This is some kind of a chow-chow bhath post – I’ve aggregated several concepts related to hugging and the Mata Amrita Index and am putting them in one place.
Firstly, is hugging a cost or a benefit? This thought came to my head recently when I was really thankful to a friend and wanted to express my appreciation by giving her a hug. Then, doubts crept into mind if she would actually consider a hug from me as a reward, and I finally ended up desisting. So the basic funda is would she consider hugging me as a cost or as a benefit? If the former, my thank you hug would have the adverse effect, while it would’ve been just fine if it were the latter.
And what about me? I was thinking of hugging her as “a reward”. What does that say about my mindset about hugging her? Do I consider it as a cost or as a benefit? If the latter, I’m not really being thankful to her but am just using the occasion to put hug. And if I considered hugging her as a “cost” would I be able to hug her properly enough for her to feel my gratitude?
Then, how does this tie in with the bilateral Mata Amrita Index? Is it obvious that if both of us consider hugging each other as a cost, our bilateral MAI will be low? Is it obvious that if both of us consider hugging each other as a benefit, our BMAI will be high? What if I consider hugging you as a cost while you consider it as a benefit? How will our BMAI profile be? Let me know what you think about this.
The other thing I want to rant about is this concept of a “half-hug” or a “sideways-hug” where only the shoulders of the huggers touch each other, and most of the rest of the torsoes are separated. People say that this is usually used with acquaintances, and in social occasions. I fundamentally dislike this concept. It’s neither here nor there, and I believe that this creates discomfort in both parties. If at least one of the two parties considers hugging the other as a cost, this half-hug will be on the whole uncomfortable (from my limited experience, you can’t enjoy a hug if at least one of the parties is not feeling comfortable). Is it really worth it? Wouldn’t it be better to just shake hands?
So I fail to understand how this concept has still survived. Wouldn’t a judicious combination of handshake and proper hug be enough to eliminate this? On my part, I’m doing my best in order to not half-hug/side-hug. If I’m completely comfortable with the counterparty, I put full hug. Else handshake. And call me homophobic, but as a rule I don’t hug other guys.
Another question is how do you hug when one of you is significantly taller than the other? Priyanka, who claims to be an expert on the subject, says that one option is for the taller person to marginally lift the shorter person to bring him/her to the same level, but isn’t that too cumbersome? Does there exist a more elegant solution to this problem? And don’t suggest sideways-hug – I don’t want one party to be smelling the other’s armpits.