When you and your brother couldn’t stop arguing, what would your mom make you do? Apologize and of course, hug. As we collect candles on our birthday cakes, arguments don’t always end with a squeeze, but perhaps they should, according to a new study. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University analyzed the response of 400 adults who received one hug per day for a period of time. Not only did they feel better in the moment, but those good, happy vibes seemed to last up to 24 hours. Physical interaction in general has a way of calming our nerves, alleviating stress and increasing feelings of comfort and security.
It’s inarguable that affection is a powerful tool to ward away differences and break through barriers—but it isn’t always easy to come by. While integrating a hug-it-out policy into your relationship is simple enough, it isn’t always easy for singles to source a cuddle. The goods news is there are some practical—and a few crazy—strategies that make it possible to meet your hug-a-day quota. Here, some ideas no matter if you’re taken, solo or somewhere in between.
If You’re in a Relationship
Your partner—yet again—ransacked the bedroom trying to find something to wear. Or she left her tea bag on the countertop. Or, perhaps your boyfriend still can’t manage to close a door behind him. Or doesn’t listen, so you have to repeat yourself a couple thousand times. Even when you love someone unconditionally, annoyances are part of being in a long-term duo. The next time you bicker, take a pause before you storm off and suggest a hug. It might feel strange at first, especially if it isn’t part of our duking-it-out routine, but it is worth testing the theory. If you feel so inclined, make it a game: ‘Who can last the long in this uncomfortable, I-hate-you-right-now embrace?’ Chances are high you’ll both end up laughing—and thus, start to cool off.
If You’re Single AF
If you live far away from your family, realize that people you are meeting on dating sites aren’t so cuddly, or your friends aren’t exactly the type of people who greet you with a bear hug, being single means you can easily go weeks without another human interaction. This can be intolerably lonely at times, but there are some, um, interesting solutions. In some cities and countries, hiring a professional hugger to spoon you into dreamland is a possibility. In fact, you can even hire someone to be your pretend partner and take ‘em home to meet your grandparents who keep asking when you’re going to ‘settle down.’ If you aren’t quite at the point where you need an expert to squeeze ya (or you don’t have the budget), consider enlisting a former friends-with-benefits to be your go-to hugger. And if all else fails, you can always ask the favor from a best friend, since hey, isn’t that their job?
If You’re Too Busy To Date
There are folks who make their relationship a priority, and those who put their couplehood first. But then there are also people who thanks to a busy gig or a unpredictable travel schedule, are left with little time to meet bachelors or bachelorettes. When this happens, try weaving in hugs into your interactions. Meeting a client for the first time? You’ll come across as warm if you suggest going in for a hug. Decide to spontaneously meet a Tinder match when you have a free evening in a random city? You’ll be considered friendly if you go straight in for their arms. While you probably don’t want to be, er, creepy, in most Western cultures, hugs are deemed appropriate… enough.
If You Can’t Just Get a Hug
Might we suggest flying home to mom? Or perhaps… seeking therapy. There, there, ya got this.