I saw this on Digg earlier this week and can’t decide if it’s unfettered hippy crap or just plain weird.
The idea is to foster human contact by going out in public and making yourself available to strangers for hugs (for free…no pimping out your hugs).
My reaction to the campaign seems to be a consistent and equal mix of enthusiasm and suspicion. On one hand, I know that I’ve been desperate for human contact before – just needed someone to say hello to, look in the eye, and care, even for just a minute. (Pardon the emo moment, please.) It would have been lovely to be able to get a hug in any one of those moments. On the other hand, I seriously doubt that I would have taken advantage of the opportunity if I had seen some stranger holding up a sign for Free Hugs. I’m pretty sure I would have assumed the individual was at least a little nuts, and I’m not one for close personal contact with the insane.
It seems like maybe I have seen a Free Hugs sign somewhere, though, for the life of me I can’t think where. If I did, I know I didn’t partake of said offered hug. I’d remember hugging a total stranger.
I watched the whole video on the website and was touched. It is a remarkable reminder that the masses around us are individual people and that most of them are good. It makes me feel good to see strangers reaching out to make each other smile. That’s awesome. It’s the opposite of the road rage I see on a daily basis and totally refreshing.
And yet… I know damn well that I’m still a bit hinky about the whole thing. What if that guy holding up the sign is just hoping to grope people? Or trying to get people close enough to pickpocket them?
See? Totally confused in my own mind about my reaction to the whole thing. In its sincerest form, I think I like it. Let’s humanize each other. Make each other smile if we can. Distance this thing even a little from the ideal, though, and yeah, it’s just weird.