I have a friend at work who doesn’t really like to be touched. She doesn’t like hugging or if I pick something out of her hair or just grab her hand to emphasize a story.
The other day she was sad and I really wanted to give her a big hug, but I realized that it wouldn’t make her feel better. So I sat on the feeling a little longer and came up with a solution.
I went up to her and asked if she had a moment. I looked at her and said “I really want to give you a hug but I know you wouldn’t like that. So right now I’m spending the time I would spend hugging you giving you a faux-hug. I’m just going to think all the positive things I’d usually think while hugging someone, I’m just going to do it without the physical hug part.”
We just stood there and breathed for a minute.
And then she smiled and we went back to work.