I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words. ~ Ann Hood

I’m a pretty reserved guy, and yet, as the years go by, the handshake has felt less and less appropriate. To be sure, it’s the only appropriate greeting in our society when meeting someone for the first time, or meeting someone you have very little relationship with. But for all those I’m friends with, or even regularly acquainted with, the handshake feels so…silly.

I have to wonder what our society would look like if we all greeted each other with hugs instead of handshakes. Would the hug immediately release any tension between parties? Would it break down emotional walls and allow us to build closer relationships, perhaps even build trust faster?

If two people were meeting and one came to the meeting in a bad mood, or with the intention to remain emotionally distant, would the hug help diffuse that distance and bring the two people to a closer place to begin their conversation?

Men seem to have a much harder time with hugging. I’m very pleased that I still hug my dad every time I see him, and my 16 year old son still feels comfortable hugging me every day. I hope that never stops. I think the only other male in my life who feels comfortable hugging me without reserve is Hugh Butler (thanks Hugh).

And yes, I am one who approaches every personal meeting as though I’m in the World Series of Poker going up against Phil Hellmuth. Good luck reading my face Phil. But still, if our society took a vote today to replace handshaking with hugging, I’d vote a hearty yes. Male or female, friend or foe, I have this hunch that replacing the handshake with a hug would result in, at the very least, a much better starting foundation for whatever is to follow.

If you aren’t comfortable with hugging, be careful when approaching me. At any moment, I may pull a fast one on you, and hot swap the handshake for a full on hug. Hopefully, in that moment of awkward uncomfortableness for you, you’ll pause for just long enough to realize, this guy cares enough about you to not treat you like a complete stranger.