I wish there was some casual way to communicate your level of okayness-with-physical-contact when you first get to know people. Some of my friends are the cuddliest bastards ever and others don’t even like hugs, and I feel like we all would have come to an understanding a lot faster and more conveniently if there was some sort of protocol. What a weird thing to feel awkward about in conversation. My non-touchy folks feel like they have to apologize all the time, and people who are okay with touching are super-hesitant to initiate because they don’t know if they might make someone uncomfortable.
A late-established solution: Use Your Words. At the very least it’s made movie nights a lot simpler on the ‘okay, here, I can move so you’re not uncomfortable and go pile on the sofa with all the people who don’t mind’ front. And now I’m getting like 300% more hugs and head scratches and I am super okay with that.
Well, and for some of us it changes over time—I am super-okay with physical contact from good friends and people I’m fairly close to and trust, but I am seriously not okay with touch from effectively everyone else. So declaring my comfort level with touch at the moment I meet someone isn’t necessarily something that would work for me or someone like me?
Using your words is always an effective strategy, though.