Do you like giving and getting hugs? Or do you shy away from such close contact?
The importance of body contact and especially hugs is often underestimated, even though everyone should know about it. Is there anyone reading this who never in their life had a plush toy?
There is the “free hugs” movement spreading across the world now. And from Japan, the land of possible impossibilities, comes the dakimakura. It can get really strange in the way only something from Japan can, but it does proof there is a need.
On a more scientific base, even robots making contact can improve quality of life for persons, and robot-plushies or toys can even help people with dementia.
But with all those body contacts and especially hugs there is a problem: people are different. What is a perfect hug?
Many people get very uncomfortable when a hug takes too long for example. To find out, Germany's Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems did a lot of tests with their hug robot.
The results from our experiment suggest that to make a good hug whoever/whatever you hug should be compliant, warm, squeeze you, and release you immediately when you indicate you’re ready for the hug to end.
I had several self-proclaimed introverts participate in my experiment. Some of them told me that they preferred hugging the robot over hugging other people because the robot would let them go when they indicated they were done with the hug, whereas their friends and family members would sometimes hug them for too long.
So next time you hug someone, don’t squeeze them to death and don’t put them in a “prison cell” by holding too long.
If you have someone that likes to be hugged by you, do it more often!
And if you don’t have one, well, there is always this option: