March 04, 2008


What do you think about hugging people?
Have you ever thought your hugs will make any differences to people?
Have you ever received any free hugs that you will never forget?

I had never thought about that hugging people was so simple a process before I came to UK. That is because in China we do not hug people so frequently even in the family. But now I do like the free hugs here, especially those out of people’s hearts.

I still remember the first free hug I received in Britain; it was given by the trolley-collector in Tesco, jsut because I said he was a hard working man. His name is Ron, although I had remembered it as George by mistake for more than one year, I know he is the one who gave me the hug. Maybe some of you have met him before, he is about 70 years old, probably; and he is really really hard working, as every time I go to tesco he is collecting the trolleys no matter day and night, rainy or windy.

Later on, from our chatting, I get to know he is working most of the time, and he spends Christmas all by himselves. I feel sorry for him, as I cannot imagine how local people can bear lonely Christmas. In my opinion, Christmas is the most important festival here, so people should at least celebrate it with someone close to them. For this reason, every time we meet each other, I would like to give him a hug, not only in order to give him some warmness from me, at the meantime, I could always feel warm and moved inside.

The second one who gives me a free hug is one of my former flatmates- Richard. I remembered at that moment, I was too homesick, as it was my first year here. So after talking with him, he gave me a strong hug which made me want to shed tears.

The third time I hugged local people was in my host family. I remembered it was the very time we had to say bye to each other. But after the whole Christmas staying together as a family with them, all of us felt quite sad to leave each other. When the train finally came, my UK Dad Brian hugged me tightly; I could find tears in his eyes. Neither of us spoke, we could feel everything in the hug.

There are so many ways to express ourselves, writing letters, speak out, giving gifts, as well as messages; however, most of all, I think hugging people is the most influencial way to show our love and wishes. Because both sides of the receivers have to get involved, when they hug each other; and hugs can also pass the message that we cannot express by using language.

There is a video in Youtube about asking for free hugs, every time I watch it, I will be moved.

Do not feel shy any more, if you feel like hugging, just tell your love and wishes by hugging people. No matter where you come from, what language you are speaking, hugs have no bundary at all.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Natalie Sharpling

    Hello Shuang, I enjoy reading your writing so much that I guess I am getting to be a regular commentator on your blog these days, but once again the subject is very close to my heart so I couldn’t resist a reply. Hope you don’t mind!
    I completely agree that a hug expresses more than all the words you can say and all the material gifts you can give someone. In my home, we hug one another all the time, so much so that at work I really feel quite lonely and isolated because as you can imagine, us lecturers do not go round hugging people very much and not very many hugs go on in my department! There’s a sort of detachment around the place when you work here which sometimes makes it a bit of a cold environment. Especially in and around A019!
    But a hug can change the lives of the two people. When I lived in France I remember being very good friends with a girl about my own age whose mum was seriously ill (unfortunately the mum had anorexia). I remember giving her a big hug one day and telling her everything would be all right. I had a note from her later that summer saying that sadly, her mother was still very ill and that she (the girl I knew) was now in a hospital for mental health issues. I never saw her again. I was really upset for her – but I still remember the hug and maybe it told her it was ok to feel sad.
    About three to four years ago my next-door neighbour in Birmingham, a lovely lady of some age who always talked to us and gave us so much encouragement when we were young and inexperienced house owners, died after a long illness; I remember coming in from the garden to see my wife and telling her the bad news. I tried to be as matter-of-fact as I could but I was too upset to get through my sentence, and immediately started to cry. My wife gave me a big hug and told me it would all be all right.
    So, when I see someone who feels lonely and sad my immediate instinct is to give them a hug – I realise circumstances do not always allow for it, especially where you are being called on to be ‘professional;’ 9whatever that means) but wherever it is feasible (and desired) I think it is a great thing.
    I am a person of emotions, and I operate primarily with my heart, not my head. When I play the piano or the violin I play with intuition and feeling but very little accuracy. When I speak or use language, it comes from my heart, not my rational side. Hugs are like that , I guess – you hug someone with feeling and intuition, not with ‘accuracy’ and exactness. There is no right or wrong way of hugging someone – you just do it, as a pure manifestation of feeling, empathy and compatibility. I will continue to do so and to spread the word about the importance of hugs.

    04 Mar 2008, 22:23

  2. Thank you sooooooooooool much for your regular comments on my blog entries, you are very well welcomed!
    Quite agree with you, every time people are in bad situations, the only thing they need might just be a hug from others. Every time I am crying, I just want some one could hug me, or lend me his/her shoulders to depend on. I know, it seems not that easy to hug people in working place, especially in the academic word, in which everything seems to be explained only by theories. That is understandable, as you said, professionals seem to be tough and strong-minded, at least they pretend to be. However, we cannot say whether that is good or bad subjectively, we just need to find someone who likes to give us a hug when we need their hugs, which I think is enough for us.

    04 Mar 2008, 22:49

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