day routine when you’re actually close to the warmth of another human being.

Hugging makes you aware that you are literally the other person just as much as you are yourself.

further reading

Tango Crush

77 Reasons To Love Your Life



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. No. Do NOT do this. You are heading straight into sexual harassment territory. Do not make body contact with strangers–most of us do NOT want it! Even asking to hug a stranger is creepy and frightening. Keep your hands to yourself and let us keep our boundaries.

    1. “First of all, like I said, you ask for permission. If the other person, for whatever reason they deem right in their own universe, don’t want to be touched, stop. Any gesture beyond that will be perceived like an act of aggression.”

      I suppose you read that too, right? It’s part of the article.

      Anything related to hugging goes AFTER that part, ok? If you don’t want to go beyond that part, it’s absolutely ok. I’m talking about what happens if you want to go there.

      In any interaction, consent is fundamental and compulsory.

      Just wanted to stress that again, as it seems you didn’t perceive it.

  2. Thank you for your article.
    Coming from a background when I am not used to hugging this article helps much. Good to know that you are not used to hugging, and like hugging now. Never knew this ‘fondness of hugging’ can change.
    Not that I have not hugged anyone before after nearly 10 years in Australia, but I only hug the people I know fairly well.
    A guy whom I used to like was gesturing to me for a hug a couple of days ago, but I don’t know him too well, but we did hug because we are in a social function with other friends.. I personally feel weird why he would ask for a hug from me. But your explanation says it all.

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