Too Friendly ?

Do you agree with me that sometimes organizations can be too friendly ?

I recently attended a new church, that I thought I might join.

The pastor and his wife both greeted me with tight hugs when I came in. Six ladies were preparing a nice breakfast, and when they saw me they all came over and hugged me tightly too.

During the church service the pastor encouraged everyone to greet each other, and everyone hugged each other again.

At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife both gave me ‘warm’ hugs.

How did I feel after all this hugging ? I felt afraid, and vowed never to visit that church again.

I should explain. I am a trauma survivor, and many trauma survivors find being hugged by strangers overly intimidating and a violation of their personal space.

Generally, of course, among intimate friends and family members, hugs are healing.

We need to be aware that not everyone is comfortable with being hugged by a stranger.

I much prefer the Oriental and Indian custom of people giving each other a small bow as a form of greeting.

Pictured is our backyard after Newfoundland’s recent storm of the Century.

43 thoughts on “Too Friendly ?

      1. You know, the more I think about it, a handshake is more than enough. I mean hugging is ok but I don’t know… I feel weird hugging other women. It might sound weird but I mean some women are just well endowed and it’s just awkward sometimes…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t usually mind a lighter hug but I don’t think they should give “tight” hugs that will make people uncomfortable. Plus they should use discernment because hugs aren’t appropriate in all situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would be very uncomfortable with that as well. It’s very intrusive, and even threatening. It doesn’t respect personal boundaries. ‘Definitely too much too soon.
    Trust in relationships grows slowly. You take a few steps – judge if you feel comfortable and safe … and then take another few steps etc.
    When I go to a new church I actually like to experience a degree on anonymity. So, your experience would make me want to run a mile – and not come back!

    Like

  3. Yep, hugs from strangers are out of line in my book. At least there needs to be some degree of mutual connection for hugging to be appropriate. Personally, I always felt like a formal greeting time scheduled into a worship service is also awkward. That’s what fellowship before and after worship is supposed to be about and should occur naturally. The focus in worship should be upon the Lord.

    Like

  4. Hi Sally, yes I absolutely agree with your perspective and concern! That is unnatural for people just meeting and not having any lengthy established relationship to be getting over touchy-feely; and boundaries must exist between virtual strangers! Hippies in the old communes might have been into flower power and having love-ins but we all know where that ended up in many cases! Not normal at all and a guy I used to work with who was in seminary for many years to be a priest and who was a chemist and very well read once was talking to me about how even in families it is not necessarily a good thing for family members to get overly physical at every greeting or occasion to see each other, as he said in his French family heritage they were actually not all that into embracing and getting into that touchy-feely thing as I went on to say that was how both my parents grew up too; which was the same for him when he was growing up, which he said was better to maintain a more “natural respect for personal space” like you said! You and others may have heard how Crazy Joe Biden one of the candidates has plenty of photos out in the public arena of him grouping and rubbing women or kids and in one video he is actually tight lip kissing his own granddaughter! Very bizarre, when people do these things being strangers but maybe even more scary if family! I would have felt the same way you did and said thanks but no thanks about attending that church! Just think of the potential for some weaponized accusation down the road by some child or adult saying so and so was touching me in an inappropriate way and the person in that environment has already allowed the noose to be placed around the neck, so all it would take is some little conspiracy to accuse and file with police and then a law suit! This even scares me to think how things are today when I think of Arthur Miller’s the Crucible and other stories about the Early America Colonial Era such as the Scarlet Letter and how people would accuse someone of being a witch or some other out of line behavior; then all the mob or herd mentality takes over and the innocent is going to be in for a hell-ride! Look how Judge Bret Kavanaugh being appointed to be a conservative Justice to the SCOTUS which was very left leaning while Obama was in office keeping the left’s agenda going and all the evil lying politics or fabrication that preceded his appointment; many were ready to lynch him; a great Judge and family man who is a very decent loving husband and father to his daughters but yet he got skewered like that in today’s reckless twisted world of lies for personal gain at times! You and I and the average person if not careful these days can end up in an irreconcilable nightmare by the devils influence in these nefarious undertakings that are too rampant!
    In addition, I wasn’t going to mention it to avoid the sensitivity I’m sure you understand all too well having survived your personal trauma and how others out there in the audience are feeling a lot when these things are brought up too, but I want to extend my deepest sorrow and prayer to you and any such individuals! Yes, in a perfect world it would be nice if we all could just be one happy loving affectionate loving human family but that is for now impossible in our state and only when we make it to heaven with our “Heavenly Father in His Glory” will that be a reality that we can embrace continually, non-ending close compassion and sensitivity for each other; just not going to happen here!
    God Bless. 🙏🙂
    Lawrence
    Sorry so long here, but this is so important and I know a few who went through the horrors brought on by lies and real assault!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lawrence – You make some really good observations here. I was reading about how some companies are even planning to ban handshakes in the workplace. Probably with germs and viruses becoming more prevalent, hand shaking generally might be reconsidered. I still like the oriental tradition of bowing when greeting. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🤗 Hi Sally, I agree again and your outlook and ideas are correct as I see it too! These days the concerns of spreading these viral strains of flu or the many influenza viruses is a serious concern, and in the workplace it can result in loss of productivity and not to mention employees being out sick which because not all jobs provide enough or even any sick time so if it turns out to be a long bout some people run into serious financial concerns too!
        Bowing or nodding ones head to give polite recognition and respect is sufficient I believe too; not all this slobbering or in many cases unnecessary phony handshaking or hugging and spreading things around; it just makes more sense when you weigh all things out!
        I’m fighting off a darn cold right now which I think I picked up in the supermarket; just bad timing when I was near someone sneezing, and who knows who else may have prior to my picking up those items I needed. Thing is the next day I was coming down with the sneezing, same sort of cold that person was spreading!
        Oh well, now the vitamin C, and another pot of chicken soup again tomorrow will be cooking!
        Take care and good article!
        LM

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I understand how you felt getting hugged by people you were meeting for the first time. Hugging people we are friends with or know is way different. The kind of greeting you mentioned you received does not seem genuine at all. I remember doing a day course about safe church practices and one of the things mentioned was to not assume everyone wants to be hugged and to acknowledge that everyone has a different boundary of personal space and we have to respect that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi ! Exactly. That sounds like a good course that you took. It was especially good when they mentioned not to assume everyone wants to be hugged. This is good because people who come to church are often wounded, and looking for healing, but a hug seems threatening and too invasive. Thanks for commenting. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Generally, whenever I go to an unfamiliar church, I experience the exact opposite. Until the churches in my area installed official greeters with greeting as part of their duty, I felt totally ignored most of the time. But I agree with the points you made. My perception may be off but I kind of get the feeling that in the church that you visited, the hugs may not be genuine. You know, Judas went one step further than the hug and kissed Jesus and you know what that was. Anyway, I understand the trauma. I have not experienced it in the rawest of terms, but I have been traumatized by institutions and individuals who just did me wrong in career and ministry, so I find it very, very hard to trust people. That is also trauma. Anyway, thanks for the post.

    Like

    1. These are insightful comments Perry. It is funny how we perceive some churches as unfriendly and others as too friendly. 🤗 Yes, Perry, I agree, being betrayed by people and then losing trust is traumatic. I have experienced this too.

      Like

      1. I am laughing because of the irony; because I just had a conversation with my wife about some of her involvements and during the conversation she said, “Some people are too friendly and I don’t want that,” so I told her about what you wrote yesterday.

        Like

  7. What a great reminder of the best way to treat people. I look forward to hearing how your search for a church goes. I appreciate your transparent, heartfelt posts. And what a beautiful photo of your great backyard. Blessings ♥

    Like

  8. ♡ Agreed; totally agreed…there’s something Fake, False, Fraudulent about TOO MUCH AFFECTION!!! EveryOne; so what to do 🤔 ?

    …♡♡♡…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with you. Hugs should be between people who know each other not for first time greetings. I interact with diverse cultures all of the time, so I understand people will react differently to greetings. It is best to offer a smile and welcome people at first.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Some people are comfortable with hugging strangers because it is part of their customs. I believe that we are no more strangers when we become part of the family of God and we should embrace each other as brothers and sisters. But we should also be mindful that some people do not like to hug strangers so we should first shake ttheir hands and see their response. I think you should visit again because they maybe genuine. But it is how you feel in your heart that matters.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Beverley. Yes, we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord, for sure. Isn’t it funny how people complain about churches- some complain when they are not friendly, and some complain when they are too friendly ….🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is exactly what I was thinking. We definitly need to be friendly, but we also need to be wise. We do not want to offend anyone. I personally do not mind hugging a stranger if I sense that they would welcome that hug.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. For my husband the over hugging can actually be painful due to His Fibromyalgia. It’s difficult to get people to understand this, so he’s been “mugged” by well meaning people. Needless to say we don’t get to a church building too often because Andrew gets anxious because of this. Plus, Andrew’s pain and nausea keeps up home bound quite a bit. Instead we listen to sermons at home. Thanks for sharing, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tina- thanks for pointing this out – over hugging can be painful for some people. I have also been listening to sermons at home, and I find that reading Christian blogs like yours helps me a lot too. Thanks. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I disagree with some comments that imply something is weird or going on. This church culture is different from what is comfortable for you and you are not wrong in how you feel but they don’t know it. Too quickly judged I think. Just ask for your space, smile and fist bump. I hope you reconsider a second visit but this time, just don’t hug. What was the message at the service?

    Like

    1. Hi ! I remember the message of the service well. They projected a picture of Chuck Colton, former advisor to President Nixon. He spent seven months in jail, and while there, started a prison ministry. You’re right, the church culture was different than what is comfortable for me. Thanks for your comment. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This time of year I even have a problem with shaking hands. At our church we have “the passing of the peace” in which everyone is expected to shake hands with everyone else. Not that I’m unfriendly, but many of these people have been coughing or sneezing into their hands before reaching out to shake mine and I don’t want their viruses! My husband had a very weak immune system and a cold or bout of flu that’s a nuisance for most people can land him in the hospital. I like the “bowing” idea mentioned by some other commenters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi ! I totally agree with you. The palms of our hands carry so many germs. I have been in services too where everyone shakes hands, and I simply didn’t extend my hand to anyone. Perhaps it’s better to be thought of as unfriendly, than get sick.
      I believe that we should eliminate this custom. We can pass peace by smiling or saying “peace by with you”, or bowing. I think the pastors of the church should re-think ways of passing the peace without endangering the health of their congregations. I believe that if everyone knew how many germs are transmitted by handshaking, the ‘custom’ might be reduced. Thanks for commenting. 🤗

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I guess they were trying hard to make you feel at home and as well like the church but I think it’s a fake approach They probably didn’t want to find you missing from their midst. Now look what they have done.

    Like

  15. I totally agree with you and your thoughts especially today when hugging seems to be an acceptable way to greet people but as you have rightly pointed out not everyone is comfortable being hugged and it is definitely an invasion of personal space.
    I too have been subject to trauma and violence in my last marriage and some people I have become very wary of and have been accused of being standoffish.
    I hope that you continue to heal through the goodness and grace of God and may he bless you and your family in all that you do.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s