Everyone else? Please, don't touch me. I'm guessing that, just as my avoidance of peas can be traced directly to the forced consumption of said disgusting, squirty, wrinkly ugh, my avoidance of hugging can be traced directly to the forced hugging of distant aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, boyfriends of second-cousins twice-removed, and so on. Chalk that up to another "ugh."
One of my resolutions this year is to lean in to such encounters with acquaintances, run-of-the-mill friends, newly introduced members of whatever social group I am purported to be a part of, and so on. I believe that you can re-train your brain to learn to accept just about anything not out of your realm of morals. [Heh. I worked in a reference to people who elected Voldemort. #VOTUS #resist]
A few days ago, after Youngest and I encountered a chatty clerk at Staples, he related a story of how he was out with his dad awhile back at Staples and encountered an entirely different chatty clerk. Youngest said that after, his dad complained about it. I then told him his story reminded me to tell him that one of my resolutions for the new year is to hug people more. His jaw dropped and he stared at me incredulously, "You mean strangers, like that clerk?!"
For the record, no, I don't mean strangers. Even with that caveat, I imagine those who know me best look a little like jaw-dropped Youngest did in the Staples parking lot the other day.